concept test: a research method used to test new ideas before public release

What is Concept Testing?

When you have a new product or marketing campaign, concept testing research is an effective way to test how it will be received before it is released. Concept testing is multifaceted and is utilized in many ways. This type of market research allows for a product, ad campaign, new logo, or creative messaging to be evaluated directly by a target consumer prior to going to market. 

Concept Testing research is a tool used by a wide variety of professionals to validate essential business decisions. This method identifies whether consumers favor a message, concept, campaign, or new product. It can provide the assurance teams need to move forward and allocate the necessary budget for implementation.


Most Common Use Cases for Concept Testing 

  1. Ad Testing
  2. Product Concept Testing
  3. Creative Concept Testing
  4. Video Testing
  5. Message Testing
  6. Package Testing
  7. Name Testing
  8. Logo Testing
  9. Website Design Testing


Concept Testing Research

Concept testing research is different from traditional market research. Its goal is to understand a target audience’s unbiased views on a new concept to understand how viable it is. Concept test questions can also ask for direct consumer feedback on what they are looking for from a product. This type of inquiry can illuminate holes in the marketplace that your brand may not have been aware of. These same consumers can also be utilized to provide feedback on product developments as they happen. 

Concept tests should run anytime a person or organization brings a new idea, campaign, or marketing collateral to market. Marketing, consumer insights, and product teams should all regularly utilize this type of concept testing research. 

Marketing Teams

Concept Testing is a vital tool for any marketing team to implement. With the advent of any new marketing campaign, website, or important piece of collateral, a marketing team should utilize a concept test before launch. It’s a quick and effective way to get data on any project or idea. Concept testing provides clear metrics on the effectiveness of any marketing effort. It can help validate creative decisions by gathering feedback directly from target markets. Marketers should use concept testing before launching a new campaign or major creative decision.

Consumer Insights and Product Development Teams

Concept Tests should be utilized before product releases or when entering new markets or segments. Evaluate product ideas as well as new product concepts. This research can also be used to innovate and improve the look and feel of a product.


How often should I run a concept test?

At a minimum, a test should be run whenever your team is ready to make a creative change. Those who want to stay ahead of the competitive landscape should also consider testing different elements that affect sales and consumer engagement.

While concept tests can be run on a per instance basis, there are many benefits to consistently running this type of research. Teams that are constantly looking to innovate and improve the look and feel of their creative concepts should be engaging in ongoing concept tests. This allows a brand to not only assess marketing concepts but evaluate how their product looks on a shelf, what the user experience is, and consumer perceptions around different types of packaging. A brand should always be running concept tests to remain agile and innovative.

How do you create concept test questions?

There are a handful of ways in which clients use concept testing in their studies to better understand the ideas they are looking to validate. Concept test questions can be asked about likability, uniqueness, quality, value, purchase intent, appeal, believability, etc. Here are some examples:

  • Based on the description, which of the following attributes best describe this [CONCEPT]? Please select all that apply.
  • Based on this [CONCEPT], how much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

When running a concept test on advertising, researchers often use a Call to Action type of question.

  • After viewing this [AD CONCEPT], which of the following are you most likely to do? 
    • Visit website
    • Tell my friends
    • Order online
    • Go to a store
    • Seek more information
    • None of the above

Heat maps can be included in package design/ product tests. 

  • Please click on the part of this concept that is most appealing to you.

If you or your brand is new to writing concept test questions or you don’t have a questionnaire already designed, PureSpectrum has templates that are customizable for any type of concept test. Our account team will finalize the questionnaire and ensure it fits your study’s needs and reaches your target audience.

At PureSpectrum, we offer a flexible engagement model and consultative support to meet your research needs. We combine our expertise with the highest quality sample Marketplace to ensure each research project is a success. Our professional services team is here to support every step of your market research without a subscription.


Are there disadvantages to concept testing?

There are not many disadvantages to concept testing. It’s an inexpensive way to test an idea or campaign before it goes to market. These surveys help brands and marketers try ideas and concepts with their target consumers before spending a large budget executing campaigns. 

However, if concept test questions are poorly designed, they can lead to poor results. Surveys with leading questions, confusing setups, or excessively long LOIs (length of interviews) can have a negative effect on research.  Here’s a great article that details the basics of creating a survey, and as always, the PureSpectrum team is also here to help you write your survey. 


Types of Concept Tests 

Ad Testing

Understand how a message or campaign resonates with your intended audience. Quantitative online surveys can be utilized to test the effectiveness of a single campaign or for A/B Tests. Ad testing can be run for still or video advertisements. 

Product Concept Testing

Identify consumer sentiment on different product features, product ideas, or product concepts. Test different ways to showcase product features and designs. Product concept testing can also include in-home product testing with corresponding online surveys or written essays.

Creative Concept Testing

Survey imagery effectiveness and measure how a static image or web design is perceived. Learn if your creative concept will effectively communicate the intended key message or call to action with your target audience


Test moving video imagery, including videos for marketing purposes, how-to videos, and trailers. Video concept tests uncover effectiveness, clarity, and overall messaging perception. These types of concept test questions can be used to evaluate a single video or be utilized for A/B testing. 

Message Testing

Learn how the target audience perceives written collateral by surveying advertisement taglines, descriptions, and labeling.

Package Testing

Test packaging types as well as package design and delivery. Assess your design’s uniqueness, visual appeal, and favorability. Compare different types of packaging and see what your target audience is most drawn to. 

Name Testing

This concept test is imperative when looking to name or rebrand a product. Test product and company names to see which is most appealing, relevant, and meaningful to your intended audience.

Logo Testing

Need to understand how potential customers will view a new logo? Or, perhaps, you want to know which logo conveys the appropriate message. Online market research surveys are a quick and efficient way to test creative brand concepts and imagery.


If your team is redesigning a website or launching a new iteration, concept testing questions can measure UX effectiveness and A/B test different design options. Sample your target audience and understand the preferred layout and images before a public-facing launch. 

Interested in launching a survey or learning more about our Insights offerings? Reach out to our team below: 


About PureSpectrum 

PureSpectrum offers a complete end-to-end market research and insights platform, helping insights professionals make decisions more efficiently, and faster than ever before. Awarded MR Supplier of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards, PureSpectrum is recognized for industry-leading data quality. PureSpectrum developed the respondent-level scoring system,  PureScore™, and believes their continued success stems from their talent density and dedication to simplicity and quality.

In the few years since its inception, PureSpectrum has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in North America on Deloitte’s Fast 500 since 2020, and ranked for three years in a row on the GRIT Top 50 Most Innovative List and the Inc. 5000 lists.