Pre-testing fails to identify most effective ads

27 January 2010

LONDON/WASHINGTON: Qualitative pre-testing tends to be an inadequate tool when it comes to identifying which ad campaigns will deliver the highest return on investment, new figures show.

Peter Field, a marketing consultant, discusses the weaknesses of qualitative pre-testing in determining which creative ideas will provide a real payback for brands in a post on Warc's new blog,

Field has previously worked with Les Binet, of DDB Matrix, on Marketing in the Era of Accountability, which assessed the performance of some 880 ad campaigns that formed the basis of papers submitted to the IPA Effectiveness Awards.

Analysing these same case studies, he found that just 4% of campaigns that were subjected to qualitative pre-testing went on to deliver "very large profit growth", a total that rose to 24% for those that were not.

These figures stood at 45% and 58% respectively in terms of the "effectiveness success rate", showing that pre-testing tends to underperform as a predictive tool.

Reasons for this outcome could include the fact that emotional campaigns are often filtered out by traditional forms of pre-testing, but typically deliver the most substantial ROI in the marketplace, Field suggested.

Other content featured on Warc's blog include a preview of the new look Admap magazine, a round-up of the latest industry awards deadlines, and an article by Judie Lannon, editor of Market Leader, on the new book by Malcolm Gladwell.

Data sourced from Warc