Comparative testing is a win for marketers

Comparative testing is ideal for sorting through your choices and zeroing in on a direction.

Stickybeak Marketing
May 14, 2024

Comparative testing is a win for marketers

You don’t have to be a consumer insights veteran to know the value of consumer testing–not when a third of marketing budgets are wasted on bad briefs or poorly executed campaigns!

So, which approach to testing your stuff is best when you have a lot of ideas and you need a quick dose of direction?

Comparative testing allows you to test marketing materials swiftly and safely, giving you actionable feedback that you and your marketing team can act on straight off the bat. 

Let’s dive into the details of comparative testing and how to build your very own comparative test. Plus, test with Stickybeak and you’ll understand the ‘why’ behind your audience’s preferences.


  • Comparative testing provides marketers with fast feedback, so you can test ideas quickly and understand consumer preferences.
  • Save money and time by getting early feedback on concepts, allowing plenty of time for course corrections.
  • Stickybeak's templates make comparative testing a breeze; no matter whether you’re testing packaging or brand messaging, you can get results in hours, not weeks. 

What exactly is comparative testing? Comparative testing forces a choice between competing options (this could be a product, a message, or a piece of campaign creative). This allows marketers to get a quick read that’s backed up by some quantitative data. 

Why comparative testing (with Stickybeak) is awesome for marketers

  • Comparative testing suits smaller sample sizes and budgets 
  • It mimics how consumers make decisions
  • It offers quick direction when you need it
  • Stickybeak comparison tests help you understand the ‘why’ behind the decision.

Comparative testing suits smaller sample sizes and budgets 

Let’s address the elephant in the room; marketing budgets never stretch as far as we would like (especially in the current climate!). Sometimes, tough decisions need to be made about where to invest resources.

The biggest benefit of regular (Read: early and often) comparative testing is that this investment can save your team a LOT of money further down the line. By getting a quick read on consumers’ preferences for a small upfront fee, you can avoid going in the wrong direction and/or costly campaign flops that set back your brand efforts.

It mimics how consumers make decisions

Think about the last time you went to the supermarket. You’re immediately confronted with hundreds of different brands, labels, and products–all screaming for your attention. 

Trying to vet every option is too overwhelming, so we rely on split-second decision-making. It’s no different when we shop online, browse a social media feed, or choose a show on Netflix.

Comparative testing taps directly into this snap decision-making that happens when we’re faced with multiple options, so you can understand what consumers are most likely to do when they reach the real shelf or scroll on social.

It offers quick direction when you need it

The best consumer feedback shapes your campaign or rebrand as you go, providing validation that your next idea is on the right track.

A comparative test that presents your audience with your shortlist of options makes it fast and seamless to get feedback that you can put into action within a few days–rather than a few months.

Stickybeak helps you understand the ‘why’ behind the decision

Our purchasing decisions are mostly intuitive, based on moods and micro-signals that shape how we perceive products and brands. Knowing what design or concept consumers prefer is only half the story; you also need to know the ‘why’. 

This is why Stickybeak’s comparative test templates don’t just ask customers to choose their favourite option; there’s a follow-up question included so you can go deeper in understanding your audience’s decision-making.

Don’t get overwhelmed by big decisions

As we’ve said many times before, consumer feedback doesn’t need to be reserved for the biggest and scariest of marketing decisions. Testing early and often allows you to break down bold ideas into more approachable, bite-sized chunks that you can take action on - and make changes while you still can!

Our pro tips to get the most out of comparative testing

Test EARLY, not at the last minute

Think about it: If a campaign idea or packaging design is totally off base, wouldn’t you rather know ASAP so you can course correct, rather than waste a whole lot of money and time?

By testing your concepts early,  you can inform their development. In some cases, this won’t mean using comparative testing once, but repeatedly to make sure your ideas hold water.

No standout winner? Don’t panic!

One option not standing out above the rest? This doesn’t necessarily mean something has gone awry. It could indicate that all your options are a hit with your audience! 🏆However, it’s important to dive into your data in more detail.

For example, did one design perform particularly well for a consumer segment?  Weighing up which segment is most important to landing this piece of material will help you further refine your direction. 

Comparative testing is a fantastic tool to align your marketing efforts with how consumers make real-life purchasing decisions. It’s straightforward, focused, and doesn’t require a massive budget or team effort to get underway. In short, comparative testing truly is a busy marketer’s best friend.

Stickybeak makes comparative testing fast and accessible with a range of engaging templates, designed to test everything from packaging designs to product claims. No matter what stage of development you’re at, you can get started today and have results within just a few days (yes, it’s that fast!)

Want to find out what tagline your audience likes the best or which promotional offer they would be most likely to pick? We have you covered! If you’re after something a bit more tailored, reach out for a chat!