Can you predict the success of an advert?

For the sake of our careers, personal lives and even our bank accounts – we all wish that we had access to a fortune-telling crystal ball. Although using magic to predict the future is somewhat implausible, if you’re looking to predict the success of a marketing campaign, data is the next best thing.

In 2022, global ad-spend will reach £527bn, according to one study. That is up from £416bn in 2019, and digital advertising – adverts you see or hear on your computer and mobile phone – now accounts for 62% of the total. Although this is good news for marketing agencies, for less PR savvy businesses, spending money on advertising can often feel like shooting in the dark.

As the American automotive pioneer, Henry Ford once said; “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the problem is, I do not know which half.” This is why businesses are using advanced technology to understand the psychology of their consumer base and maximise the success of their adverts.

In this week’s blog, we’re exploring the science that goes into conceiving the perfect campaign. 

Personalised advertising

Your online activity can be used to construct a comprehensive digital portrait, based on your engagements with social media and search engines. Artificial Intelligence (AI) then takes this information and delivers a predictive service – allowing websites to know what customers want before they do.

In our content-fuelled world, we’re exposed to so many adverts that it’s easy to stop paying attention. To stand out, online personalisation aims to grab attention by tailoring them to your personal interests. AI can specifically alter parts of an advert, depending on the audience, to include different music or other content. 


With so many platforms to showcase adverts, including print, TV and social media – marketers need to provide a unique creative for each medium. To decide what resonates with each sub-section of their consumer base and maximize effectivity, businesses are using high-tech ad-testing software. 

Online testing systems use key analytics to review an individual’s emotional response to being shown an advert. The most advanced solutions connect to a tester’s computer webcam then use facial mapping software to monitor reactions. 

Other systems use a graphical interface for ad-testers to reveal their emotional response to a specific advert. Rather than asking for a review, the software would ask its audience to choose an image of a human head that best represents their reaction to the commercial. 


While technology is certainly a huge asset, the science of human psychology also plays a huge part in deciding what consumers want to see. Emotions are critical to our memory – while factual information is often bland and forgettable, something that moves will be committed to memory with ease. 

The three most powerful emotions are fear, guilt and hope – if brands want to reach customers, they need to focus on the latter of the three. This positive emotional response generated by an advertisement, supersedes the ad’s actual content, and increases the consumer’s chances of buying the product.

Keep it simple

If you’re struggling, taking your brand back to basics is often the best thing you can do. If you focus each of your marketing channels on this aim, there will be less of a need to “predict the future”. 

Focus on creating a clear, unique message that resonates with your target audience. Simple ads should be effective across media types and carry their message clearly whether on a billboard, a television ad, or a website. Think Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan, Cadbury’s drumming gorilla or Apple’s famous “Get a Mac” adverts from 2006 starring Justin Long or John Hodgman.

Stay agile

While technology and analytics are indispensible tools for any advertiser, how you use this data to inform your marketing material is crucial. This is why it’s important to stay agile – don’t get too entrenched in a particular methodology – remember that audience trends are continuously evolving.

Brands must create new content, share it and learn from its performance to strengthen their future strategy. At Cordis, we understand the importance of agility in marketing; over the years, we’ve evolved to encompass various mediums from social media, videography and most recently, virtual and augmented reality.

If you want a strike to chord with your consumer base, get in touch with Cordis today!