Concept Testing: What It Is, Why It Matters, & How To Do It


Why run a concept test? Because over 30,000 new products are introduced every year, and 95% fail (HBR) - That’s why concept testing is critical.

Running a concept test survey may be one of the smartest business decisions you ever make. With over 28,000 new products failing each year, a simple but powerful concept test survey can give you the initial insight you need to run with your idea or if you should run away from your idea altogether.

Whether you’re looking for concept validation for a new product to determine its market viability or you’re an established business looking for consumer opinion about a new feature idea. Concept testing is critical to your long-term chances of success.

If your idea is for a new product, new logo, a new advertisement, or something else, getting some quick consumer feedback can go a long way in preventing disappointment at best and financial ruin at worst.

And in today’s digital world, you can get consumer opinions about your idea in minutes instead of days. Plus, it doesn’t have to drain your marketing budget like it used to. More on this later.

In this post, we’ll cover:

What Is Concept Testing (and what it’s not)?

Simply stated, concept testing is opinion gathering. You’re asking your target audience questions about your new product, logo, price, product feature, or any other idea you might have to gauge whether there is interest or not. Dig deeper, and you’ll find that concept testing is early-stage market research. It's gathering market insights to help inform you about whether you should sink more money into your idea or not.

Concept testing IS NOT asking family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors what they think about your new koozie beer bong Eiffel tower hat. It’s also not waiting until after your idea is in Product Development to go find out if you actually have a good idea or not (unfortunately, it happens).

Why Is Concept Testing Important?

Concept testing is important because it’s where you learn from real everyday consumers and potential customers whether you should even consider bringing your idea to market or not. It prevents you from wasting time, money, and resources on something that should have never been brought to market in the first place. Or conversely, a concept test can tell you that you might have a million-dollar idea on your hands (potentially).

Ultimately, consumer opinions at scale can tell you whether your idea is likely destined to be one of the 28,500 products that fail each year or whether there is a market fit for your product and that it has a fighting chance to be one of the lucky 5% that succeed.

Types Of Concept Testing

  • Product Concept Testing - when you want to test the idea of a product or service, including its features, you’ll want to create a product concept survey.
  • Logo Testing - want to see if the logo for your rebranding resonates or if your new business logo connects with your audience? Create a logo concept survey.
  • Packaging Concept Testing - see how people react to a new packaging concept or present multiple packaging concepts to find the best choice by conducting a packaging concept survey.
  • Ad Testing - want to find out which ad concept will grab your audience's attention & move them to action before you dedicate your marketing budget to it? Create an ad concept survey.
  • Messaging Testing - so you think you’ve got the perfect marketing or sales message? Create a messaging concept survey to find out and make sure it resonates with your target audience.
  • More Concept Tests - there are many other types of surveys you could run to get consumer insights (like website/landing page testing or pricing/promotional testing) but we’ve shared a few of the most common ones.

Benefits Of Concept Testing

You’ve likely had, or surely know someone who has had, that idea about a new product that’s gonna be the next best thing since sliced bread. Or a new logo redesign that’s gonna make everyone’s eyes pop out and set the marketing world on fire. And that gut feeling that it just can’t miss - it’s a no-brainer - EVERYONE will want it!

But whether it’s for your own peace of mind or your business partner’s, a quick concept test can provide you with all the data you need to validate your idea or debunk it. The benefit of concept testing can’t be overstated. It can prevent you from blowing your life savings on a bad idea or shows signs that it might be worth venturing out to seek capital to fund your amazing idea.

Bottom line, concept testing gives you the cold hard data you need to make smart, well-informed decisions about whether your idea is a ‘Go’ or ‘No Go’ idea.

How Concept Testing Fits With Market Research

Before you can test the viability of your concept, you have to have a concept first. That starts with having an idea - imagine that? Then you want to run it through an idea screening test to vet and evaluate your idea which usually consists of set criteria like relevance, constraints, budgets, value, risks, feasibility, and more. Only after you’ve screened your idea do you then move on to concept testing.

As you can see in the below image, concept testing comes before all the heavy lifting of market strategy, product development, market testing, and market entry.

Where Concept Testing Fits Into The Product Development and Concept Testing Flow ChartConcept testing and the preceding stages all require minimal time, effort, and capital when compared to the stages proceeding with concept testing. That’s why this stage is such a pivotal point in the development process. It’s when you find out if you’re about to roll up your sleeves and get to work or if you declare it’s back to the drawing board.

Concept Testing Questions To Ask In Your Survey

You’ve likely heard the phrase, garbage in - garbage out. That concept certainly applies to creating a concept testing survey. So it’s important to think through what exactly you want to get out of your survey. Document what your goal is before creating your questions so you have a clear, focused approach to creating your survey.

You want to ask questions that will inform you about:

  • Uniqueness - Example: Have you ever seen or purchased a product like this in the past?
  • Appeal - Example: Have you ever seen or purchased a product like this in the past?
  • Most and least-liked attributes
  • Likelihood to buy
  • Expected price

NOTE: It’s critical that you do not ask questions that lead your respondents to an answer that you’re hoping for. For example, ‘These boots are a bit expensive but you’d buy them if money wasn’t an issue, right?’ Ok, that may be a bit over the top, but you get the point. Remember, the goal is to ultimately determine if you have an idea worth financial investment or if everyone is telling you to drop it and run.

Use The Likert Scale Judiciously

The Likert scale is perhaps the most popular type of survey question. And for good reason. Compared to ‘Yes/No’ questions, the Likert scale gives you a much better indication of what your target audience thinks of your idea. 

The Likert survey question uses a 5 to 7- points scale that ranges from one extreme to the other. For example, a Likert survey question about a product idea might look like this:

Likert Question Example to Include in Concept Testing Surveys

You can see how a ‘Yes/No’ question can lead you to believe you either have a great idea or a terrible idea. But a Likert question can tell you that most people ‘Somewhat Like It’ and that you might in fact be onto something, but a little more research needs to be done.

Is Concept Testing Expensive?

Depending on the scope and scale of the concept test you’re looking to deploy, you could be looking at anywhere between $2,000 to $3,000, onwards of up to $10,000 to $30,000 if using a market research agency and traditional research methods. Concept testing isn’t inexpensive, but it can pale in comparison to the cost of going through product development all the way to going to market. 

But if you, like most people with a new idea and gut feeling, are looking for an easy way to quickly gather important feedback from your target audience without spending an arm and a leg, you’re in the right place. With TapResearch, you can easily launch your survey within minutes for only $0.10 per question response, with no subscription fee. 

Click here to see how to create a concept testing survey with TapResearch.

Running a concept test sooner than later is critical to discovering whether your idea is worth pursuing or not. From Ad testing to product packaging, to new features and logos, concept testing is a no-brainer in the market research process. And getting consumer opinions about your idea shouldn’t be some big time-consuming ordeal that requires lots of meetings and big-budget allowances. 

Getting consumer opinions should be fast, easy, and affordable. And with TapResearch, that’s exactly what you get. Want to tap into TapResearch’s proprietary global audience network to get instant insights from real, everyday consumers? Get started by creating your FREE account here.