Monday, August 28, 2017
Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising & How To Avoid Them - #1 Ad Testing and Tracking

It strikes me that there are quite a number of 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 and opportunities, but 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 because you never know exactly which particular component is going to pull the trigger and get 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.


So, 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 and 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 but 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.


Well 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’re testing the ad that sells the product and, unfortunately, 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 it could be on a smaller scale and 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. 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 should have an identifier, a tag of any description that's exclusive to that ad so you can 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.


This helps you to know exactly what worked that 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.  So 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, like how many times did they purchase the product, how many times did they go to the website, how many times that they raised their hand to say I like your product and I want more info.


That's what you want to deliver. So 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, 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. And if you get it right, right out of the gate, then kudos to you and congratulations. 


But, 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, way before the Internet came onboard. He discovered through testing different headlines of one ad he raised the performance 19.5 times. Same product, same newspaper or magazine, same service, same price point, all he did was change 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 results.


One enterprising client in my history treated it this way too. He came from a financial background so each ad to him was considered a different mutual fund in his portfolio and he named them before they went into the media. Now, because they were coded in names he liked, he was able to remember them but he was able to soon see how well each of his investments, as he put it, was performing. And he put more money against the ads which were performing and changed any ads which were underperforming to a new one. 


So my message to you for tip number one is to Track Every Single Ad you prepare. It's the only way to accurately measure what's working.

- Dennis Kelly
About Me
Dennis Kelly
A professional to his fingertips, Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media brings a deft touch as your media magician. Extracting incremental media value for you from suppliers is second nature for Dennis. His versatility in all media is bred of 3 decades of hands-on media planning & buying experience in the media trenches. As a steward of your media budget, Dennis excels in delivering smart, efficient, creative and targeted campaigns to showcase your creative to the right audience.

Dennis is the author of “ 9 Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising” and is available to Masthead Reader for $197 through a special offer at this link
Most Recent Blog Comment
Dennis Kelly says:
Thank you Gloria. What a perfectly apropos link. Thank you for sharing that. You are quite correct. ...
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