Because ad readership studies gather market feedback regarding ads, the results aren't always what advertisers want to hear. Low scores scare some publishers who consider not even sharing them with advertisers. On the other hand, some advertisers don't believe the scores, rationalize them, and end up ignoring them.
Consider what can happen if ad readership studies are ignored:
After completing a Brand Buzz study where we ask a market about their perceptions about a group of brands, we received an email from one of the publication's sales reps.
He asked what we would say, if after looking at the report for a brand that participated in the Brand Buzz study, we were to learn that they ran full page, four color ads throughout the entire year.
A look at the report showed that the brand perception data was a bit below average, but nothing shocking. The comments, though, took a turn for the worse. The majority of the verbatim comments ran along the theme of, "I have no idea who this is." These were the results for an advertiser that ran full-page ads all year long? Ouch.
With only the information in the Brand Buzz report, it would have been hard to come to a conclusion about why an aggressive advertiser would achieve such low awareness. Fortunately, we had additional data on our side. The ad was featured in an Ad Readership study earlier in the year.
Upon reviewing the results in the Ad Readership study report, it became clear why the advertiser had low awareness. The ad received very low recall scores. Readers weren't seeing or reading their ad. Despite the results, the measured ad continued to run.
The comments from the Brand Buzz study simply reinforced the information that was reported in the Ad Readership study. While the advertiser had the best practices of frequency and consistency down pat, what was on the page wasn't resonating with these readers.
Whether an advertiser receives low scores on an ad readership study and chooses to ignore them, or if an advertiser doesn't even have the chance to see the low scores, this situation illustrates what can happen when low scores are ignored: an ineffective ad continues to be ineffective. Not only did this advertiser fail to maximize its ad investment, but the opportunity cost of the exposure and the funds is immeasurable.
When facing low scores, how can you make the most out of the situation? Read our tips for presenting ad readership scores to make it a little easier.