Predicting sales from ad testing: A McDonald's case history

Charles Young and Adam Page

"Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving." – David Ogilvy

Global ad spend is expected to reach over $530 billion in 2014. Television advertising still dominates at roughly 58%, but the number of ways people consume that media is exploding. As a result, understanding just what is actually contributing to a company's bottom line is becoming more difficult to diagnose.

For this reason, validation exercises are important as they do three key things: 1) quantify advertising's contribution to ROI, 2) confirm the relevant definition of "advertising quality," and 3) provide a baseline for what we know and do not know about how advertising works.

Ameritest ventured to tell a "big data" story using validation, and to do so using only metrics related to ad quality and publicly-available information. In other words, understand the big picture of what advertising does for sales growth without factoring in spend.