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Copy testing & pre-testing

Pre-testing - showing an ad to selected audience members before its public launch, and adjusting accordingly - is one of the best-established, and most well-used, advertising research techniques. Traditional forms of pre-testing have been criticised as underplaying important factors in a campaign’s success, such as its emotional engagement. Pre-testing has evolved significantly over recent years, with researchers now claiming to measure emotional and implicit responses: how people feel, as well as what they say.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This article looks at how pre-testing techniques are evolving. It argues that, while communications should change a business outcome, such as increasing market share, strategies need to be measured on both buyers' rational and emotional drivers in the testing phase. This means pre-testing should be complemented by other techniques.
The pros and cons of using copy testing to optimise a campaign – plus some best practice guidelines.
This paper examines the relationship between TV ad pre-testing and sales at McDonald's in the US.
Illustrating the flaws in conventional pre-testing measures of persuasion, cut-through, and message receipt.
A sceptical take on the industry, arguing that both explicit and implicit memory needs to be measured.

Case Study

This case study shows how M&S, a retailer brand, revamped Mrs Claus to suit 21st century women and thus increase clothing sales across the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how iD Mobile, a mobile network brand, successfully launched its services in the UK, using a digital-first campaign.

Case Study

This case study shows how Kronenbourg 1664, a beer brand, successfully increased sales by developing a humorous background focused branding strategy in the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how Domino's, a pizza delivery service, used GIFs to engage with an increasingly disconnected millennial audience and increased sales in the UK.

Case Study

This case study shows how news publication The Economist successfully sublimated its global target audience using a careful paid social strategy.

Case Study

This case study describes how Cigna, the US health insurer, used the fictional TV Doctors of America to promote both its offering, and to encourage preventative care.
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Article

This article looks at how neuromarketing can now accurately and cost-effectively predict consumer intentions with no conscious bias in purchase decision influencers by using low-cost biometric and psychometric tools.

Article

This article looks at how neuromarketing techniques are particularly suited to public service advertising campaigns which have to engage disinterested consumers on an emotional basis and in a memorable way within restricted budgets.

Article

This event report addresses how the Coca-Cola Co. has developed an online research library to help its marketers make better brand decisions.

Research Paper

This paper explains a mobile-based research methodology designed to measure both explicit and implicit non-verbal responses, illustrated by a Latin American pilot study for Heineken, the beer company.

Article

This article details how Heineken pre-tested a TV commercial for one of its international beer brands with three different methods: a traditional quantitative pre-test and two different neuroscience-led approaches.

Article

This article outlines the steps required to create truly effective advertising, such as including a reason to purchase, brand recognition, pretesting and amending - and, not least, thinking of the long-term strategy.
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  1. Article

    This event report details how Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, is using pre-testing to drive advertising effectiveness.

  2. Article

    This article describes key learnings from the use of facial coding to assess ad responses to understand how advertising success is affected by emotional response, and to understand how that response can be measured.

  3. Article

    This article outlines the steps required to create truly effective advertising, such as including a reason to purchase, brand recognition, pretesting and amending - and, not least, thinking of the long-term strategy.

  4. Article

    This article introduces a series of articles on measuring marketing effectiveness, celebrating the often unseen and unnoticed work of econometricians in determining what advertising works and why.

  5. Article

    This paper details Millward Brown's AdReaction Video study, an attempt to find out what people think of video ads on different screens, how they watch videos – and for how long – and how to create ads that customers won't want to skip.

  6. Article

    This article looks at the nuts and bolts of bringing a marketing strategy to life - how to write a creative brief, and how to brief it successfully.

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