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Assessing the Utility of MSW’s Insight Rabbit Copy Testing Scores in Predictive Analytics: A Validat

Copy testing has been utilized by advertisers for decades to assess the quality of advertising copy. MSW’s TouchPoint™ copy testing system has been extensively validated, showing that test results on key metrics are predictive of subsequent sales results from airing the tested advertising. A partnership between MSW and predictive marketing analytics firm Keen set out to assess the utility of test scores from MSW’s Insight Rabbit DIY copy-testing platform at improving predictions from Keen’s MIDA decision support system.

The MIDA (Marketing Investment Decision Analysis) platform is designed to help marketers decide how to invest in marketing activities. MIDA users can develop optimized investment scenarios to meet specific business objectives such as hitting revenue targets or meeting budget constraints. It does this by applying a Bayesian modeling approach to a wide range of a brand’s historical marketing and performance data.

Could the use of copy quality metrics improve forecasting of business outcomes and hence, be used as an input to MIDI to improve the allocation of marketing dollars? To address this question, new advertising for a major packaged food brand was selected. This brand had developed two different campaigns with different communication objectives that tied back to the brand’s strategy. The brand intended to air both campaigns concurrently.

The television ads developed for each of the two campaigns were tested using MSW Research’s Insight Rabbit Pulse Lite copy testing solution. Results are shown in the graph below.

Both ads were adequate in terms of the secondary Break Through metric which assesses the degree to which an ad leaves viewers with a memorable and branded impression. However, Copy A scored much stronger in terms of the CCPersuasion™ metric which assesses the degree to which the ad positively influences preference for the advertised brand. Prior validation studies have shown CCPersuasion to be the strongest predictor of an ad’s selling power. Copy A scored significantly above the Fair Share benchmark with an index of 161, suggesting it is a very strong piece of copy. On the other hand, Copy B indexed 113 versus the norm and would be considered slightly above average at best.

Historical performance of the brand’s television investment was measured in MIDA to quantify the expected returns on investment for an average (or benchmark) ad for the brand. Then an initial forecast was developed before the start of the campaign using this historical performance enhanced by the MSW copy test results along with planned media delivery levels.

After the campaign had been running for six months, MIDA was updated with actual sales and television campaign delivery data. As seen below, the ROI for Copy A was approximately 90% higher than would have been expected from the historical benchmark ad performance level. On the other hand, Copy B’s ROI was only about 5% higher than the benchmark expectation.

This actual performance was extremely consistent with the copy test results which suggested that Copy A was a very strong ad, and that copy B was slightly above average. This result illustrates the utility of MSW copy test scores in the a priori forecasting of investment levels through integration with decision support systems. The integration of MSW copy test scores with a decision support system like MIDA would help steer marketing dollars toward more deserving initiatives, improve forecasts and bolster in-market effectiveness of brands’ marketing programs.

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