Fuel Cycle

Your How-To Guide for Concept Testing Ad Campaigns

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Concept testing is a valuable tool that can be used to test ideas to a limited audience as it pertains to ad campaigns – among other things – in marketing. Does your company currently conduct concept testing when running ads? If so, are you optimizing your tests to the best of your company’s ability? And if you aren’t currently running concept tests, you should be! 

We’ve put together a guide for you below, but if you’re looking for more information on concept testing, feel free to reach out to our team for more!

Begin with a Project Outline

Before you start testing, you’ll want to create a project outline that highlights each step of the process. Some of these steps might include:

  • Which concepts are on the table?
  • How are you going to measure customer engagement in regard to each concept?
  • How does your company intend to collect (and analyze) the data?
  • What creative assets do you have available? What platforms are you looking to run ads on?

When creating this outline, keep your company’s end goal(s) in mind. Make sure the questions asked or the methods used will lead you to the answers you seek. You may also want to think of alternative strategies to pursue should you not achieve your target results during the concept testing process.

Identify your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience is one of the fundamental lessons in marketing and for good reason! Sending out a concept test to the wrong audience is like mailing a birthday card to the wrong person – it’s not relevant to the intended audience! And in the worst-case scenario, it could backfire on your brand. 

Honing in on who your customer is and what it is you want them to accomplish is key. With customer segmentation tools you can build your target audience(s) to fit your overall project outline, or each concept individually.

Build your Concepts

Once you’ve completed your project outline, the next step is to build your concepts. There are a variety of different adjustments available for ad campaigns – image variations, copy changes, color differences, ad extensions, video content, bidding optimizations, and the list goes on. Make sure your selections – and variations amongst concept tests – are labeled accurately, correctly, and clearly. 

NOTE: Any aspect that you intend to use during the ad campaign itself should be a part of the concept testing phase.

Select a Delivery Platform

Let’s go back to your project outline for a moment – what were your business goals? To gain more leads? Boost product sales? Calls to the office? Knowing your business’ KPIs will help you not only build the ad itself, but also the delivery platform. 

There are a variety of ways to deliver a concept test, including but not limited to, in-person or virtual focus groups, online surveys, community surveys, consulting friends or family and so much more. Remember, the point of a concept test is to get your idea out to a limited audience before you bring it to the masses with a budget.

May the Best Test Win!

Not all concept tests will pan out – and that’s the point! Work with your limited audiences through delivery platforms, gather data, and analyze the results to find out which concepts will most likely hit home with the general public. But remember, continue to refer back to your project outline and your business KPIs to make sure your concepts are bringing the results you are looking for. Just because a test “does well,” doesn’t mean it’s giving you the intended result you were hoping for. 

We’d love to help you improve your concept testing skills or help you understand how to measure ad effectiveness. Check out some more of our resources on the topic or get in touch to discuss how we can help you launch more successful marketing campaigns.