Advertising research is a study of the performance and efficiency of advertising. This type of research may be company, product, or even advertisement-specific. Research may also be done on a larger scale, to measure the effectiveness, saturation, or variations of a specific type of advertising. It may also be performed as an examination of how a particular industry or market segment uses advertisements.
Businesses often perform this research in order to inform or manage their advertising behavior. A company might perform research on current advertisement to see how the public perceives them, the relation of a long-running campaign to product performance, and what about the ads do consumers like or dislike. This is typically done through consumer surveys and sales data analysis.
Developing and launching a new ad campaign is a primary focus of some advertising research. A business may want to know if a new campaign retains all of the brand loyalty created by previous campaigns, while introducing a new product in an exciting manner. This type of research is often done through focus groups, which are audiences selected to view ads and give input on them. Focus groups are usually asked to identify what stood out the most, what they liked about the advertisement, how well it captured their attention or emotion, and any weaknesses they noticed. The emotional and psychological reactions of a focus audience to a campaign can help determine how the advertising will play on a larger stage and to different demographics.
One of the reasons that advertising research is important to individual businesses is that advertising campaigns can be extremely expensive. Television commercials may cost in excess of $100,000 US dollars (USD) simply to produce, before any ad time is even purchased to run the ads. An ad campaign that flops can not only severely dent the operating budget of a business, but may taint the product itself for years to come. Advertising research may help businesses advertise more effectively, and also provide clear warning signs of a marketing disaster.
In contrast to the ad or campaign-specific focus of internal advertising research, external advertising research measures components of advertising on a broader scale. This type of research might be undertaken by marketing companies, sociologists, and advertising industry analysts to understand how advertisements work and how they are used. Studies help advertisers understand how best to utilize advertising techniques, and may also help identify patterns of advertising trends. For instance, thanks to changing spending patterns, late 20th century trends showed a remarkable increase in advertising aimed toward children and teenagers, as opposed to the traditional method of advertising to adults.