What Is Copy Testing?

It’s no secret these days that the way to produce the most effective ads is to test them on a subset of your target audience before they’re aired to the world. This way, you can receive valuable feedback needed to optimize your ads. 

We’ve discussed the basics of advertising testing and why it’s necessary to test ads at length on this blog. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into copy testing, why it’s essential, methods to use, questions to ask, and which tools can help you develop the most effective advertisements. 

What Is Copy Testing In Advertising? 

Copy testing is a form of market research that allows companies to determine the potential success and effectiveness of their advertising through consumer feedback. 

As advertising on the Internet increasingly overtakes traditional forms of advertising, getting the message across in a fast, effective way is becoming even more important for companies. This form of testing helps companies determine the effectiveness of their advertisements before they air.

Copy testing enables marketing teams to get the most out of their ad spend by determining what works and what doesn’t with their ads and how to optimize them. Target customers give detailed feedback about the advertisements during a test, giving teams a nuanced understanding of where they fall short and what’s convincing customers to buy. 

Concept Testing vs. Copy Testing

While concept testing and copy testing are both commonly used forms of advertising testing, concept testing refers specifically to testing an idea before it’s baked into a fully formed product or advertising campaign. Copy testing, on the other hand, occurs when an advertising campaign or advertisement is more fully formed. During this form of testing, participants view things like messaging, the advertising medium, and more to give their feedback. 

For example, a dairy company may have an idea for a new ad for their milk products that features a blue cow. Before creating the ad, they may conduct a concept test to see how consumers would react to the blue cow. Once they’ve determined that consumers like the concept of the blue cow in ads, the advertising team may create multiple ads or advertisement storyboards featuring the blue cow. Then, they can run a copy test with target consumers to see which ad resonates most with their target audience. 

So, while the two aren’t the same, concept testing and copy testing complement each other well. If you don’t know how your idea will resonate with your target audience, it’s a good idea to run a concept test before creating anything. 

Top Methods for Testing Copy

There are a few methods you can use to test your copy on target audiences: 

  • Automated copy testing. This form of copy testing involves automatically sending variants of your advertisements to target customers that have opted in to providing feedback.
  • Focus group. This type of testing often involves working with a market research agency or a full-service group like Invoke to gain valuable qualitative and quantitative feedback on your advertising campaigns from target customers in real-time. 
  • Consumer jury. To gain feedback from consumers, you can offer them something in return for their time and insight. For example, if you’re testing new headphones to put out on the market, you may offer free headphones for their feedback. 
  • Rating scale. In this form of copy testing, you define the standards you wish your advertisement to reach with consumers. This way, you have a set idea of what goals you want to achieve before consumers copy-test your advertisement. 
  • Portfolio. This form of copy testing involves providing your target audience with a portfolio of options for your ad. Participants then provide feedback on which ad they prefer. 
  • Psychological. This method helps you discover how impactful your advertisements are from a psychological perspective using ad testing techniques like word association, emotional response, and readability. 
  • Day-after recall tests. With this method, you can see how well your target audience remembers your advertisement the day after they see it. 

These are just a few examples of methods you can use to create the most effective ads possible. 

Copy Testing Questions

The questions you ask your target audience during copy testing should always aim to uncover the “why” behind how consumers think, feel, and behave. Here are a few examples of questions you can ask your target audience to achieve this: 

  • What stood out to you in this ad? 
  • Was the ad memorable? 
  • What did you like about this ad? 
  • What did you dislike about this ad? 
  • What was the ad’s central message? 

Hopefully, these questions will get you thinking about other great questions to ask your target audience. 

Copy Testing Tools 

Now that you understand the basics of copy testing, it’s time to determine which tools you’ll use. 

Here are some of the things to look for when choosing your copy testing tools: 

  • Qualitative capabilities. Finding a tool that has qualitative capabilities is critical when you’re pursuing the “why” behind your consumers’ thoughts and feelings.
  • The scale and selectivity of the customer base you’re able to reach. Is your audience global? Do you have a niche selection of target customers you want feedback from? Ask yourself these questions when choosing your copy testing tool. You should choose a tool or provider with the recruitment capabilities you need to get the best possible insights. 
  • Whether tests can be conducted online or in-person with the tool. Tools today make it possible to conduct all kinds of market research tests virtually, gathering participants from anywhere in the world to take part. 
  • What kinds of insights reports you receive after a test. The tests themselves will reveal a lot about what your target audience feels about your advertisements, but reports always provide more insight that you perhaps wouldn’t catch the first time around. 
  • What security measures are built into the tool. If you’re using a virtual market research tool, it’s important to consider the security features built into the tool you’re using to prevent bad actors from potentially pirating your media. 

Ensure Optimal Advertising Copy with Invoke

One of the most robust virtual tools on the market for copy testing today is Invoke’s platform. Our secure, proprietary platform enables you to gather deep, rich qualitative and quantitative insights for more confident decisions. 

Interested in learning more about our state-of-the-art tool for copy testing and more? Request a demo from our experienced team today. 

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