Several dozen top-tier American advertising companies commissioned a research effort that resulted in the formulation of nine basic advertising copy-testing principles. Together, these principles are called PACT, which stands for Positioning, Advertising, Copy, Testing. PACT principles help companies gauge the effectiveness of their advertising efforts and help them see how customers perceive and react to ad copies.

Test Ad Objective

The basic principle of advertising is that the ad copy achieves its aims. For example, the objective of the ad might be to create awareness for the product, encourage customers to try the product or service, introduce new uses for the product, or present the product in a whole new light. The copy-testing system collects data and conducts measurements to see if the ad copy succeeded in achieving the particular aim for which it was created.

Use of Results

Before the testing procedure, the concerned entities, such as the advertising agency, the research company and the client, must agree on how they intend to use the results of the study. For example, they might use the results to determine whether the ad should run. They also could test the ad on a sampling of the larger target audience to gauge its efficacy. It’s wise to ensure that there is equal geographical representation in the study group.

Testing Reliability

To make sure that they reach credible conclusions, companies conduct ad tests many times. Any particular ad can affect customers in different ways and at different times, so it’s prudent to reassess at various intervals. Another option is to present more than one ad copy to the audience. Evaluators can assess the test results to see if they yield the same results every time they run the ad. This method helps determine if the test results are reliable.

Testing Audience Perception

The copy testing system should be able to correctly assess customer comprehension. To do so it answers important questions as to whether customers noticed the ad, the likelihood that they’ll remember it, and whether the ad presented audio or visual stimulation. It also assesses pertinent questions such as whether the customer clearly understood the message conveyed in the ad and if the ad created suitable brand awareness. If the company designed the ad to strike an emotional chord in the customer, the process checks to see if it was successful.

Testing Audience Response

Evaluators also use the system to check customer response and possible reactions. They need to know if customers accepted the ad’s message and if they were adequately impressed with the brand. They also need to test if the ad changed how the customer views the product. Above all, they need to see if customers change their views if they are offered the same product, but of a different brand. Finally the copy testing system assesses whether the ad generated enough appeal to make the customer purchase the product.