Whether you’re in the process of creating a new product or trying to find a tagline for you next big marketing campaign, testing the waters is a pivotal step. After all, you wouldn’t want to shell out thousands of dollars on developing a product or campaign only to find out that people don’t have a need for it.

4485115401_b49ef383b8_oThere a number of market research methods that you can use to assess the market validity of your prospective product.  Common practices include conducting focus groups, surveys, or in-depth interviews to test ideas. However, while the above-mentioned tactics are effective in gathering data, they can often be time consuming, not to mention expensive.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time or budget to conduct elaborate studies, then consider using PPC advertising as your market research tool. Not only is it easy to set up, it’s also very cost-effective, because you’ll be able to control how much you spend on your campaigns.

On to PPC market research

Tim Ferriss, author of the best-selling book The 4 Hour Workweek, was one of the first people to popularize the use of PPC for market research. According to him, when he was choosing the title for his book, he decided to use Google AdWords to A/B test various titles. He created several text ads with different headlines and tracked the CTR of each ad. In the end, the ad with the headline “The 4 Hour Workweek” received the most clicks, and that’s how it ended up being the title of his best-seller.

Ferriss admitted that while it wasn’t his favorite potential title, he ultimately let his target audience make the decision.
Similarly, Internet Marketing expert Leevi Romanik also used the same technique to check if there was a market for his e-book. Take note that at this point, he hadn’t even begun writing the book yet; he only had a rough idea at that time and wanted to check if there was an audience for it.

To test his idea, Romanik created a sales page for the potential book, complete with a BUY button. He then set up PPC ads that led to that sales page. When people checked out the site and clicked the buy button, they were taken to a page where they would have to enter their email address, and each email submission was counted as a hypothetical sale. (Since there wasn’t a real product yet, no official transaction actually took place. When users submitted their email address, they were told that the servers were down and the book was unavailable.)

After about a week of tracking his “sales”, Romanik deduced that he “had enough potential sales to justify spending more time and money on the project” so went ahead and wrote the book. On the other hand, if his PPC campaign generated little to no hypothetical sales, then we would’ve moved on to a new idea and not have wasted time and money writing a book that wouldn’t sell in the first place.

Test, test, test

So many products fail because the people behind them didn’t bother to test the market first. Don’t make the same mistake. Research and test your target market before moving forward. Doing so will give you valuable insights and allow you to validate your ideas. And the best part is that it can be as easy as setting up a simple and affordable PPC ad campaign.

Author Bio: Francesca StaAna is from AdMedia, an online ad network that connects advertisers to consumers through a number of innovative products such as retargeting advertising, affiliate programs, pay per click advertising, and more.