InContext not only determined whether the client's print ad would positively impact their sales, but was also able to demonstrate why.

Many companies test their ad copy before investing in a print advertisement to ensure that the impact on product sales would make the ad worthwhile. 

Understanding how consumers’ stated intent compares with their actual shopping behavior would help inform their decision
with more accuracy

Study Design
InContext Solutions designed a virtual store test in parallel with a traditional ad copy test, which includes print ad exposure and an attitudinal survey. Both tests were designed as follows:
  • Control Cell: Exposure to ad with no association to client branding
  • Test Cell: Exposure to client’s ad

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  • Does the print ad measurably increase purchase intent?
  • Does the print ad provide a significant lift in dollar sales?
  • Do consumers who state they will purchase the product actually purchase?

Key Findings

Significantly fewer shoppers who said they would purchase the product  actually bought the product in the store, regardless of which ad they were shown.
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Despite flat penetration across cells, exposure to the ad nearly doubled the client's category dollar share.

Exposure to the ad more than doubled the buy rate for their popcorn product.

While the ad did not increase the number of buyers, it did result in those buyers spending more money on their brand of popcorn.


AF-resultsA brand team could feel confident moving forward with a print ad showing this level of positive sales impact and an increase in their share of the category. While exposure to the client's ad did yield a slight increase in purchase intent, purchase intent was not the most accurate predictor of actual performance.

By conducting an ad copy test with a virtual store, we were able to close the loop to sales and discover the positive impact that the ad could have on the brand's business. A traditional ad copy test alone would have missed out on an opportunity to nearly double the brand's category share. 

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