Testing Methodologies

Testing Methodologies

Testing should of course ideally happen at various moments in the development of the message: at least once at the moment when the overall “narrative” is being decided and once when the full creative is being developed.

Qualitative research is really the only option here, whether through focus groups discussions or in-depth interview.

To test your message, you need to identify

  • What methodology you will use

You need to decide whether methods like focus groups and interviews are appropriate, or methods like surveys.

  • What you are going to test

Here, you are may be looking to compare different wording,  different images or different messengers.

  • What outcome (of success) you are going to measure

Your framing tasks should provide the basis for this. You should be looking for your messages to be memorable and relatable to your audience, but more importantly, for them to change their attitudes along the lines that you have planned.

  • Who you are going to test

You will of course want to test the message with your target group. Building representative samples is key for this.


In its Discovering the Activation Point guide, Spitfire Strategies recommends trying a “live test”—that is, a trial run of different communications methods and messages to see which works best. You might test out different stories on YouTube and see which gets the most views; different subject lines in your fundraising emails and see which gets the biggest response; or different methods of reaching your target audiences.

In your contexts, what would be the “life test” options that seem the most feasible and effective to you? And why? Running different versions of a video on Youtube and counting the number of views ? Posting different memes on Facebook and counting the number of shares? Monitoring the engagement with different images on Instagram?