Marketing insights that spark conversions

July 12, 2017 // 4:51 PM

Why You Should Be Testing Your Ads Before Running A Campaign - And How To Do It

Written by Matt Allegretti


Negative ROI: It’s an advertiser’s worst nightmare. After all the money you invested and time you spent on developing your video ad, you're rewarded with a negative return.
How could this happen? The video was creative, well produced and thought-out.
Why did it miss the mark?
Well, if you had run an ad test before launching the campaign, you could have seen what wasn’t working and identified how to fix it.  
Content testing is increasingly becoming the norm among marketers. Why? Research shows that marketers who test different versions of content often launch more effective campaigns because they know which content is capturing more leads and sales. For this very reason, today’s leading marketing automation platforms offer the capability to A/B test numerous types of web content such as website pages, landing pages, emails, content offers, etc...
So if you’re testing all of your marketing content, why aren’t you testing your marketing videos too?
Testing your marketing videos before running a campaign can mean the difference between high ROI and losing money. 76% of marketing agencies and small-to-medium size businesses owners who use video say that it has a direct impact on their bottom line.
Video ad testing with a real audience helps you to easily see what’s working in your ads and what’s not. Even the smallest details can have a big impact on how your audience responds to your ad content. Therefore, it’s important to test different stylistic and production elements of your video. Some of these elements include background music, voiceovers, logo placement, colors, and facial expressions, although the list goes on. It all depends on which elements you want to test.




Why should you test your video ads before running a campaign?


Aside from wasting time and losing ROI, ad testing ensures that your target audience is reacting to your videos the way that you want them to. For example, Pepsi probably could have avoided the widespread public backlash from their disastrous 2017 Kendall Jenner commercial if they had tested it with their target audience beforehand. But what’s done is done. After intense criticism, Pepsi pulled the ad the next day. Dove’s 2017 body wash commercial received similar criticism, with many accusing the company of exploiting feminism to sell their products.
So then why do some companies shy away from testing their videos? Traditionally, companies have used focus groups to get audience feedback, which is time consuming and expensive, but with the rise of AI and facial-recognition technology, video testing can now be quick and easy.
Dumbstruck for example, is an innovative video-testing platform that uses facial-recognition technology and machine learning to identify how people emotionally respond to a video in real-time - moment by moment. The platform also provides insights that help advertisers learn how to best optimize the video - resulting in more effective ads.  




How To Test Your Marketing Videos


These tips will help you to successfully test your videos using an emotion-based, video-testing platform.


1. Before running a test, have a clear idea of your goals

What are your goals for your video? What do you want your audience to feel while they watch it and how would you like them to react? Once you have defined these, you will have a better understanding of how to use the emotional data to help you optimize your video.

For example, if you want viewers to feel joy while they watch your video, focus on the elements of your video that are supposed to impact joy, and look at the data to see if those elements do in fact increase the level of joy to your satisfaction. If they do not, then you can edit those elements and test the video again to see if the changes were impactful. Dumbstruck provides actionable insights that help you to best use the emotion data to optimize your video.


2. Start by testing one video

If you’re new to video testing, a great way to start is by testing one video at a time. Even testing just one video can provide you with a critical understanding of how your audience emotionally responds to the ad content and whether the ad is driving the behavior you desire most. You will be able to learn how each element of your video impacts viewers - for better or worse - and how you can change these elements to improve viewer response.


3. Test two similar videos

Another great ad testing strategy is to test two similar videos. By comparing the emotional data between the two videos, you will be able to see which video better drives the emotions and behavior you are targeting.

Testing two videos with only minor differences will allow you to better pinpoint exactly what elements made one video outperform the other. For example, if you wanted to test how background music affected viewers’ emotional reactions, you would select different background music for each video, but keep most other elements of the videos the same. Likewise, you could also test voiceovers, logo placement, colors, etc., in the same manner.



Some Key Video Testing Tips:


  • Logo Placement: Display your logo right before viewers experience high levels of joy. Research shows that brand appearances prior to a peak in positive emotion increases purchase intent. 
  • Background Music: Experiment with different background music, and try to fit the music with your message and your brand. Check out this article on the 7 Ways to Choose Perfect Background Music for your Videos.
  • Voiceover: Research shows the right voiceover can increase ad effectiveness by as much as 27%. As with background music, experiment with different voiceover styles to see how it impacts audience response. Learn more about the benefits of testing different voice over styles here.
  • Video Duration: Test two videos with varying lengths. If your video is over 2 minutes, try shortening the content. Don’t be surprised if there’s an increase in video engagement.
  • People Smiling: Include clips/images of people smiling and/or laughing in your video ads. Viewers are more likely to smile and feel joy when watching people who are smiling or laughing.
  • Attentiveness: To achieve high levels of viewer attentiveness, use an element of surprise at the beginning of an ad, followed by a long period of joy.
  • Don’t test too many elements at once. Testing one or two things at a time will help you to better identify the elements that impact audience response the most, and how you can change them to optimize your video.


With the advent of AI and facial recognition technology, video testing is quicker and easier than ever before. With all of the evidence about the critical advantages of ad testing, why wouldn't you include it as part of your ad development process? Don't waste more time and money on ads based on guesswork. Test your video ads to maximize your advertising ROI, increase revenue, and grow your business. 
For more ways you can improve ad performace, check out the resource below: 



Topics: Ad Testing, video advertising