Lately many research agencies have been introducing digital pre-testing opportunities. You can test your campaign creative, whether it is a display ad or Facebook post. While it is lucrative for those research agencies, it is actually utter lunacy for the brands.
The main problem is that this testing does not happen in the real environment. People are too involved in the process and read too much into it. Focus groups are already killing any creativity and cut-through in TV ads. Soon the same will happen to digital assets.
It also doesn’t make any sense as you can test digital in real marketplace. With TV it is harder to test different creative, whereas the main advantage in digital channels is the real-time optimization. You don´t need to guess or academically discuss what creative works the best. Just put the different creative solutions in Google display network with smaller budget and it automatically starts favor what works the best. I remember when we had to do A/B testing manually; nowadays networks do it automatically for you. When you launch the campaign, that is when the real work starts.
Testing & optimizing is really important for brands. Testing digital assets in isolation is expensive way of getting results that you would get with the fraction of the price in the actual environment. So instead of wasting your money on digital pre-testing, give more money to your agency to produce more assets and to test out different alternatives in the real world not in the focus group –altered reality.