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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.

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