What is Advertising Research?
14 Mar 2018

In the advertising and marketing industry, research is used to identify and define marketing problems. For instance, there is research involved in the following aspects of the advertising process:

  • Industry or competitive analysis
  • Pitch process
  • Concept generation
  • Ad ideation
  • Consumer/target audience development
  • Segmentation
  • Ad pre-test
  • Ad post
  • Tracking the ad’s success
  • Branding initiatives
  • Content marketing
  • Thought leadership

Primary and Secondary

Primary and secondary research are methodologies that evaluate advertising. Although this can seem like an unnecessary expense, it is far from it. As they say: “Failure to prepare is preparation for failure.” This upfront research cost allows your communications to be more targeted, set up for success, and ultimately drive more sales.


Primary research is research that is not already out there. There are two types of primary research: qualitative and quantitative.


Qualitative research is directional and used to garner ideas and insights. Traditionally, this type of research has been conducted at focus group facilities, over the phone, or even in one’s home. However, new technologies have brought this type of research into the digital space. That is to say, online focus groups, bulletin boards, and social research allow the strategists to be timelier and more cost-effective. New technologies such as virtual reality are revolutionizing this type of research.


In advertising, qualitative research is excellent for the initial feedback of campaign ideas, concept testing, and bringing a specific target segment to life.


Quantitative research derives conclusions about specific target populations through methods such as online or over-the-phone surveys. As a result, this number-oriented methodology reaches out to a large number of respondents to be statistically representative of a population. In other words, strategists use quant for advertising tracking research, brand equity research, concept testing, consumer, and segmentation research. To sum it up, quant helps you predict if your advertising campaign will be successful.


Secondary research uses available data on the current market. That is to say; secondary information already exists for another purpose. Moreover, there are many ways to create a secondary research report. For instance, you can commission a market research company to gather market information. In addition, you could purchase syndicated research. Further, you could subscribe to research databases or even conduct a web search. Check out our article about free research databases. 


Often this type of research is beneficial to advertisers when better understanding trends and the competitive and industry landscape. It is also useful if you are looking to conduct an ad audit of your competitors.


Research vendors conduct advertising research, commissioned by either advertising agencies or in-house marketers. Therefore, they allow for the research results to be unbiased and gives an accurate representation of where the brand or ad campaign stands. Above all, your company wants to collect meaningful, impartial, and insightful explorations into your market. Most importantly, research should inform your marketing and strategic practices. Certainly market research should lead to more sales, and a great report will point you in the right direction for just that. In conclusion, there are many reasons to conduct market research. Choose wisely!


Check out some of our most recent posts from our strategy and advertising research blog here:

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  4. Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring: Improve Data Visualization
  5. Tips For Building Brand Strategy for a Successful Brand
  6. What’s the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative?

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Provoke Insights is a full-service market research firm. We help build and grow brands using multiple market research methodologies including qualitative, quantitative, and secondary research. We hope to work with you in the future.