Methods of Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

Advertising is aimed at improving the sales volume of a concern so its effectiveness can be evaluated by its impact on sales. Most of the managers believe that the advertisement directly affects the sales volume and hence they evaluate the effectiveness of the advertising campaign by the increase in the sales volume.

Methods of Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

There may be two types measures of advertising effectiveness namely;

  • Direct measures and,
  • Indirect measures.

Direct Measures of Advertising Effectiveness

Under direct measures, a relationship between advertising and sales is established. A comparison of sales of two periods or two periods or two markets may be done and the corresponding changes may be noted. The following are some of the methods that are generally used in measuring that advertising effects.

i. Historical Sales Method

Some insights into the effectiveness of past advertising may be obtained by measuring the relationship between the advertising expenditure and the total sales of the product. A multiple regression analysis of advertising expenditure and sales over several time periods may be calculated. It would show how the changes in advertising expenditure have corresponding changes in sales volume. This technique estimates the contribution that advertising has made to explaining in a co relational manner rather than a casual sales, the variation in sales over the time periods covered in the study

ii. Experimental Control

The other measure of advertising effectiveness is the method of experimental control where a casual relationship between advertising and sales is established. This method is quite expensive when related to other advertising effectiveness measures yet it is possible to isolate advertising contribution to sales. Moreover this can be done as a pre-test to aid advertising in choosing between alternative creative designs. Media schedules expenditure levels or some combination of these advertising decision areas. One experimental approach to measuring the sales effectiveness of advertising is test marketing.

  • Before-after with Control Group Design: This classic design uses several test and control cities in this design two types of cities are selected. Cities in which advertising campaigns are affected may be named as test cities and other cities may be called central cities. First of all, the normal sales level is calculated for both type of cities prior to advertising campaign, and then the advertising campaign is presented to the test cities and not the central cities. The effect of advertising campaign, can then, be measured by subtracting the amount of post campaign figure of sale from the pre campaign sale figures in test cities
  • Multivariable Experimental Designs: While the experimental design discussed above yields a reasonably accurate estimate of the effects of the advertising on sales, it is not successful in explaining the success or failure of the campaign itself. Multivariable designs Produce these explanations and are, therefore used by some very large firm because of their diagnostic value.The power of this multivariable factorial design is explained by G.H.Brown, former Fords Director of Marketing Research. For any single medium, eight possible geographic areas have been exposed and eight have not been exposed. Thus, in this experimental model it is possible to evaluate how each individual medium behaves alone and in all possible to evaluate how each individual medium behaves alone and in all possible combinations with other media.

Indirect Measures of Advertising Effectiveness

As it is very difficult to measure the direct effect of advertising on company’s profits or sales, most firms rely heavily on indirect measures. These measures do not evaluate the effects of advertisements directing on sales or profits but all other factors such as customer awareness or attitude or customer recall of advertising message affect the sales or profits or goals of the business indirectly. Despite the uncertainties about the relationship between the intermediate effects of advertising and the ultimate results, there is no other alternative but to use indirect measures. The most commonly used measures are;

  • Exposure to Advertisement: In order to be effective, the advertisement must gain exposure. The management is concerned about the number of target audiences who see or hear the organization message set in the advertisement. Without exposure, advertisement is bound to failure. Marketers or advertisers may obtain an idea of exposure generated by the medium by examining its circulation or audience data which reveal the number of copies of the magazine, newspaper or journal sold the number of persons passing the billboards or riding in transit facilities, or the number of persons living in the televiewing or radio listening area, and the number of persons switching on their T.V. and radio sets at various points of time. This number can be estimated by interviewing the numbers of the audience for different media.
  • Attention or Recall of Advertising Message Content: This is one of the widely used measures of advertising results. Under this measure, a recall of the message content among a specified group or groups or prospective customers is measured within 24 hours of the exposure of the advertisement. Attention value is the chief quality of the advertising copy the advertisements cannot be said to be effective unless they attract the attention of the target consumers. There are two methods for evaluating the attention getting value of the advertisements. One is pre-test and the other is post-test. In a pre-test evaluation, the consumers are asked to indicate the extent to which they recognize or recall the advertisement, they have already seen. This test is conducted in the laboratory setting. Here consumers read, hear or listen to the advertisement and then researchers ask question regarding the advertisement just to test the recall and then evaluate it. In post-test method, the consumers are asked questions about the indication of recognition or recall after the advertisement has been run. These measures assume that customers can recall or recognize what they have viewed or listened to. Various mechanical devices are being used in the western countries which provide indices of attention such as eye-camera etc.
  • Brand Awareness: The marketers who rely heavily on advertising often appraise its effectiveness by measuring the customer’s awareness about the particular product or brand. The assumption of this type of measure is that there is a direct relationship between the advertisements and the awareness. This type of measure is also subject to the same criticisms as is applicable to direct measures of effectiveness (sales measures because awareness is also not the direct result of the advertisements. It is  also affected by many other factors. But, for new products, changes in awareness can often be attributed to the influence of advertising.
  • Comprehension: Consumers generally use advertisements as a means of obtaining information about the product, brand or the manufacturer. They cannot be informed unless they comprehend the message (grasp the message mentally and understand it fully). Various tests for valuating comprehension are available. One is recall tests – an indicator of comprehension because it is evident that consumers recall what they comprehend. Another measure of the variable is to ask questions about subjects how much they have comprehended a message they have recently heard or seen. One may employ somewhat imprecise test of the comprehension of a newspaper and radio advertisement. One may ask typical target consumers from time to time such questions like ‘what did you think of our new commercial?’ and ‘Did it get the message across’? The answers of these questions will provide sufficient insight into advertising decision making.
  • Attitude Change: Since advertising is considered to be one way of influencing the state of the mind of the audience towards a product, service or organisation, the results are very often measured in terms of attitudes among groups exposed to advertising communication. Several measures are used ranging from asking the questions about willingness to buy the likelihood of buying to the measurement of the extent to which specific attributes (such as modern or new) are associated with a product.
  • Action: One objective of advertisement may be assumed to be to stimulate action or behavior. The action or intention to take an action may be measured on the intention to buy measuring instrument. Under this type of measure, consumers are asked to respond why they are interested in purchasing the product or brand. One type of action that advertisers attempt to induce is buying behavior. The assumption is that if an increase in sales follows a decrease in advertising expenditure, the change in sales levels are good indicators of the effectiveness of advertising. Logic suggests that measurement of sales is preferable to other measurements.

Thus, these above measures (direct or indirect) are used to evaluate the effectiveness of advertisements. It seems from the analysis of the above methods of measuring advertising effectiveness that directly or indirectly changes in sales or profits are taken as the measuring rod of the effectiveness of the advertising.

About Abey Francis

Abey Francis is the founder of MBAKnol - A Blog about Management Theories and Practices - and he's always happy to share his passion for innovative management practices. You can found him on Google+ and Facebook. If you’d like to reach him, send him an email to: [email protected]

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