Researcher Offers 'Money-Back' Guarantee For Online Ad Campaigns
The program, dubbed the "AdInsights Guarantee," is being unveiled this morning at the Advertising Research Foundation's conference in New York, will rebate online advertisers, agencies or publishers the entire cost of their research for any campaigns that fail to beat the results of a "pre-test." One thing that makes the offer so unique, and which is giving InsightExpress the confidence to make it, is that the pre-tests will be done among the same consumer audiences that would be targeted as part of the actual media buy involved in the online campaign.
"We are tired of trying to help clients rationalize the results of a bad campaign at the back end," Lee Smith, CEO-president of InsightExpress told MediaDailyNews, noting that the offer grew out of the frustration the company has had providing 20/20 hindsight to its clients. While InsightExpress utilizes a system that enables real-time testing of online ad campaigns, even as they are being fielded, Smith said most agencies don't have the time to evaluate the results and make changes in midstream. "Most of them end up evaluating the campaign after it's run."
By running a pre-test, Lee said marketers, agencies and publishers could improve the effectiveness of their campaigns before the fact. In fact, many marketers and agencies do exactly that for television advertising, which is often extensively "copy tested" before TV schedules are actually bought. It's rare for Madison Avenue to pre-test ads in other media, because of the costs involved. It's usually justified for television, because the costs of a TV media buy are so much more expensive than for other media, said Smith, estimating that a typical online ad campaign costs about $250,000. The typical cost of a pre-test is about $30,000, all of which would be rebated if the campaign failed to beat the pre-test results, after factoring for a statistical margin of error.
Smith said the actual ad effectiveness measures would be determined by the individual client, but that they typically include such factors awareness, advertising recall, and favorability. Smith said clients get to pick one of three factors to base the guarantee on.
While the offer is likely to appeal to advertisers and agencies, Smith said publishers also may get behind the program as a way of offering "value-add" to their clients, effectively offering them a research guarantee on their campaign results.
Other media, especially consumer magazines, are beginning to offer similar value-add research approaches to their advertising sales, and they are believed to be considering pre-testing as part of that process. Some believe that one of the reasons why TV continues to take such a big share of media budgets is that advertisers and agencies have higher confidence levels in their TV ad campaigns because of the pre-testing. The theory is that if other media develop similar confidence levels, advertisers and agencies would be more willing to shift budgets out of TV.
Editors note: MediaPost has an informal relationship with InsightExpress, which fields and manages online research for the MediaPost Advisory Board surveys. There is no formal business relationship between the two companies.