Advertising Research Services

Advertising Research

Advertising is one of the most important and most expensive marketing functions, but a large share of advertising dollars is wasted every year.

Seldom is the foundational strategy of the advertising optimal. Rarely are all of the communication issues fully understood. Rarely are ads and commercials adequately tested before they are “aired.” Because of the great strategic potential of good advertising, Decision Analyst has devoted more than four decades of research and experimentation to develop the following advertising services.

CopyOpt™ (Advertising Optimization)

CopyOpt™ is Decision Analyst's proprietary advertising optimization system. It is used to help create prototype advertising concepts by determining the optimal combinations of communication variables.

How Does CopyOpt™ Work?

The basic variables of a brand’s advertising are positionings, messages, and imagery. Once the ranges of these variables are identified, choice modeling is used to determine optimal combinations. Target-audience consumers are asked to rate the degree to which combinations of the variables create interest in buying the brand. Each respondent usually sees 5 to 10 scenarios (i.e., combinations of variables). Choice modeling is used to derive the potential selling value of all possible combinations. The top ads (combinations) then go into a routine copy-testing sequence.

Summary of Advertising Pretesting Systems



This early-stage advertising research system is used evaluate embryonic advertising ideas and concepts in print-ad format in batches of 10 to 20 at a time. CopyScreen® helps identify the most promising creative concepts.

The creative process often begins with a large number of creative concepts (or advertising ideas). How well advertising works depends on the strength of the creative concept—the basic underlying logic, messages, and images. Once generated, creative concepts can be tested to narrow the choices down to only the best ideas.

How Does CopyScreen® Work?

The advertising concepts or ideas are translated into rough print ads—each with a headline, body copy, and artwork. Then a representative sample of 200 to 500 target-audience respondents review and evaluate the rough print ads online. Each respondent sees all of the rough print ads (up to 20) twice and answers a series of four questions about each advertising concept.

The results to the four questions are fed into a mathematical model to calculate a Potential Index score for each advertising concept. The index provides a comparative ranking for all concepts. An index of 100 is the average score of all the advertising concepts tested. If an advertising concept scores 150, it is 50% higher than the average. All the advertising concepts can be ranked from best to worst.



CopyCheck® is an online advertising research system to help evaluate and improve advertising concepts, early-stage print ads, TV storyboards, and radio scripts.

Advertising tends to work on the strength of the creative concept (i.e., the basic underlying logic, themes, and images). The creative concept can be tested in the form of a rough execution—before the expense of final production.

How Does CopyCheck® Work?

A representative sample of 75 to 100 target-audience consumers are recruited to view each advertising concept. The respondents see only one ad (i.e., it is a monadic test) and then answer a series of questions about their reactions, including both open-ended and closed-ended questions.

CopyCheck® provides a “directional” estimate of an ad’s probable effectiveness and provides insightful diagnostic feedback. The report includes verbatim consumer responses to open-ended questions. The verbatim responses are extremely helpful to the agency’s creative staff in guiding creative development as the advertising moves into final production. CopyCheck® is often used in place of focus groups to help improve creative concepts.

CopyTest® (Copy Testing)

CopyTest® (Copy Testing)

CopyTest® is a comprehensive, online advertising pretesting system to predict the effectiveness of semifinished to finished commercials and advertisements.

Copy testing is a safeguard that ensures you are getting your money’s worth. Decision Analyst's CopyTest® system helps take the guesswork out of advertising. CopyTest® gives you the diagnostic insight to improve your advertising from year to year. Better advertising helps build brand equity and boost long-term profitability.

How Does CopyTest® Work?

Typically, a representative sample of category users is exposed to the advertising under a controlled, forced exposure setting over the Internet. Respondents see the advertising twice. Then the respondents complete a battery of 60 questions and diagnostic ratings about the advertisement. Recommended sample size is 200. The results are input into the SellingPower™ analytical model to calculate overall advertising effectiveness. Based on historical normative data, internal diagnostics, and analytical models, the respondents’ results reveal whether the advertising is likely to be effective or not, and they indicate what needs to be changed to improve the advertising.

SellingPower™ Model

This analytical mathematical model is the primary measure of overall advertising effectiveness based on 20 key measurements. The major variables in the SellingPower™ model are:

  • Persuasion
  • Brand reinforcement
  • Possible increase in frequency of usage
  • Attention value
  • Brand registration
  • Stimulation
  • Empathy/Identification
  • Wearout
  • Memorability
  • Pass-along potential

CopyTest® Advantages:

  • SellingPower™ Model. CopyTest® relies on a mathematical model modeling of emotional and rational variables to determine overall advertising effectiveness.
  • Diagnostic Robustness. CopyTest® seeks to explain why a commercial is effective or not. Global Reach. CopyTest® can be executed online in any country and in up to 30 different languages.
  • Normative Database. A normative database of thousands of advertising tests provides benchmarks. Decision Analyst also recommends the use of competitive tests to help set target scores or action standards for a brand’s advertisings.
  • Worldwide Online Panels. Decision Analyst’s proprietary online panels of more than 7 million consumers provide sampling flexibility and a consistent, precise data collection platform across countries.
  • Validity. Validity. Major measurements in CopyTest® are validated for new and established products.

Qualitative Research For Advertising Research

Decision Analyst’s moderators use qualitative explorations as powerful stimuli to creative development and the improvement of advertising effectiveness. Qualitative research is especially valuable before the creative process begins, but it can be applied throughout the development process. Depth interviews are strongly recommended over focus groups—to minimize group biases and permit the use of projective techniques. Depth interviews also provide deep insights into both the verbal and visual aspects of communication.

Innovation Services For Advertising Research

Once basic consumer motivations are understood and some of the basic elements of strategy are defined, consumers can then be used to help in the advertising development process. However, not just any consumers will do. Highly creative individuals are the key. They can help create “starter” ideas for breakthrough advertising. Decision Analyst maintains a panel of over 2,000 highly creative people (called Imaginators®) who work in small groups, online or offline, to generate hundreds of advertising ideas for a brand. These starter ideas must be developed into final ads by agencies and should go through standard copy-testing procedures.

Advertising Testing Services

Decision Analyst is a leading global marketing research and analytical consulting firm and a recognized leader in advertising testing. Our staff has copy tested thousands of different commercials and ads for foods, beverages, restaurants, packaged goods, retailers, and other categories. Decision Analyst is a leader in the development of analytical techniques to enhance the learning from advertising research.

If you would like more information on Advertising Research, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, by emailing him at, or by calling 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.