From Good to Great: How Copy Testing Can Drive Sales, Engage Audiences, and Build a Strong Brand

Maximize sales and brand impact with effective copy testing techniques. Learn how to engage your audience and drive success.

Reshma Poojary
June 8, 2023
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The difference between good and great can mean everything in the competitive marketing and advertising landscape. It's no longer enough to simply have a decent marketing campaign. To make an impact, you must captivate your audience, drive conversions, and build a strong brand. But how do you achieve that level of greatness? The answer lies in the power of copy testing.

In fact, analyses have shown that companies that invest in copy testing experience an average increase in sales by 19% and a boost in brand awareness by 24%.In this article, we will explore how copy testing can drive sales, engage audiences, and build a strong brand.

What is copy testing?

Copy testing systematically evaluates marketing messages to determine their effectiveness and optimize their impact. It involves testing copy at different stages, from concept development to post-launch analysis. This comprehensive approach ensures that your messaging aligns with your marketing goals, resonates with your audience, and maximizes your chances of success.

Effective copy can engage your audience, increase brand awareness, drive conversions, and boost your return on investment (ROI). It also lets you tap into the preferences, emotions, engagement, attention, and motivations to gain valuable insights into its impact on the consumer behavior of your target market, ensuring that your messaging hits the mark.

What is automated copy testing?

Automated copy testing is a data-driven approach that utilizes technology and software tools to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing or ad copy. It automates the process of gathering feedback, measuring responses, and analyzing data to assess how well the copy resonates with the target audience.

With automated copy testing, marketers can leverage online platforms and software applications to conduct large-scale tests, reach a wider audience, and collect real-time data. These tools often include features such as online surveys, A/B testing capabilities, sentiment analysis, and machine learning algorithms. By automating the copy-testing process, marketers can save time and resources while gaining valuable insights into the performance of their messaging.

Automated copy testing provides quantitative data and metrics that help measure the impact of different copy elements, such as headlines, visuals, and overall messaging. However, it's important to note that while automated copy testing provides valuable insights, it should be supplemented with qualitative feedback and human analysis to ensure a holistic understanding of the copy's impact on the target audience.

What is the process of copy testing?

The process of copy testing involves defining objectives and metrics, selecting a testing methodology, developing test materials, recruiting a sample audience, conducting the testing, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting the results, refining and optimizing the copy, and iterating the testing process for continuous improvement. It is a structured approach that allows marketers to make data-driven decisions and enhance the effectiveness of their messaging.

What are the different types of copy testing?

1. Concept Testing

Concept testing evaluates the overall concept or idea behind the copy. It assesses whether the message resonates with the target audience, aligns with the brand's positioning, and effectively communicates key selling points.

2. Pre-testing

Pre-testing evaluates copy elements such as headlines, taglines, visuals, and overall messaging before deployment. Through surveys, focus groups, and other techniques, pre-testing helps marketers gauge their copy's initial impact and consumer perception, enabling them to make necessary adjustments to enhance its effectiveness.

3. Message Testing

Message testing evaluates the specific messaging elements within the copy, such as headlines, subject, taglines, key benefits, or calls-to-action. It aims to determine the messaging's clarity, persuasiveness, and impact on the target audience.

4. Visual Testing

Visual testing examines the visual elements within the copy, such as images, layout, colors, and typography. It assesses the visual appeal, attention-grabbing ability, and overall aesthetic quality of the copy.

5. Emotional Testing

Emotional testing measures the emotional response evoked by the copy. It seeks to understand how the copy makes the target audience feel, whether it elicits positive emotions, and if it creates a connection with the audience on an emotional level.

6. Media Channel Testing

Media channel testing evaluates the copy's effectiveness across different channels or media platforms. It assesses how well the copy performs in various contexts, such as TV, radio, print, digital, or social media.


7. Post-testing

Post-testing involves evaluating copy after it has been in the market to assess its impact on the target audience. This type of testing helps marketers understand how well their copy performed, measure its impact on key metrics, and identify areas for improvement in future campaigns.

Methods of copy testing

Copy tests are usually conducted using quantitative research methods.

* Consumer Jury

The consumer jury method involves gathering a group of representative consumers who evaluate and provide feedback on the copy. They act as "jurors" and assess the copy based on various criteria. The feedback collected from the consumer jury helps gauge the copy's effectiveness and potential impact on the target audience.

  • Surveys and Questionnaires: Conducting surveys and questionnaires is a standard method of copy testing. Participants are asked to provide feedback and opinions on the copy through structured questions, rating scales, or open-ended responses.
  • Focus Groups: Focus groups involve assembling a small group of individuals who represent the target audience. They are presented with the copy and engage in a guided discussion, sharing their thoughts, perceptions, and suggestions. Focus groups provide qualitative insights and allow in-depth exploration of participants' reactions.

Example: A consumer jury of individuals from the target demographic for a new soft drink product is presented with different versions of the copy, including advertisements and packaging designs. They provide feedback on brand positioning, messaging clarity, visual appeal, and overall product perception.

* Rating Scales

Rating scales involve using a set of predefined scales or questions to collect quantitative data on participants' perceptions of the copy. Based on a numerical scale, participants rate various aspects of the copy, such as message clarity, persuasiveness, likability, or brand recall.

Example: Participants are presented with a series of print advertisements for a new smartphone. They are then asked to rate each ad on a scale of 1 to 10 with regard to its overall appeal, clarity of message, and intention to purchase the product.

* Portfolio Tests

Portfolio tests involve presenting a collection of different advertising copies or concepts to participants. Participants review the portfolio and provide feedback on their overall impressions, preference, and effectiveness of the various options.

  • In-Depth Interviews: In-depth interviews involve one-on-one conversations with participants. It allows a deeper exploration of their attitudes, motivations, and reactions to the copy. This method is beneficial for uncovering detailed feedback and understanding individual perspectives.

Example: A portfolio of different TV commercial storyboards for a clothing brand is presented to participants. They are asked to review each storyboard and provide their opinions on factors such as the storyline, visual style, relevance to the brand, and potential impact on purchase intent.

* Psychological Tests

Psychological tests aim to understand participants' psychological responses and associations with the copy. These tests delve into the subconscious and emotional aspects of the copy's impact on consumers.

  • Eye-Tracking: Eye-tracking technology measures and analyzes participants' eye movements and gaze patterns as they view the copy. It provides insights into which copy elements attract the most visual attention and engagement.

Example: Participants are exposed to a series of print ads for a luxury perfume brand. They are then asked to associate specific emotions or personality traits with each ad, providing insights into the emotional appeal and perceived brand image.

* Physiological Tests

Physiological tests measure participants' physiological responses, such as heart rate, skin conductance, or facial expressions, while they engage with the copy. These measurements provide objective data on participants' subconscious reactions and levels of arousal.

  • Facial Coding: Facial coding technology, also known as facial expression analysis or facial emotion recognition, is an advanced technique that analyzes facial expressions to gain insights into human emotions, reactions, and behavior. It analyzes facial expressions to understand emotional responses to a particular copy or advertisement.

Example: Participants are shown a series of TV commercials for a fitness equipment brand while their heart rate and skin conductance are measured. This data helps determine which commercials generate higher levels of excitement or emotional engagement.

* Sales Tests

Sales tests assess the impact of the copy on actual sales or purchase behavior. This method involves exposing consumers to the copy, tracking their subsequent purchasing decisions, or monitoring sales data to evaluate its effectiveness in driving sales.

Example: A retail store displays two different shelf signage designs for a specific product category. The store tracks the sales of the products associated with each signage design to determine if one design leads to a higher purchase rate.

* Day-After Recall Tests

Day-after recall tests measure participants' ability to recall specific details or messages from the copy after a certain period. Participants are exposed to the copy and asked to recall the key messages, visuals, or brand elements the next day.

Example: Participants view a series of TV commercials for a new breakfast cereal brand and are later asked to recall the brand name, main message, and any memorable visual elements presented in the commercials the following day.

* Field Testing

Field testing involves exposing the copy to the target audience in real-world settings, such as retail stores or digital advertising platforms. Data can be collected through interviews, observations, or tracking mechanisms to evaluate the copy's impact and effectiveness in a natural context.

  • Online Testing: Online platforms and tools can conduct copy testing remotely. Participants can provide feedback on the copy through online surveys, questionnaires, interactive exercises, or digital behavior tracking. Online testing offers convenience and scalability.

Example: A clothing brand has developed a new advertising copy for its latest collection. The copy focuses on promoting their products' unique features, quality, and style. Based on the field testing results, the clothing brand can make informed decisions regarding the advertising copy. They can refine it further, make adjustments based on customer feedback, or implement it on a larger scale across various marketing channels.

How copy testing can drive sales, engage audiences, and build a strong brand.

To get the most out of copy testing and maximize its effectiveness, consider the following strategies:

Optimizing Copy for Sales Conversion

The first step in optimizing the copy for sales conversion is understanding your target audience, gathering customer insights, and creating buyer personas to identify their needs, pain points, and motivations. You can tailor your copy by testing different headlines, value propositions, unique selling points, call to action, and other elements to increase the sales conversion rates. Remember to keep your copy customer-centric, persuasive, and continuously test and refine your messaging to significantly improve your sales performance.

Tailoring Copy for Audience Engagement

Engaging your target audience is a key aspect of successful marketing campaigns. To effectively engage your target audience, it's essential to tailor your copy to their specific needs, preferences, behaviors, demographics, interests, pain points, and motivations. Use these insights to optimize your copy and refine your messaging strategy over time. Engaged audiences are more likely to interact with your brand and become loyal customers.

Strengthening Brand Identity

Brand identity is more than just a logo or visual elements; it encompasses a brand's overall personality, values, and positioning. Copy testing allows you to refine your brand voice, messaging style, visual identity, and tone, consistently reflecting the brand's identity. Testing copy variations evoke different emotions, and businesses can identify which emotional triggers align with their brand identity and resonate with their audience. By refining and optimizing copy based on testing insights, brands can create a powerful and cohesive brand identity that resonates with consumers, builds trust, and sets them apart from competitors.

Leveraging Data and Insights

Copy testing enables marketers to leverage data and insights to refine their messaging and make data-driven optimizations. It allows marketers to experiment with different versions of their messaging, whether in ad campaigns, website content, or social media posts. By testing multiple variations of copy, marketers can collect data on the performance of each version and gain insights into what resonates most with their target audience. Leveraging data and insights, you can create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

Implementing an Effective Copy Testing Process

Establishing an effective process to make the most of copy testing is very important. Start by defining clear objectives for each test and selecting appropriate testing methods such as A/B testing, focus groups, or user surveys. Utilize specialized tools and technologies that facilitate efficient testing, data collection, and analysis. Iteratively refine your copy based on the insights gathered from each testing phase, allowing for continuous improvement.


Survey Design: Ask the right questions to excel copy testing

Asking the right questions during copy testing is crucial to obtain valuable insights and feedback. These are some key considerations to help you ask the right questions:

Objective-Oriented Questions

Align your questions with the objectives of the copy testing. Identify specific areas you want to evaluate, such as message clarity, brand perception, emotional impact, or purchase intent. Frame your questions to gather relevant data and insights related to these objectives.

Example: "How would you rate the clarity of the main message in the copy? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not clear at all and 10 is very clear."

Open-ended Questions

Include open-ended questions that allow participants to provide detailed and descriptive responses. Open-ended questions encourage participants to share their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions, providing rich qualitative insights.

Example: "What are your thoughts on the overall tone and style of the copy? Please elaborate."

Specific Feedback Questions

Ask specific questions about various copy elements, such as the headline, visuals, call-to-action, or value proposition. This helps isolate specific strengths or weaknesses and provides targeted feedback.

Example: "How impactful do you find the headline in capturing your attention and interest? Please explain your answer."

Comparative Questions

Ask participants to compare different versions or variations of the copy to understand their preferences and identify which elements are more effective. This allows you to gather insights into different options' relative strengths and weaknesses.

Example: "Which version of the ad copy do you find more appealing and memorable? Version A or Version B? Please explain your choice."

Emotional Response Questions

Inquire about the emotional response evoked by the copy. Emotions play a significant role in consumer decision-making and engagement. Ask participants about the emotions they experienced and how much the copy elicited them.

Example: "What emotions did you feel while engaging with the copy? Did the copy successfully evoke the desired emotional response?"

Actionability Questions

Assess the participants' likelihood to take action based on the copy, such as purchasing, recommending the product or service, or seeking more information. These questions gauge the effectiveness of the copy in driving desired behaviors.

Example: "After reviewing the copy, how likely are you to consider purchasing the product? Please rate your intent on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is not likely at all and 10 is extremely likely."

Remember to balance quantitative and qualitative questions, encourage honest and unbiased responses, and allow participants to provide additional comments or suggestions. By asking the right questions, you can collect meaningful insights that inform decision-making and help refine your copy effectively.


Things you need to get right in ad copy testing

Creative, targeting, and A/B testing are crucial factors that significantly impact the success of an ad campaign. Let's explore each factor in detail:


The creative element of an ad campaign refers to the design, messaging, and overall presentation of the advertisements. It plays a crucial role in capturing the target audience's attention, interest, and engagement. Here are key aspects of creative execution:

Visual Appeal: The ad should have visually appealing elements such as attractive graphics, colors, and imagery that resonate with the target audience. Eye-catching visuals can grab attention and create a positive impression.

Compelling Message: The copy should deliver a clear, convincing message that resonates with the target audience. It should effectively communicate the brand's unique selling proposition, key benefits, or call to action concisely and persuasively.

Emotional Connection: The ad should evoke emotions that align with the brand and resonate with a target audience. Emotional storytelling or relatable scenarios can help establish a connection, making the ad more memorable and impactful.

Brand Consistency: The creative execution should be consistent with the brand's identity, values, and positioning. A cohesive and consistent brand image helps build trust, credibility, and recognition among the target audience.


Targeting involves identifying and reaching the specific audience that is most likely to be curious about the product or service. It ensures the ad reaches the right people at the right time, increasing the chances of a positive response. Here are key aspects of effective targeting:

Audience Segmentation: Identify and segment the target audience based on relevant characteristics such as demographics, interests, behaviors, or psychographics. This helps tailor the ad content and delivery to specific audience groups.

Relevance: The ad should be relevant to the target audience's needs, preferences, and interests. It should address their pain points, aspirations, or desires, showing how the product or service can fulfill their needs.

Channel Selection: Choose the appropriate channels or platforms to reach the target audience effectively. Consider where the audience spends their time and consumes media, such as social media platforms, online publications, or specific TV channels.

Personalization: Utilize data and technology to personalize the ad experience for individual audience members. Personalized ads that address the audience by name or show relevant content based on their previous interactions can enhance engagement and response rates.

Performance Monitoring: Continuously monitor and analyze the ad campaign's performance to assess its effectiveness in reaching and engaging the target audience. Use relevant metrics such as impressions, click-through rates, conversions, or brand lift to measure the campaign's impact.

By getting the creative and targeting factors right, ad campaigns can effectively capture the target audience's attention, interest, and engagement, leading to increased brand awareness, customer engagement, and, ultimately, campaign success.

A/B Testing

A/B testing compares two ad versions and determines which performs better in achieving your desired objective. Here's how A/B testing helps in ad copy testing:

Performance Comparison: A/B testing enables you to directly compare the performance of two different ad copies. By running both versions simultaneously and measuring key metrics like click-through, conversion, or engagement rates, you can identify which copy is more effective in achieving your goals.

Data-Driven Decision Making: A/B testing provides concrete data and insights to make wise decisions about your ad copy. It eliminates the need for guesswork or dependency solely on subjective opinions. You can make data-driven optimizations and improve your ad copy by analyzing the results.

Iterative Refinement: A/B testing allows you to continuously refine and optimize your ad copy. By testing different variations and learning from the results, you can make incremental improvements to your copy, increasing its effectiveness and performance.

Audience Preferences: A/B testing helps you understand your target audience's preferences and behaviors. By testing various versions of your ad copy, you gain insights into what resonates with the audience, allowing you to tailor your messaging and creative elements to better connect with them.

Cost Efficiency: A/B testing helps you avoid wasting resources on ineffective ad copies. By identifying the most impactful version, you can allocate your advertising budget more efficiently and optimize your return on investment.

Overall, A/B testing empowers you to make data-backed decisions, improve your ad copy's performance, and ultimately drive better results from your advertising efforts.

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Copy testing is a powerful tool that can take your marketing efforts from good to great. You can create compelling marketing campaigns that drive results by optimizing your copy for sales conversion, tailoring it for audience engagement, strengthening your brand identity, and leveraging data-driven insights. Embrace the process of copy testing, refine your messaging, and build a strong brand that resonates with your target audience. With copy testing as a cornerstone of your marketing strategy, you can propel your business to new heights of success.


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Author Bio

Reshma Poojary
Reshma Poojary is a skilled SEO Specialist with over five years of experience driving traffic and leads to web and mobile applications. She is also an experienced content creator dedicated to helping businesses achieve their marketing goals and reach their target audience.

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