I spent $1 million on digital advertising … did it work?

TakeAway: With the move to digital, companies are unsure how to ensure their digital marketing dollars are being spent effectively.

Companies are spending more and more on copy testing for digital ads even with the criticism that copy testing kills creativity.  

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Excerpted from AdAge, Copy Testing Coming to Digital Marketing” by Jack Neff, February 27, 2011

As … marketers are investing more in digital, they’re bringing with them one of their time-honored processes from TV advertising: copy testing.

… despite criticism that copy testing leads to bland ads that avoid risks, and that the storyboards or animatics used in copy tests don’t capture the magic production can create. …

…copy-testing houses have years of research showing copy-test results predict sales impact from ads. But expansion of copy testing to digital adds a new layer of controversy: Some critics believe tests developed for TV won’t work on digital ads.

… people close to P&G say it’s “TV testing” most of its digital ads now — video and other formats alike.

…”A home-page takeover on Yahoo can cost a million dollars a day,… The traditional thing with digital was if it’s not working, we’ll take it down. When you drop a million dollars in a day, you’d better be sure it’s working.” … “even if copy-testing squelches creativity …the world’s largest advertisers see value in doing this.”

…”All of our communications testing is designed to increase the odds of success in market, … We often conduct early learning with prototype production, increasing our ability to produce communication that really resonates with consumers.”…

… believes creative inconsistency has hurt digital ad effectiveness and applauds marketers for seeing they need to test copy. …But…”to try to force fit the old TV pretesting model into digital is kind of idiotic.”

… the context and content of where digital ads run affects how they work, …

Making small digital buys to test creative is no longer tenable for brand marketers because online survey response rates have plunged in recent years. Clicks and conversions in small tests are meaningful for direct-response advertisers, …but not brand marketers, … no links between clicks and offline sales, brand awareness or purchase intent.

…more packaged-goods clients are spending on digital copy testing, though most don’t have specific budgets for it and many are hesitating because of a lack of adequate research options. “Digital is not a single advertising medium, but rather an accumulation of media and should be addressed as such.”

“Once brands and researchers fully understand the digital space digital advertising research will become more actionable.”




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