Published November 8, 2022

Beam Your Visual Ads to A Test Audience Before You Launch

6 min read

The moments after launching a new visual ad can be nerve wracking. It’s always a risk to shoot out a campaign then wait to see if it performs. But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

After all, you’ve probably worked hard to cultivate your audience and hone your brand personality. Why put that all on the line?  

Speaking and engaging your audience after the fact could damage your reputation and results. Testing ads before you launch just makes good sense. With testing, you can check to see if they even grok what you’re putting down

Let’s walk you through your testing options. 

What You Can Test 

A/B testing isn’t the only way you can get ahead of the game. You can drill down into things, such as customer engagement, sentiment, and likeliness to convert. 

You can test anything from the visuals to the copy itself. Even testing variations of your ad. Best practice: have at least one other variation to also test but it is ideal for three variations in total.  

And you don’t have to wait until you have a finalized design. 

Here’s a list of what you can test: 

Stick people sketches.
Stick people sketches.
  • Ad messaging. Test the copy you plan to use in your advertisements, either on its own or along with the visuals themselves.
  • Ad placement. See if your ads capture the attention of the audience, whether you place it on your own site or a 3rd-party platform.
  • Completed ads. Anything from social media posts to television commercial slots. 
  • Video ads. Static ads aren’t the only thing you can test. With Helio, you can also test video ads
  • Audio ads. Though less on the visual side, podcasts and other audio content have become increasingly popular the last few years.

No matter where in the creative process you are, Helio has the tools to put your visual ads to the test.

How Testing Works

To get feedback on your visual ads, you’ll need an audience to react to your ideas. With Helio, you can use one of our Ready-Made Audiences targeted by their behaviors and responsibilities, or upload your own testers and use the platform with Your Participants.

Once you know who you’re testing with, Helio’s test creation page gives you a selection of 12 question types to build your surveys and learn about your ads. We always suggest using a combination of quantitative and qualitative questions in your surveys to gather signals from multiple data points once the responses start rolling in.

Question types in Helio.
Question Types in Helio.

Once you’ve set up and sent your survey, data will start appearing in minutes. We typically recommend getting 100 responses on each survey, which can be accomplished in a matter of hours with some audiences. Once your first responses come in, your survey will shift into a data report that provides a visual read-out of all your participants’ feedback and data filters that help you comb through the information.

What You’ll Learn From Testing 

The signals you’ll get from your results will provide assurance that you’re on the right track with your audience. Or it could highlight gaps in your visuals and messaging.  

Here’s what you’ll discover: 

  • Audience comprehension. You’ll learn whether your audience groks the ad itself or needs more context. 
  • Emotional reaction. You’ll discover if your ad resonates. Learn whether the reactions are positive or negative. 
  • Ad conversion. Test how well your advertisements work in your conversion funnel through click directives and behavioral reactions.

Direct preference. Of course, you can place your advertisements side-by-side for a simple A/B test. With Helio, you can break this down into percentages based on your audience sample size

Let’s See This In Action

We tested a business ad and landing page concept to gauge its effectiveness with its targeted audience. Let’s look at the page we tested to see what impression it would leave. 

Three variations of the Advent landing page and visuals.
We tested three variations of the page. (Fr L to R: Variation One, Two, and Three)

The visuals of the landing page are for an ad management platform. The page itself is targeted at marketers and advertisers at Enterprise companies and agencies. So we wanted to gauge what reaction those folks would have to the page. 

Hunches and Our Audience 

We started with developing a few hunches about the page. 

The hunches we developed: 

  • Participants will want to interact with the video on the page
  • The video is a distraction to our conversion goal of getting sign-ups
  • The company logos help build trust for participants who want to scroll that far
  • The bottom CTA will catch participants who may not want to scroll back up
  • 3 value props provide easier access to information than watching a video

Then, we selected our audience. It was composed of business people who lived in the United States and made between $40K and $100K in the relevant industries.  

The questions we asked the audience: 

  • Does the audience understand the purpose of the page? 
  • If they landed on this page, what would they do first on it to get the information they needed? 
  • What is the audience’s overall impression of the page? Is it positive or negative for each variation? 
  • What is the likelihood that the audience would use the service or product discussed on the page?  

Our Signals 

The signals we got from our hunches highlighted the best of the three variations. 

We found that reactions to the landing pages got better as we increased the visual fidelity. Although, the final variation was lacking in emotional reaction because we removed the video in favor of three bullet points under the header of “Why Advent?”.

Here’s what we learned: 

  • The audience appreciated the simplicity of the language. 
  • The audience both resonated and groked what this was about.
  •  Variation three received the most success (47%).

Based on the audience comments, they  felt that variation three highlights how the product can help them with their needs. They also commented positively on the page layout and organization of content. 

This gave us confidence to move forward with the third variation. More than that, it confirmed our hunches about the understandability of the visuals. 

Start Testing Your Visual Ads 

Now you can be assured your ads have compelling copy and images with Helio. We’ve made it as easy as possible to get started.

If you don’t have an audience list of your own, or just don’t have the time to compile one, you can hop over to our Ready-Made Audiences. We’ve done all the leg work for you and curated audiences in a variety of industries. 

Here are a few industries you can choose from: 

  • Real Estate Industry. This audience is made up of various real estate professional roles who work with residential, commercial, and industrial properties. 
  • Leisure, Travel, and Tourism Industry. All the folks that help plan vacations, from booking air travel to planning a cruise. 
  • Broadcast Media Industry. Newscasters, reporters, and behind-the-scenes crew who are tech savvy and have interview skills. 

These aren’t all the ones to choose from. There are many more, including consumers of all stripes and backgrounds. You can even segment each of these audiences to drill down even further in your tests. 

If you’ve got an audience already, why not give Helio a spin with this easy-to-use template that lets you test early concepts and sketches.

Creative & Ad Concepts Test

Safeguard your advertising investments by validating campaign success before opening the floodgates to the masses.

Use this template for:

  • Concept Testing
  • Ensure a good market fit between your ads and your audience
  • Choosing the most optimized version of your ad guarantees the greatest possible profit
Use Template

Build something your users truly want