Marketing research you’re leaving behind

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

You’re paying for enormous amounts of research you’re not using.

I can make this bold statement because I’m guilty of it, too. I’ve paid large sums of my own money for research I didn’t use as well as I could have. What is this research? I’m speaking of paid advertising.

Right now, I’m in the middle of marketing my new book. I’m running Facebook and Twitter ads to capture attention and build interest. To advertise, I have to write copy and select images to create the ads. Most marketers write up the ads, turn them on, and walk away. After the campaign is over, you shelve the ads and move onto the next campaign. What a waste!

You’ve just paid money for research. You’ve just paid money to find out what words, phrases, and images resonate with your audience:


What should I pay attention to? Clickthrough rate tells me what’s working best with my audience. Above, the photo of me gets a higher clickthrough rate. There are ads not shown that have the same text but a different image. Those ads are performing half as well as the ones with me in them. The ads beginning with copy about marketing – a noun – are doing slightly better than the ads starting with a verb. I can see the beginnings of a trend here. In a week, the statistical validity of these ads should firm up and I’ll be able to develop writing strategies from them.

So how do you make use of the research you’re collecting?

First, establish statistical significance. I recommend Rags Srinivasan’s excellent Excel template to run the test.

  • Punch in your impressions in the first row for any two ads.
  • Input your clicks or conversions in the second row.
  • The calculator will tell you whether the result is statistically significant.


Second, after you’ve established statistical significance, incorporate the results in other forms of media. Assume the above results were statistically significant. There is a pattern in which ads leading with nouns about marketing trumped ads leading with verbs. I have two choices for a blog post title: “Marketing research you’re leaving behind” and “Use the marketing research you’ve paid for”. Based on the research I’ve paid for already, I’d choose the former.

Third, look at your web analytics over time to see if blog posts you’ve written using prepaid research perform better than average. If they do, then you’ve increased the indirect ROI of your ads. Even if your ads didn’t generate great performance, you’ll have repurposed your findings to improve other parts of your marketing strategy. That’s a win!

Make the most of every dollar you spend on your marketing and advertising. You’ve already paid for the research — use it!

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