Consumer app spending is up 73%.
Consumer app spending is up 73%.

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Digital advertising is huge in 2022 – and with 97% of Americans using smartphones, this comes as no surprise. According to eMarketer, U.S. digital ad spending will hit $239.89 billion in 2022, up 13.6% from 2021. By 2025, experts predict ad spending will surpass $300 billion and account for more than 75% of all media spending

While the ROI from advertising can be quite high, conversion rates are surprisingly low. Here are the average conversion rates for display ads across the primary digital channels:

According to these numbers, for every 100 people who see your ad, one will click on it – at best. Seems like a lot of wasted impressions!

Ad testing is a common practice among marketers, and has been used for decades to determine what content and creative will resonate most with target audiences. By testing out ad concepts prior to launching an expensive advertising campaign, you can optimize ad spend and boost conversions. More than 50% of marketers use ad testing to increase conversion rates, and ad testing is the second most-used tactic for optimizing conversion, next to analytics. 

However traditional ad testing has its limitations: it can be a slow, costly process that yields subpar results. Without proper segmentation, it’s difficult to know if you’re testing your ads on the right consumers. And even if you determine which ads your target consumers prefer, you may have no idea where to place them to increase impressions within that segment of potential buyers. 

Ad Testing by MFour tackles these limitations with two key capabilities: Differentiated Targeting and Data Appends. Both of these features are powered by MFour’s Fair TradeTM behavioral data, collected with permission from a vast and diverse panel of consumers who have downloaded our Surveys On The Go® app, and the MFour Studio platform that brings together market research and data science. 

Let’s take a look at how Differentiated Targeting and Data Appends work, and how they set MFour’s Ad Testing solution apart from other solutions on the market.

What is Differentiated Targeting?

When you design your Ad Testing strategy, it’s important to select the right audience to view then provide feedback on your ad concepts. What’s the point of showing an ad for a new gym to someone who doesn’t enjoy exercise, or pushing a promotion for a vegan restaurant to someone who frequents burger joints? 

MFour enables Differentiated Targeting by providing insights into the behaviors consumers have exhibited over time. We look at observed behaviors across 10 million daily consumer journeys to learn what apps, websites and physical locations consumers visit before, during and after a purchase. That way, you can select survey recipients that best represent the consumers you want to reach with your ads, and are most likely to give you helpful feedback about which ad works best.

Here’s an example: Say you work for Walmart and you’re running an ad campaign in an attempt to steal market share from Target. You have two ads and you want to test them to see which one will be most effective with someone who might shop at Target. Using traditional ad testing, you can segment your audience by demographic information such as age, gender, location and income. You can get a pretty good sample this way – for example, women ages 30-50 who have kids and live in suburban areas. You’ll probably get some input about which ads they like best. However, are these really your target consumers? How many of them actually shop at Target – and how often? When they do visit Target, how much do they spend? Do they use the Target app for coupons? Do they buy in-store or online? The only way traditional ad testing companies know any of this is relying on stated consumer feedback that’s subject to recall bias at best and fraud at worst.

Leveraging MFour’s Behavior Data and Differentiated Targeting capabilities, you can hone in on highly targeted segments of consumers who are most likely to be persuaded by one of your ads. You can create a highly effective Ad Testing strategy that collects feedback from members of your target audience who have visited Target 3-5 times in the past month and spent in excess of $100 per visit. These are the customers you really want to attract to Walmart, and they’ll provide the most valuable input about which ad will work the best.

What are Data Appends?

Once you’ve conducted your Ad Testing and you know which ad your target consumer prefers, the next decision you must make is where to place the ad for maximum exposure and impact. MFour Ad Testing leverages Data Appends to help you optimize ad activation. 

By appending survey data with behavioral data collected via our mobile app, we add a dimension to test results that helps you drill down into the specifics of your target consumers’ online and offline behaviors. Say you discover 75% of the people you surveyed preferred one of your two ad concepts. Of that subgroup: 

  • How many are women and how many are men? 
  • How many were under or above the age of 40? 
  • What apps do they use most frequently before they shop? 
  • What websites do they visit? 
  • Are they visiting these apps and websites while they shop to research products and compare prices? 

A traditional market research firm will only provide you with answers to the first two questions above. Using Data Appends, MFour provides a much deeper level of understanding about your target audience that can be leveraged for decision-making around activation, as well as what marketing partnerships and promotions are most advantageous. It delivers invaluable insights into where to activate your high-performing ads to maximize impressions by telling you exactly what these people do, online and offline, so you know where you should plan to reach them.

Advertise with confidence and increase ROI

By combining real-time behavioral data with survey results, MFour brings more validation and representation to Ad Testing. On the front end, you can leverage behavioral data for Differentiated Targeting, and test your ads with subjects who are most likely to provide the best and most valuable feedback. On the backend, MFour’s Data Appends enable you to optimize ad activation, so your ads will be seen by the customers you want to reach most. In this way, MFour takes much of the guesswork out of your advertising strategy and helps to increase the ROI of your advertising spend. That’s the value of bringing data science and market research together on a single platform.

Learn more about MFour Ad Testing by requesting a demo today.

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