How to Measure Ad Effectiveness

Before you drop big dollars on anything from a local print ad to a Super Bowl TV spot, it’s worth measuring your ad’s potential effectiveness. That is, testing to see if its intended message resonates with customers and whether anything can improve its performance.

Copy test and ad tracking surveys are used to cover any medium, including radio, television, digital, outdoor, etc. These tests can help you answer questions like:

  • Are people noticing the ads?
  • What do people like or dislike about it?
  • Is the ad’s main message getting through to consumers?

Copy Test

A copy test allows you to pre-test an ad, so you can gather feedback and make adjustments before rolling it out to the broader market. A typical copy test is broken down into four key sections:

  1. Pre-exposure
  2. Ad exposure
  3. Post-exposure
  4. Profiling questions

This set up allow you to preview your ad concept to a sample of customers and measure their reaction to it. You’ll see whether exposure to the ad has a positive impact on your brand and know which of your ad concepts are most worth pursuing. In addition to providing excellent insights, this process saves valuable creative and production time. It’s a proven technique used by well-oiled marketing machines who want to get closer to their audience and make the most of their budgets.

Ad Tracking

Once you are in-market with your ads, an ad tracking survey can serve as a diagnostic tool to measures the performance of your campaigns. Ad tracking takes place by periodically surveying customers using a consistent set of ad and brand metrics. These metrics are tracked for improvements or declines. Typically advertisers are most interested in learning a) did anyone see the ad? (i.e. ad awareness) b) was it effective? By addressing and monitoring these two areas of ad performance, advertisers can evaluate and modify their marketing plans to maximize audience reach and brand impact.

Brand health metrics such as brand purchase intent or specific brand attributes (e.g. “Has the best value menu” or “Excellent customer service”) are important to track as an ongoing way to measure your brand performance. But they also can serve to help you understand the in-market effectiveness of your advertising. This is achieved by overlaying brand health metrics with your ad awareness metrics. By aligning multiple data points together, this can paint a picture of not only how your brand is performing but what is impacting perceptions (e.g. specific events, advertising or marketing activities)

Putting It All Together

Ad testing is a multi-pronged effort of gathering survey feedback from your customers in order to execute and deliver effective marketing and advertising campaigns. Pre-testing your ad concepts using a copy test method can help ensure that you go to market with the best possible ad. Then once you are in-market, you should continue to monitor how it is performing in terms of building awareness and perception of your brand. A survey program that regularly solicits feedback from customers enables you to learn, gather insight, and make in-market adjustments. That way you can get the most out of your advertising dollars and grow your brand.

For a more in-depth read on how to measure ad effectiveness download our whitepaper: “Getting Started: How to Measure Ad Effectiveness

FocusVision Decipher

If you’re looking for an easy, yet innovative survey and reporting solution to handle everything from ad testing to more complex studies, check out FocusVision Decipher. Insights teams from around the world have used Decipher to get to the heart of customer experiences and drive their brands forward.

Learn more at

Share this article:

Want to talk? Have a question? We’d love to hear from you. E-mail

See for yourself: Begin your journey to better customer insights

Request a demo

Sign up to receive news from FocusVision