Incrementality test designs for advertising campaigns by channel

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Here are some common incrementality test designs for measuring the incremental impact of advertising campaigns across different channels:

Paid Search Ads

  • Geo-Holdout Test: Run paid search campaigns in some geographic regions (test group) but hold out and don't run them in other matched geographic regions (control group). Compare conversion metrics between the two groups.
  • Audience Holdout Test: Serve paid search ads to one segment of your audience (test group) but hold out and don't show ads to a matched holdout segment (control group).
  • Public Service Announcement (PSA) Test: Serve your brand's paid search ads to one audience segment (test group) and serve public service ads to a matched control group segment. Compare conversion rates.

Social Media Ads

  • Geo-Holdout Test: Run social media ad campaigns targeting some geographic regions (test) but hold out matched control regions.
  • Audience Holdout Test: Target social ads to one audience segment (test) and hold out a matched control segment.
  • PSA Test: Serve your brand's social ads to a test audience and unrelated public service ads to a matched control audience.

Display/Programmatic Ads

  • Geo-Holdout Test: Run display/programmatic campaigns in some regions (test) and hold out matched control regions.
  • Audience Holdout Test: Serve display/programmatic ads to a test audience segment and hold out a matched control segment.
  • PSA Test: Serve brand display ads to a test audience and public service ads to a matched control audience.

TV/Video Ads

  • Geo-Holdout Test: Air TV/video ad campaigns in some designated marketing areas (DMAs) as the test group and hold out matched control DMAs.
  • Audience Holdout Test: For digital video, serve ads to a test audience segment and hold out a matched control segment.
The key for any incrementality test is to create well-matched test and control groups that are statistically similar except for the advertising exposure being tested. This isolates the true incremental impact of the ad campaign.
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