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Display Advertising: The Perfect Campaign Testing Ground

We all know that good advertising must contain world-class creative. Creative that breaks through the clutter and inspires consumers to take action. Unfortunately, many agencies spend millions of dollars developing and executing creative concepts that don't fit the bill. Consider the costs of the recent Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner - according to Statista, Pepsi spent $2.5 billion in advertising in 2016. Let's say the Jenner ad was just 1% of the yearly ad spend, that is still a whopping $25 million. As we now know, that was millions of dollars wasted, as the ad was almost immediately pulled from air and is still receiving negative press and social media comments a month later.

What if there were a way to test creative concepts in a live environment prior to pouring millions of dollars into it?... I have good news, THERE IS!

Display advertising is a marketers dream testing ground. It's a way for marketers to get millions of impressions, allowing for real feedback in real time, without extremely high media spends. In most cases, production costs will be limited as well.

How to use display to test creative concepts:  Step 1: Create 2-4 Design Concepts - Designs can be used to test different campaign ideas or to test specific elements of the same  concept. Step 2: Organize your campaign into separate ad groups for each concept - Separating your creative concepts into ad groups will allow you to track and organize data. You will use the data associated with each ad group to determine the wining concept. Step 3: Launch Campaign Step 4: Monitor Results - Plan to spend your budget within 1-2 weeks. With the right budget you can generate enough traffic to determine which concept drives your audience to perform the desired behavior. Step 5: Review Data - select winning concept. Step 6: Develop Extended Campaign Tactics  - Utilize winning creative treatment to create ads for other mediums, such as TV, Print, Websites, etc.

Most marketers claim that they are implementing a digital first strategy, which in many cases is true when it comes to creative design. However, the thought of going to market with a concept through display ads is foreign to most, as digital ad units are typically an afterthought and/or are designed to look and feel like larger broadcast campaigns or an existing website.

However, using display advertising as a testing ground can be a very useful tool to determine messaging that resonates with your target audience and can potentially save your company millions of dollars. If you are not currently using this approach to test your ideas, start now!

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