Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising – #1: Ad Testing & Tracking
It strikes me that there are endless opportunities out there for you to showcase your product or service using just about any form of media, and that’s fantastic. There is no shortage of media players in this media buffet. What I found the most powerful is utilizing all of those resources to their respective individual and then collective advantages. Sometimes things work wonderfully well using the more traditional radio, television, newspaper, magazine, or out of home advertising.
More recently some advertisers have had some success with one or more of the social media platforms and that’s terrific. I think they should all be embraced and be part of your media mix. Please make no mistake that it should genuinely be a mix of media. Unless and until you track your ads, you will never know exactly which particular component is going to pull the trigger for a sale. You want your target group to say; that’s for me, that’s the product that I want! You want to make sure you give yourself every opportunity to be seen and to be heard to promote whatever service or product you have out there. You want to stand head and shoulders above the crowd, in front of as many of the right crowds as possible.
What I’d like to share with you starting today is a series of the Top Ten Mistakes in Advertising that I’ve seen through these three decades of being a professional media planner and buyer. Also, to share some secrets and tips on how to avoid them. We’re going to space this out one at a time, today being the intro will perhaps be a tad longer . I do hope you will you will indulge me.
Let’s get started with Mistake Number One.
The single biggest mistake I see repeated over and over and over again is the failure to Test and Measure your ads. All too often too many advertisers simply write a cheque for the ads in the newspaper, online, TV, radio, regardless of the media and simply hope for the best. As many of you will attest, hope marketing really doesn’t pay an awful lot of bills. You wouldn’t put your own product,…… table lamps, lawnmowers, keyboards, post hole diggers, floor tiles, into the marketplace without putting them through an extensive battery of tests to see if they can live up to your standards.
You need to also test the ad that sells the product. Does this sound familiar? Maybe you’ve encountered this yourself, or you know a friend who had this happen to them. They put all of their muscle into one media without finding out how effective the message could be on a smaller scale, then all they heard was crickets. That’s a devastating sound when you’re in advertising, so here’s what I want you to do. Here is how you fix this mistake.
TRACK YOUR ADS.
What you want to do is to see how every single piece of creative is performing in each magazine, website, outdoor ad, and/or radio commercial. You must have an identifier, a tag of any description that’s exclusive to that ad. You can then go back and say we invested X number of dollars in this media and it brought us two returns, five returns, a thousand returns, whatever. Direct Mail thrives on this. You should too.
This tells you exactly what worked. It helps you on future campaigns by identifying what has been your best performer. It challenges you to come up with even better ads, better media mixes, better dollar spending, because now you know what’s performing.
When you’re preparing your ads make sure that all of that creative excellence that’s been developed has a chance to be evaluated and measured so you can go back and track it. You can see how engaged your audiences are. How many times did they purchase the product? How many times did they go to the website? How many times did they raise their hand to say,…. I like your product and I want more info.
THAT’s what you want to deliver. Code your ad with the coupon exclusive to that campaign or magazine. Create a different URL or even a 1-800 number that can be tracked and monitored for every single ad. You want to see how each ad is doing. Then, only then, ….yes, only then can you tell if it’s working and giving you a return on the investment. You are setting a template that will help you refine every ad moving forward. If you get it right, right out of the gate, then kudos to you and congratulations.
Remember, there’s always going to be some refinement, some improvements, some opportunity to tweak subsequent ads. There is a famous advertising gentleman by the name of John Caples who was an aggressive and prolific advertising tester, long before the Internet came onboard.
Mr. Caples discovered through testing different headlines of one ad, that he improved the ad performance by 19.5 times. Same product, same newspaper or magazine, same service, same price point. Did you see that? Nineteen and one half times better!!!The only change he did was to revise the headline multiple times until he found one that struck gold. You want a good return? Two times, three times better? Try 19.5 times better! That’s the difference that testing delivers. Please remember when you’re testing there is no failure, there’s only result
One enterprising client in my history treated it this way too. He came from a financial background. To him each ad was considered a different mutual fund in his portfolio. He named each ad as a Mutual Fund before they went in to the media. Because they were coded in names he liked, he was able to remember them, and he was able to soon see how well each of his investments, as he put it, was performing. He put more money against the ads which were performing well and replaced any ads which were underperforming to a new one.
Your number one Tip is to Track Every Single Ad you prepare. It’s the only way to accurately measure what’s working.
About the Author: Dennis Kelly is an advertising expert with 30 years of wisdom to share for Office Today readers and is the author of two books “Nine Secrets To Improve Your Advertising” and “57 Media Spikes”. CLICK HERE to learn more. Office Today Readers receive a FREE 30 Minute consultation with Dennis to discuss what your next media moves should be. Send an e-mail with OFFICE TODAY CONSULTATION in subject line and the best times to chat. Email firstname.lastname@example.org