Creative Testing

Change Research can integrate creative testing into any poll as a cost-effective effective way to understand how respondents react to content before investing significantly in mailers and digital/TV/radio ads. Surveys can feature multiple videos, radio spots, and images, giving you an opportunity to examine how control and experimental groups respond to a variety of content through A/B testing.

Read about how our clients have used creative testing to drive smarter financial decisions:

US Representative donna shalala

Change Research partnered with former Congresswoman Donna Shalala on a challenging re-election campaign against an inexperienced but popular Republican challenger, journalist Maria Elvira Salazar, in Florida’s heavily Latinx 27th Congressional District. In October 2020, Change Research first tested two pro-Shalala videos, in both English and Spanish. The first video, “Four More Years”, focused on statements made by her opponent about President Trump. The second video, “Wrong Person”, held Salazar accountable for her fiscal irresponsibility and tax fraud. Respondents were randomly shown either video. The poll found an overall strong and signficiant positive effect of both videos in Shalala’s favor. Prior to showing the videos, Shalala began up by 10 points. While the first video increased the favorability of the opponent more, both caused a 5 point shift in the ballot, to +15. Ultimately, Shalala’s campaign was unable to overcome a surge of Cuban-American and Republican voters in Miami-Dade County who turned out in a wave to vote for Trump.

Black Lives Matter

In the fall of 2020, Change Research worked with Black Lives Matter on the development of a media and communications campaign, “Dear White People,” that aimed to more effectively target, engage, and persuade white suburban audiences. We conducted creative testing of 30- and 60-second digital spots that evaluated public opinion towards universal family-oriented themes, such as parenthood, childhood, and adolescence, that strove to create more empathy from white residents towards the Black Lives Matter movement.

Immigration Hub

In 2018, Change Research examined how effective 3 immigration-related videos were in terms of convincing voters to elect Democratic challenger Jason Crow in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District through a series of a/b tests. The first video, which was released on Twitter by President Trump called “Make America Safe Again”, the second video featured a US Army veteran extolling the value of immigrants in the armed forces, and a third video criticized the record of the Republican incumbent, Mike Coffman, on immigration bills.

Change Research’s poll found that a majority of voters were less likely to support the Trump Administration’s immigration policies after the first video was released on Twitter, and half of the voters expressed serious doubts about re-electing Coffman after seeing the third video. Both the first and third videos were especially effective with minority voters. However, the second video, in which a veteran described his experience serving with fellow soldiers who also happened to be immigrants, was most effective in persuading voters not to support policies or politicians associated with the Trump Administration. Furthermore, it was the only video that significantly impacted white voters’ likelihood to support Coffman. Crow went on to narrowly defeat Coffman in the general election.

In 2020, partnered with the Immigration Hub again in the final days of the US Senate campaign in Michigan in order to understand the impact of Republican attacks on Senator Gary Peters’s immigrant-friendly positions. The poll featured an anti-Trump video, “A Divided America is not America”, which highlighted Trump’s lies about immigration, and an anti-Peters video that showed how Peters voted with radical liberals to protect sanctuary cities. We found that Peters’ favorability decreased following the videos, and that his lead decreased by one percentage point, suggesting that the anti-Peters video had indeed hurt Peters. Peters went on to narrowly win his reelection campaign against Republican challenger John James.

“We tested multiple video ads in different swing districts and states to identify and test the most effective pro-immigration visuals and messages that appealed to independents.”

Beatriz Lopez

Communications Director, The Immigration Hub

Ned Lamont Governor of Connecticut

In the remaining few weeks of the Ned for CT campaign, Change Research tested television ads to help inform a messaging strategy in a tightening race against Republican Bob Stefanowski.

Insights: The Lamont ad attacking Stefanowski for his ties to Trump proved extremely effective at mobilizing voters against Stefanowski, and we advised the campaign to highlight this in the remaining few weeks, which was successful.

“Change Research successfully predicted victory within 0.5 percentage points. Change Research allowed us the ability to actually show voters the videos and get their real-time feedback. In addition to the poll being increasingly time & cost efficient, the ability to test TV ads was critical.”

Emily Lamont

Senior Advisor, Ned for CT

Betty Yee State Controller of California

We tested four video ads with Fight Back California in support of the Democratic incumbent, Controller Yee.

Insights: The ads were effective in moving tentative Yee supporters toward firm support. One video was shown to be less effective than the other three, while those three increased the overall number of Yee supporters, the other one had almost no effect.

Phil Weiser Attorney General of Colorado

In the closing two weeks before election day, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) ran an ad attacking Weiser for being personally responsible for the release of a child molestor. The ad even closed with an arrest mugshot of the person next to Weiser’s name. We tested this ad, along with two possible responses to it.

Insights: The RAGA ad turned out to have limited impact in such a polarized political environment. Weiser had a small, but significant lead at the time, and the ad moved few people to oppose him. The counter ad linking the Republican candidate to Donald Trump effectively neutralized the race, and Weiser went on to win by 6.5 points – close to the margin we had in our final poll.

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