Spending Big on Social Media Ads? Test Them First in Targeted Consumers' Actual Social Feeds

Posted by MFour on Dec 4, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog Social Ad Testing 21Nov18

The good news for advertising on social media is that a massive audience gathers there. The bad news is that any given social media ad is a small raft of messaging in a limitless ocean of content. To increase your social ads’ chances of being discovered - and lifting consumers’ brand and product awareness and intent to buy - keep reading.

But first, some recent data from Pew Research Center shows how potentially rewarding social media platforms can be for advertisers.

  • 73% of U.S. adults use YouTube.
  • Among teens, YouTube use rises to 85%.
  • 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook.
  • Facebook usage is highest among ages 18-29 (81%) and women (74%).
  • 50% of U.S. adults visit Facebook at least once a day.
  • Instagram’s share of the U.S. adult audience is 35% and Twitter’s is 24%.

That’s a lot of consumers who can potentially be reached by a given ad. The challenge is to turn the potential of social media advertising into a real return on investment. Measuring the effectiveness of social media advertising has been controversial, with concerns about transparency over impressions and other key metrics. But setting aside that debate, there can be no question that brands and agencies control the creative content of their social media ads, and need to know as much as possible as soon as possible about how the ads they’re creating are likely to be viewed and acted upon by their intended social audiences.

MFour offers an advertising research product called Social Ad Testing that raises the chances of success for any social ad campaign. It’s a test that doesn’t seem like a test to the recipients you’re targeting. Instead, Social Ad Testing presents the ad as natural content in target consumers’ actual social news feeds. The test ad is consistent with all the other posts and advertisements the recipients are scrolling through in their feeds. You’re testing in the wild, so to speak - in the natural environment where your ad must flourish or fail once the campaign actually begins.

Social Ad Testing is the only method that takes your ad right into the wilds of social media. All the others do the testing in a simulated social environment. First, you’ll just observe how your test audience responds to the ad. How long was it in view? Did they click on it to activate audio? Did they share it or “like” it?

Next, you’ll step out from behind the curtain and show them the ad, so you can survey them using key qualitative questions about which creative elements work, which don’t, and how favorable they are toward the product and brand. If all signals read “go,” you launch the campaign with confidence. If the ad isn’t ready for prime time, the test will tell you not only that it needs work, but point you to the creative elements you need to improve. With that guidance, you’ll revise and retest until you know the ad is ready to give you your best shot at capturing attention and motivating consumers in the social space.

You can test an ad across different social platforms to see where you should direct your budget. Or you can test different versions, compare, and decide which is the one to use. 

The social ad space is too big and untamed to venture forth unprepared. With Social Ad Testing, you give your campaigns the best chance of breaking through.

Topics: mobile research, mobile market research, consumer insights, Social Ad Testing, advertising research, social media

How Data Wonks and Ad-Creative Teams Can Work Together for Success

Posted by MFour on Jul 10, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Social Ad Creative blog 25Jun18 Advanced market research technology and the consumer insights it generates are keys to launching successful advertising campaigns, and Chief Marketing Officers who understand how data can inform creativity are driving disproportionately strong results for their companies.

A new report, “The Perfect Union: Unlocking the Next Wave of Growth by Unifying Creativity and Analytics,” bluntly separates marketers into those who eagerly embrace using data analytics to bolster ads’ creative content, and those who are staying on the sidelines. The full story is reported in Campaign, a global marketing and advertising publication.

Conducted by McKinsey and the Association of National Advertisers, the study divides marketers into three groups: “integrators" have learned how to incorporate data in their creative work; "isolators" think data is useful but tend not to weave it into the creative process; and "idlers" are not even exploring the possible interface between data and advertising creative.

"You don’t create exciting things for people by figuring out things from data," commented one of the 200 CMOs who participated in the study.

The report’s authors disagree. "Actually, we believe that’s exactly what data can do. Analytics are what companies have learned about people’s behavior. Such insights can guide and inform where imagination needs to go. In the best cases, they can even inspire."

It's with that cooperative dynamic in mind that MFour has created an easy way to bridge this perceived conflict between data and creative intuition. Social Ad Testing, as it's called, gives CMOs at any stage in their journeys with data analytics a way to present illuminating data to creative teams in a non-threatening way that will validate their best intuitions and guide them when data suggests there's a need to revise a soda media to maximize its impact. Here’s how it works:

  • After the creative team develops a digital ad campaign, marketers can inject each ad into the actual social media news feeds of the target groups their brand needs to reach.
  • Instead of a simulation, validated, first-party consumers perceive the test ads as regular content amid the usual stream of news and posts they receive from friends, family, and all other sources.
  • What do they do? Obtain observed, quantitative data that shows how recipients interact with test ads: opens, shares, likes, and clicks to enable audio.
  • What do they think and perceive? Survey test-ad recipients for brand and product recall. Then re-send the ad for their comments, as if they were a mobile focus group.
  • Where does the ad belong? Compare results on different social platforms and budget accordingly.
  • High marks from consumers will validate the creative team’s concepts and execution, and the campaign can launch with confidence.
  • If the test uncovers problems, the marketing and creative departments will see specific areas that need fixes. The data analytics provide a frame for creative efforts to perfect the ad, but the canvas still belongs to the creators.
To learn more about Social Ad Testing, click here. And for a talk about how advanced mobile research capabilities can meet your projects’ specific needs, just click here.

Topics: market research, Social Ad Testing, advertising research, social media

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