[Case Study] Ad recall survey

Discover how to measure emotions for ad recall surveys. Learn best practices and solutions for running emotional feedback analysis at scale.

What is an ad recall survey?

Ad recall surveys are a type of market research used to measure likes, dislikes, awareness, and other key performance indicators related to advertising campaigns. It helps to fill the gap on some of the unattainable ancillary metrics that are not found on digital marketing platforms. There are three main approaches to ad recall research: aided awareness, unaided awareness, and blinded approach. Ad recall surveys can include questions about awareness, sentiment, and demographics.

Market researchers share best practices on how to conduct ad recalls, and we particularly recommend the following article:


They provide typical questions of an ad recall survey to include:

  • Which of the following brands are you aware of?
  • Do you remember seeing any advertising for [INSERT BRAND NAME] in the past 3 months?
  • Where did you see or hear the advertising for [INSERT BRAND NAME]? ie. Facebook, TV, radio, etc.
  • [If recalls advertising] What messages or topics do you remember from the advertisement(s)? Please be specific.
  • [If recalls advertising] Did the advertisement mention [INSERT SUBJECT OF AD]?
  • [If recalls advertising] What did you like most about the ad? What did you like about the least about the ad?
  • Other important questions to include are related to demographics. For example, "Which of the following age groups best describes you?" or "In which of the following states do you primarily reside?"

Emotions matter.

Assessing emotional feedback during ad recall surveys is important because it provides insights into how an audience is reacting to an advertisement. It can help a company gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of their ad campaigns and the overall brand perception. It also allows them to identify areas of improvement and take corrective action if needed. Additionally, emotional feedback can provide valuable insights into what resonates with a target audience and what aspects of an ad could be improved.

Ask people about their feelings.

What’s behind the questions if respondents recall the ad, is that it’s important to dive deeper into the underlying feelings of their experience.

First, it’s important to ask people about their emotional feedback on the ad

  1. Ask viewers to rate the overall emotional impact of the ad on a scale of 1-10.
  2. Ask viewers to describe the emotions they felt when viewing the ad, such as amused, inspired, hopeful, etc.
  3. Include questions that ask viewers to recall specific elements of the ad that evoked particular emotions, such as specific scenes, dialogue, or music.
  4. Ask viewers to identify which characters in the ad elicited the most emotion from them.
  5. Ask viewers to rate the level of engagement they felt during the ad, such as how captivated or entertained they felt.
  6. Ask viewers to rate how the ad made them feel about the product or service being advertised.

Some typical questions that you may ask:

  1. How long ago did you see the ad?
  2. How often do you remember seeing the ad?
  3. What do you remember about the product or service featured in the ad?
  4. What message or impression did the ad leave you with?
  5. What emotions did the ad evoke?
  6. Do you remember the brand or company advertised in the ad?
  7. How likely are you to purchase the product or service advertised?
  8. Was the ad engaging to you?
  9. What did you like/dislike about the ad?
  10. What media channel did you see the ad on?

Go beyond declarative.

It is important to compare declarative answers to implicit reactions captured by facial expression recognition when analyzing the emotional feedback of people who remember an ad because facial expressions can provide insight into underlying emotion that may not be articulated in verbal responses. 

People may not always be aware of or able to articulate their emotional responses to an ad, but facial expression recognition can provide an objective measure of the emotional impact of the ad. 

Comparing this measure to the declarative responses can help to provide a fuller picture of the emotional response and help to identify areas of the ad that may have had a particularly strong emotional impact.

Know how people react.

Running emotional feedback based on facial expression recognition while people are watching video ads is important because it allows companies to measure the effectiveness of their ads. 

Knowing the emotional response that an ad elicits from viewers can be a key indicator of whether an ad is successful in achieving its desired effect. It also helps marketers tailor their ads to better engage their target audience.

By understanding the emotions their ads evoke, marketers can craft more effective and memorable campaigns that lead to greater success.

Solutions like VideoFeel help marketers run emotional feedback analysis at scale.

Contact us and we'll be happy to share how to implement such technology in your next ad recall survey!


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