How good is your Competitive Intelligence? Do your Ads Measure up Creatively to your Competitors'?

It is rare for an advertiser to measure its advertising creative performance compared to its competitive set, but it can be critically important to do so.  Most companies know how a new ad creative compares to its own historical creative.  But if that new creative is 5% better than its prior campaign, but 10% below its competition, how does that change one’s prediction of success?

Marketing and advertising professionals are pretty good at collecting competitor data on  media spend, digital progress and copies of ads themselves.  However, it is much more difficult to get hold of advertising effectiveness data for competitors.  Unless they subscribe to a syndicated creative testing program, they can’t fully know which campaigns are working, and which aren’t.

Competitive Intelligence - Eyes

Norms Critical for Competitive Intelligence

Creative Testing provides in-depth scores on a variety of KPIs, and a service like ABX also provides an aggregated and proprietary index.  When ad scores are high, one may feel like celebrating.  But, is it REALLY good if it has not been benchmarked in some way?

Most advertising effectiveness measurement firms have norms of some kind against which one can compare.  The definition of an advertising “norm” is the average score for other ads tested in similar ways.  They are essentially the “normal” outcome expected, and show whether or not a result is better, worse or about the same when compared to others.

Many types of norms exist when evaluating ads such as: Industry, Medium; Length of TV or Radio spot; Country; Digital Type; and more.   Depending on your category, you’ll want competitive intelligence in Fast Food, Restaurants, Personal Care, Retail, Consumer Intelligence, Insurance, Telecom, Household, and so on.  That data is available for any needed industry.  

Accuracy of norms has been a problem in the industry because custom research firms are forced to use ads they’ve measured in the past for other clients which may, or may not, relate well to the current clients’ needs.  In addition, those norms are based on only pre-tested ads, many of which are experimental and don’t reflect the norms of ads that are actually put into the marketplace. Custom pre-testing is a “work-for-hire,” so the data is owned by the advertiser and comparisons against competitors are not available.  Most clients don’t know to ask for details about a research supplier’s norms before they are hired.

Industry Norms

Everyone knows that creative testing norms differ by industry, but probably not by degree.  But ABX has tested enough ads across all media types to get a true bird’s eye view (365,000+).  The chart below shows 25,000 Ads by Industry, designating which are Fair and which are Poor.  Good ads are NOT shown on this chart.  Clearly, Alcoholic Beverages, Financial Services and Banking ads score the lowest, and Restaurants, Household and Food ads score the highest.

So, comparing one’s ads to one’s industry norm is crucial since it may be a high-scoring industry, or a low-scoring industry, and it’s impossible to really evaluate competitive advertising success without the contextual reference.   

Using Insights from Competitive Advertising Intelligence

If your measurement provider has a rich array of competitive advertising creative, here’s how to use it:

  • Give your creative team access to the competitive ads for ideation. They should be able to search by KPI, such as Clear Brand or Purchase, and find ads that did well in those areas.  Knowing which creative constructs work and which are failures provides strong guidance for new creative.  All too often we have seen a creative team presume their current campaign is working and are developing new constructs based on poor performing precedents.
  • Check competitive results when new campaigns are launched to see if they are likely to 
    succeed. If this is done early enough, it is possible to blunt their efforts by launching something even better yourself. 
  • Build regular creative recaps into your process. Some of the most successful advertisers review new ads every day and include a creative review with every management report. 
Stuck inside the box Depositphotos_48129265_xl-2015

ABX’s goal is to help our clients rise above the cluttered media landscape by having ABX Scores that are not only above the average ABX Score across all categories, but to outperform their competitors in-market ads at any given time.  Because clients will have results on how their newly launched ads are performing within 24 – 48 hours,  At any point in time, clients can run numerous automated report as illustrated in the case study below using various criteria to get a quick review on how they are performing based on the selected criteria to make changes both in-market and after the fact for continuous learning and increased ROI and ROAS. 

Case Study - Walmart vs Target Q4 2022

In this case study, we will show a few examples of the types of insights that are available through the ABX syndicated platform to evaluate the effectiveness of Walmart vs Target ads during Q4 2022 at both a granular and broad level.

Waterfall Charts

Below you are able to quickly view how 350+ Walmart & Target ads performed during Q4 2022 across media types and channels at a high level (average ABX Index Score) and detailed view (ABX Index Score for every ad).  These are live charts, allowing you to click and drill down for additional info on every ad.  Every dot on the detail report represents an ad tested.  These Waterfall charts also gives you quick view as to when and where your competitors are advertising.

When you look at the average scores, the difference between both brands are very close, with the exception for print.  But, when we look at the detailed report, for print, 3 ads were tested for Walmart and 1 ad for Target.  Where there is a major difference in ABX Index scores is when you look at detailed report for the individual TV and Internet/Online ads.  

For Internet/Online nearly half of the ads were underperforming in their category. While Walmart had the overall highest average ABX Index Score, they also had the lowest performing ad.  For Internet/Online, the average ABX Index Score across All Categories  = 105, Retail/Department Stores = 100.

When we look at the TV ads, Target has the overall highest average ABX Index Score, with Walmart having a number of ads that had the lowest ABX Score.  The average ABX score for TV across All Categories = 107, and for Retail/Department Stores = 100.   

Walmart vs Target Average ABX Scores
Walmart vs Target Average ABX Scores
Walmart vs Target Individual Ad ABX Scores
Walmart vs Target Individual Ad ABX Scores

Below are two Walmart & Target detailed Black Friday, 15 second TV Ad Reports.  Again they were automatically generated 24 – 48 hours of the ads breaking into the marketplace, to give you the ability to make changes to your live campaign versus after the fact.  While in the dashboard you can view the actual ads.  Walmart’s ABX Score was slightly higher with a score of 113.  You can look at the individual KPI scores for additional info.  Walmart’s Call To Action scores were overall higher.  Verbatims would have also been available for a syndicated client. 

Now let’s have a quick comparison between two Black Friday 15 second TV ads using ABX’s Comparison Chart.  The Comparison chart allows you to compare individual KPIs between up to 5 ads.  The KPIs ABX uses below are the default KPIs that have proven to correlate with sales and help increase sales lift.  Clients, have the ability to have KPIs that are important to their business added.

Target vs Walmart Comparison Chart

Jeff Schamel

Vice President, Operations

Jeff Schamel Directs Operations for ABX with Experience from IPSOS and P&G

Jeff has more than 25 years of market research experience including project management, client service, operations, production and sales.

Before joining the ABX Senior Management team, Jeff was a Senior Account Manager at Ipsos, working with Procter & Gamble and other client assignments. Prior to that, he was Senior Project Manager for Opinion One, where he was responsible for guiding the company’s online, mall and other initiatives for eight years.

Jeff began his market research career with Cooper Research while participating in the Professional Practice Program at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon graduating with his BS in Marketing and Management, Jeff led a team of data analysts as Group Manager at Matrixx Marketing Research (now Concentrix).

Jeff’s broad in-depth marketing research experiences enable him to bring a unique perspective to directing operations that creates effective and efficient environments to support a wide range of client activities.  Having come up in the industry alongside the advent and progression of online interviewing, he has a unique perspective on the benefits and challenges of conducting quality research resulting in meaningful results.

Jeff considers himself an amateur music historian and sports enthusiast, as well as a family man, who takes advantage of the many outdoor activities in his community including biking, hiking, kayaking and swimming.

Dr. Peter Moomaw

Co-Founder, Vice President, Development

Peter is the primary developer of operations technology and data analysis. As a chief visionary on the Research and Development team, Peter works to generate innovative ideas for the continued development of processes and protocols.

Peter brings 17+ years’ experience in software development in the market research industry. He was previously at Opinion One, where he was integral in the development of research software systems covering a number of areas.

Peter has a BA in Mathematics, a BS in Physics, and a PhD in Physics, all from the University Cincinnati.

Martin Geraghty
Martin Geraghty

Vice President, Client Services

Geraghty Brings Experience from Roper Starch, GfK, MRI and IPSOS to ABX

Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the market research space including business development, methodology, product design, operations, client service, analysis and sales. He is a member the ABX Management Group with both client-service and operational responsibilities. Before joining ABX, Martin held senior management positions at Roper Starch Worldwide, GfK, MRI (Mediamark Research) and Ipsos. At Ipsos, he managed client service covering all aspects of the research process including research design. He managed the development and implementation of several brand and advertising measurement programs across a broad range of business sectors, helping clients maximize marketing objectives and return on investment. Prior to joining Ipsos, Martin was Vice President at MRI and was involved in business development, day-to-day management and long-term planning and growth for syndicated and custom programs. He also developed and updated the organization’s operational infrastructure to bring new and improved measurements to the marketplace. Before joining MRI, Martin was a Vice President of Operations at GfK. He managed researchers developing programs to monitor and improve methodologies. He played a key role in overseeing profit responsibility of client programs. Prior to his role at GfK, he was Vice President of Research and Operations at Roper Starch Worldwide.
Michael Alf

Co-Founder Ocucom and ABX, Vice President, Software Development

Michael Alf Brings 12 Years’ Software Engineering in the Market Research Industry

Michael is one Founders of Ocucom, of which ABX is a division, and has over 12 years’ of software engineering experience in the market research industry. As a Lead Software Engineer with Ocucom, he brings a unique blend of a technological background along with hands-on market research experience. Michael specializes in providing custom software solutions utilizing Ocucom’s dynamic software platform to address unique client needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Prior to starting with Ocucom, Michael was a senior software engineer at Opinion One in Cincinnati, where he was one of the principal architects of the OASIS 2 Survey Software Package. He also played a key role in developing a licensable solution to bring to the market place as well as handling the logistics of on-site training and support of end-client users.

Michael obtained his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Greg Tunstill

Co-Founder, Chief Information Officer

Greg Tunstill Leads the Creation of ABX Communications Tools

Greg Tunstill, a founder of ABX, is the Chief Information Officer responsible for ABX’s technical infrastructure and maintenance. He also leads the design and development of ABX’s communications tools, a critical component of its technology services.

Prior to joining ABX, Greg was Director of Network Operations of Opinion One since its inception in 1992. He designed and developed the communications systems that were the core of its data collection networks and was responsible for continuing development and implementation of information technologies. Prior to his position at Opinion One, he designed inventory control and expert systems for BellSouth field offices and worked as a consultant and independent contractor. In 1991 he joined Americom Research as a systems engineer where he advanced to Director of Network Operations and met members of the team that formed Opinion One.

Greg is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

Julian Brown

Chief Technology Officer

Julian Brown is an ABX Founder and Chief Visionary for Strategic Planning

Julian brings 20+ years of software engineering and market research experience to ABX. As one of the Founders and in his position as Chief Technology Officer, Julian is the chief visionary responsible for strategic planning and development.

His primary day to day roles include management of software development, oversight of survey production, and lead architect for custom software development projects. As the principal technology architect, Julian adapts emerging technologies for use in market research. He is responsible for maintaining the “continuous development” philosophy.

Before becoming one of the Founders, Julian was Vice President, Software Engineering at Opinion One. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and development of Opinion One’s core technology and licensing products.

Prior to Opinion One, Julian worked for Americom Research, starting as a Software Engineer and progressing to Director, Software Development. While at Americom Research, Julian pioneered the design and creation of one of the market research industry’s first fully interactive computer-aided interviewing suites.

Julian received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Middle Tennessee State University.

Gary Getto


A Pioneer in Measuring Across all Media Types

Gary has an extensive background in product development, strategic planning, and sales/marketing. He is a frequent speaker to the advertising, marketing, and public relations communities.

Gary is a pioneer in efforts to measure and analyze the combined impact of news coverage, social media, and advertising communications on key business metrics, such as sales or product preferences, with ground-breaking work linking communications activity to business outcomes. He was also one of the first to apply artificial intelligence to better understand how communications impacts consumer behavior.

As part of these pioneering integrated measurements, the need to benchmark every ad and build a comprehensive database of advertising performance metrics for evaluating all advertising creative became clear. Gary has been part of the ABX management group that developed the methodology, technology, and criteria for measuring advertising performance globally, and at scale, in an affordable manner. 

Now Gary and all ABX partners work with communications leaders across a diverse set of industries to expand that understanding by incorporating the first-ever Gender Equality Index™, creative measurement solutions for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out-of-country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit™, Gaming, Audio and more.

Gary holds a B.S., in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and a Masters in Management Science from Stevens Institute of Technology.

J. J. Klein​

Chairman & CEO

Developing Valid and Reliable Information through Syndicated and Custom Research

JJ Klein has devoted his entire career to developing more valid and reliable information through syndicated and custom longitudinal research programs for Fortune 500 companies. This extensive knowledge base enabled him to create and develop ABX, which now offers the most accurate normative database for advertising effectiveness measurement in the marketplace.

JJ brings more than 35 years of marketing, research, consulting, and technology experience in designing and developing methodologies and programs for long-term growth. He has exceptional strength in domestic and international new business development, strategic planning, and identifying and tracking consumer, retail, and industry trends.

Leadership in Top Global Research Firms

Early in his career, after attending City University in New York as a math and science major, JJ joined Simmons Market Research Bureau as a Project Director. Over time, he rose to Associate Executive Vice President. Among his accomplishments, JJ created the first online interactive data analysis and delivery system for agencies, media, institutions, client, and service companies.  

JJ and Bill Simmons then founded a new venture …Three Sigma Research Center. It was here that JJ, Chief Operating Officer, created the first major syndicated rating system for Newspapers in the U.S., which later became the Scarborough Report. Three Sigma Research was eventually sold back to Simmons; Simmons sold it to Scarborough; and then Scarborough was acquired by Nielsen.

Following the sale of Three Sigma, JJ joined Audits & Surveys Worldwide as a principal leading the sales tracking and market share audits for a broad range of retail and service establishments both domestically and internationally. Following the acquisition of Audits & Surveys by GfK, JJ joined Roper Starch as Executive Director, reporting directly to the Chairman.

Creation and Development of Ocucom™ and ABX™

In 2004, as he continued his industry visionary travels, all of JJ’s experience came together as he tackled new solutions for market research in the Internet age. He and four partners founded Ocucom™ and invented a research-proven, respondent-oriented Ocular™ approach to internet sampling and multi-modal interviewing methodology. For the first time, respondents could answer text-based questions within a visual communication world where the computer screen was the interviewer/communicator. Inventions continued such as Ocucom’s PreCast™, the first long-form video viewing solution in the industry.

Also, during this time, JJ’s early leadership in internet research methodology caught the eye of top-tier global research competitors. He ended up designing methodologies for their online survey capabilities.

Then, in early 2012, he formed ABX™ as an outgrowth of Ocucom. JJ had conceived the idea for ABX some 15 years prior but had to wait for internet maturation and online panel/sampling companies to evolve. ABX partners focused on JJ’s ABX concept and methodology by building an infrastructure and a 5-year formative database before opening to the market in 2018. The new company offered the first high-quality Ocular research system for all ads in all media types with detailed, never-before analytics; the first syndicated, all-media type ad effectiveness platform; results in 24-to-48 hours on dashboard, and significantly lower costs. At ABX, as at Ocucom, inventions have continued such as the expansion of the ABX syndicated program into the first-ever global solution, and the first Gender Equality Index™. Solutions have expanded to include creative measurement for ESG, Diversity & Inclusion, Ethnicities (in and out of country), Product Placement/Integration, Brand Fit, Gaming, Audio, and more.

A Career Devoted to Validity and Reliability in Market Research

JJ’s background brings together an extremely unique blend of extensive experience in designing and developing global and regional longitudinal research programs. His accomplishments include the design and initiation of programs and methods that produce more valid and reliable information. They also include contributions to the market research profession through association membership, speaking, writing, and presenting.

Like Nielsen for TV, Arbitron for Radio, and MRI for Magazine, JJ’s original design for the newspaper program continues as the Scarborough Report ratings standard for Newspaper.  Today, JJ leads ABX as a syndicated and custom research service for ad effectiveness and gender equality, which have quickly become the gold standards of their own.

Angela Jeffrey, APR

Vice President, Brand Management

National Award-Winning Veteran of Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing

Angela is an internationally known speaker and national award-winning veteran of public relations, advertising and marketing.  She has been a teacher and leader in the use of metrics to measure communications impact for over 20 years, especially at the intersection of PR and Advertising.

Angela is primarily responsible for all ABX marketing efforts, and for projects that involve PR or social media measurement. She is the primary driver of our collaboration with the prestigious Institute for Public Relations as we develop methods to measure the impact of PR and social media on advertising effectiveness.

Prior to joining ABX, Angela was Strategy Director at Salience Insight, (now CARMA), a global provider of PR effectiveness measurement. Previously, she was a Vice President at Surveillance Data, Inc., an international analytics powerhouse that specializes in predictive modeling. Angela continued as a key leader upon the sale of her division to VMS and helped develop Vantage, with Gary Getto, the first platform to measure the combined impact of PR and Advertising.

Angela graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a BFA in Journalism and BBA in Marketing.



Diane Light Waight

Vice President, Business Development

Diane Light Waight handles Sales, Business Development, and Marketing for ABX

Diane has 20+ years of experience helping Marketing, Advertising, and PR decision-makers at global brands, media companies, and agencies increase their ROI by connecting and authentically engaging their target customers through Sales, Business Development. MarTech, AdTech, Big Data, Market Research, SaaS, eCommerce, and Integrated Marketing.

She is passionate about her family, entertainment, health & wellness, empowering women, and environmental sustainability.