What’s it: Advertising research is a method for assessing and evaluating the efficacy of advertising. This kind of research focuses on the performance of a particular ad or ad campaign. It is also useful for understanding how advertising works or how consumers use and respond to advertising messages.
Why advertising research is important
Advertising research is a part of marketing research, specifically useful for evaluating and improving advertising efficiency. Researchers systematically collect and analyze information to help develop or evaluate advertising strategies, advertising campaigns, and media.
Advertising research is important because apart from affecting sales, it also affects the cost of an ad. When the advertising strategy is effective, it generates maximum sales with a minimal budget. So, it helps determine the success of an advertising campaign by measuring its impact on its audiences.
One way to measure effectiveness is to evaluate whether the advertisement has served its purpose. And specifically, the three main goals of advertising are:
- Increasing product awareness
- Changing consumer attitudes
- Creating a buying tendency
Types of advertising research
Consultants or research firms generally offer two types of research:
- Customized research
- Syndicated research
In customized research, the client will ask the consultant to research a specific topic according to their needs. After the research is complete, the consultant presents and submits the results to the client.
For example, Company ABC asks the AC Nielsen company to research an XYZ brand coffee drink advertisement. We call this customized research. This information is specific to Company ABC only, so AC Nielsen may not sell or publish research results to outside parties without the client’s permission.
Meanwhile, in syndicated research, consultants conduct independent and general research. They can sell their research to various clients. For example, at another time, AC Nielsen examined the effect of advertising on millennials’ preferences in buying coffee drinks. In this case, AC Nielsen conducted a syndicated study. They can sell coffee drinks to Company ABC or other companies.
Various methods can be used in advertising research. One that is quite popular is copy testing.
Copy testing uses consumer responses, feedback, and behavior to achieve multiple results. In this method, three dimensions are measured:
- Cognitive dimension
- Affective dimension
- Conative dimension
Cognitive dimension aims to determine what consumers know about products, brands, services, or what they remember from previous advertisements. This research is usually carried out by establishing focus groups, physiological studies, or other methods.
Next is the affective dimension. This dimension learns about consumer attitudes towards products after being exposed to certain advertisements or ad campaigns. Research can take several methods, such as focus groups and central location testing.
The conative dimension studies actual consumer behavior to find out what they will do after watching an ad. Researchers asked consumers if they would like to buy the product after seeing the advertisement. This research usually runs after the release of an ad or campaign.
Advertising research can take on a wide variety of topics. The following are among them:
- Demographic research. Researchers will usually divide consumers into different groups based on several criteria, such as age and income. Researchers then study and observe the attachment of a product to these criteria. The research results are used as input in designing advertising messages and choosing the right advertising media.
- Psychographic studies. It is to learn consumer attitudes and behavior toward certain products. Just like demographic research, research output is useful for designing advertising messages and selecting advertising media. So, when it has been launched, it has an intended effect.
- Popularity research. In addition to knowing the popularity of an ad, research focuses on its reach and frequency.
- Media research. The main goal is to determine the most effective media for advertising success. It is not only about the type of media, but also about determining the right time to reach the target audience. One example is Nielsen ratings.
- Market share research. The research topic is to study changes in a company’s market share before and after an advertising campaign.
- Competition research. The study covers many aspects ranging from advertising budget, the attractiveness of advertising messages, the media used to audience response.