Warc Briefing: Pre-testing

Definition: Pre-testing (also known as copy-testing) is the practice of airing pre-launch campaigns to target audiences in order to predict the likely effectiveness of campaigns and shape decisions over whether to pull or refine individual executions.

Quick facts

  • More than half of all TV campaigns lose money in both the short and long-terms, according to one academic pre-testing studyi.
  • Using recall as the main pre-testing metric risks rewarding campaigns which are "boring, ordinary and even unlikeable", a Unilever study found.ii
  • A study of IPA Effectiveness Papers controversially claimed that only 30% of ads which underwent quantitative pre-testing actually maximised sales effectiveness.iii

History and future outlook

'The consumer does not behave as they say. They do not say what they think and they do not think what they feel'.