A/B Testing

A type of experimental design (see “Experimental Design“) that compares two different advertising executions in which a random half of all those exposed to an ad sees one version of the ad, while the other random half sees a different version. Responses to each version — measured by a post-exposure survey or by other passive measures of advertising performance (such as click-throughs, conversions, engagement, time spent for digital ads) are compared to determine which version is stronger.

Abandonment Rate

In advertising and marketing research, the percentage of participants who start but do not finish a survey or any research protocol. Also referred to as “Drop-off Rate” and “Incompletes.”


A notice or announcement promoting a given brand, product, service or message in a public medium, typically with the objective to deliver information, enhance a brand’s reputation and/or to persuade people to buy. These can exist in various formats depending on the platform in which they live.

Ad Compression

In advertising and marketing, the process of developing a shorter form ad through the “cut down” of a longer form ad.  The goal is to maximize impact and effectiveness of the shorter form ad while taking advantage of media savings often seen from the purchase of shorter form ad slots. Additionally, companies are using this process to address the rise in popularity of digital and mobile advertising.

Ad Concept Testing

A method of gauging consumers’ reactions to the underlying concept for an ad or advertising campaign. In ad concept testing, consumers are typically exposed to animatics (see “Animatics”), storyboards, or short descriptions of ads, rather than fully produced ads. They are then typically asked a series of questions about the concept, such as whether it is attention-getting, relevant to them, likeable and so forth. (See also “Advertising Concept/Ad Concept).”

Ad Hoc Market Research

A project undertaken to answer questions about a specific marketing problem at a specific point in time, as opposed to a tracking study or a syndicated study.

Ad Performance

A measure of the effectiveness of an ad or advertising campaign in the marketplace. Examples include sales lift, increased impressions, click-through-rate, actions taken, conversions, or increased brand penetration or awareness attributed to the ad. Other types of advertising performance metrics include shifts in desired brand imagery and positive predisposition toward the brand. In media and market research, ad performance is often evaluated using metrics such as “intent to purchase” and brand consideration. See “Purchase Intent”.

Ad Prototype

An early stage of an ad. This could refer to multiple ad formats, including an animatic for video, pre-press proof for print or an early stage design of a digital ad.

Ad Recall

The ability of consumers to remember or correctly describe an ad, often expressed as a percentage. Used as an indicator of reach, attention, retention or cognitive engagement. Used after controlled exposure for pretesting, or after exposure occurring in market.  Ad recall is typically one of several key measures in advertising testing, including persuasion and diagnostic measures of engagement.

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