Have marketing focus groups gone the way of Route 66?
The legendary roadway, immortalized in a 1946 hit song and an early 1960s TV show (both named “Route 66″), was the main drag for travelers driving long distances between St. Louis in the heartland and Santa Monica beside the Pacific. It was lined with thriving businesses, because that’s where the traffic was – until the advent of the interstate highway system turned most of Route 66 into a ghost town.
Consumers’ leap to social media has done much the same to the traditional, face-to-face consumer focus group. Why go to the expense of conducting a live focus group when you can cull data from Facebook or Twitter to tell you how your brand or ad campaign is doing?
The problem is that these data only capture past actions on social media; they won’t help brands get the insights they need about social media ad campaigns that have yet to be launched. As it stands now, marketers are spending $58.3 billion a year on mobile advertising — most of it on Facebook and other social sites — without being armed in advance with a roadmap telling them what to expect and what can be improved. If only someone could organize a focus group that would convene in today’s social media space instead of in a conference room.
Well, someone has. It’s called Emotional Brand Connections Social Media Ad Testing — a tool that lets you turn social media users who fit your campaign’s target demographics into the biggest, most natural ad-testing focus group ever imagined. EBC Social Media Ad Testing lets you place your test ad directly into mobile recipients’ social media news feeds. Consequently, they’ll experience the ad naturally — as regular news feed content instead of as a formal test that’s seeking their input. You’ll get natural reactions because you’ve chosen to make the ad-testing process natural to the social media environment in which your campaign will take place. Briefly, here’s how it works:
- First, identify your ad’s target audience.
- Access an all-mobile panel that’s large and representative enough to give you a good sample of the consumers you’re targeting.
- Place the ad you’re testing in the target panelists’ news feeds. It could be a film trailer, a video ad, a banner ad – whatever you’re about to launch. Recipients won’t perceive that these ads are being tested, but will experience them as part of the regular ad content they’re accustomed to receiving in their news feeds.
Now you’re ready to learn how well your social media ad is likely to perform.
- Capture highly relevant passive behavioral data from the test recipients’ phones: how long do they engage with the ad? Do they click on it? Listen to the audio? Like or share it?
- Probe further by surveying the test ad’s recipients. Obtain insights into unaided and aided ad and brand recall and awareness.
- Get insights into how recipients respond to creative content, including the ad’s impact on their perceptions and emotions toward the brand and product.
- Is your test ad raising interest and intent to shop and purchase?
Armed with these insights, marketers will be able to make solid, well-informed decisions before launching social media ad campaigns, including whether and how to adjust creative content and the overall strategy.
People no longer get their kicks on Route 66, but they do still travel cross country. Similarly, traditional face-to-face focus groups are not a proper fit for testing mobile ad campaigns, but there’s still a need to get the same kinds of pre-campaign insights in the new realm of social media. Emotional Brand Connections Social Media Ad Testing is designed to fill that need. It ushers in a new era in ad testing in which the kinds of insights focus groups used to provide can come alive in the challenging but exciting space of mobile social media. For more information, just click here.