Advertising impact unequal attention unequal reach

Many companies advertise that they help to measure and optimize the advertising effects and impact of certain marketing activities. We do so too! For this reason, we have of course taken an even closer look at what is actually sold by those other companies. We had to realize that advertising effects and impact are usually used only as buzzwords without the corresponding service and meaning. “Impact”, “Effectivness” and “Effects” means basically the same here – that’s why we will only use one of them in the next lines, but always refer to all of them.

We shall therefore briefly explain how advertising impact is composed, how it needs to be defined and what to look for when choosing and using appropriate services.


What is advertising impact?

First, advertising impact can be divided into two areas – the explicit and implicit effects (or memory).

Explicit advertising effects can be observed when consumers e.g. click on a online banner due to its pushiness. Here, in any case, an explicit response to the advertising appeal takes place.

Implicit advertising effects are, for example, changes in the attitude of consumers towards the product or brand. So, moviegoers might like a specific car even more or attribute certain emotions to it, when it was seen as a product placement. Other implicit effects are so-called priming effects, through which purchase decisions can be influenced directly. Accordingly, also implicit effects can lead to explicit effects, but only as a second step. Implicit effects always happen before explicit effects. Explicit action are almost ever based on implicit effects or are at least affected by them.

We’ve discussed this topic in a previous post in more detail (click here). That’s why we will skip further examples here.


What do most companies really sell?

As shown, advertising impact is much more complex than one would assume.

At the beginning of this post we indicated that many companies don’t really live up to this. Often only a part of the explicit effects is taken into account. That’s especially when one simply measures the reach of a marketing activity or the explicit memory (= attention) of it. Of course, that’s also measurement of advertising effects, but in the end they only measure a fraction of the whole thing.

One example:
A company offers to measure the advertising impact of product placement. Therefore, they ask 4,000 people who have seen a particular movie, whether they have noticed that placement. 60% of them answered to the question with “Yes”. This value is extrapolated and a fictitious monetary value of the placement is determined (media value).

The results of this survey are neither wrong, nor useless! They are very valuable because they quantifys the explicit reach. However, what is not taken into account are implicit effects. In a negative case, the placement was perceived very negatively by the audience. Thus, although attention has been generated, sales would go down. In a better case, 90% of the respondents perceived the product placement subconsciously positively, and are going to prefer the product at their next shopping trip.

It has to be noted that implicit effects mostly happen without any awareness, as they occur in the subconscious. For this reason, any explicit test (even a question like “How did you like the product placement?” or “Would you buy the product?”) is distorted right from the beginning. One can measure these effects only by observing behavior.


What does this mean for my business?

Advertising impact is a very complex thing and consists of many implicit and explicit effects.

Many companies that promise to determine advertising impact, only focus on some explicit factors, such as the reach or the generated attention (via recall measurement). Of course this is not wrong and may be sufficient in some cases. The importance of these values in fact also depends on the given objectives. If you want to only generate attention at any price, those simple KPIs are all you need to know.

Basically, you should always ask yourself if you can determine all aspects of the advertising impact at least approximately with the given instruments and, if necessary, gather further information. A high reach with great attention may be counterproductive if the implicit advertising effect is negative. One can compare reach and attention to a motorway. It can consist of one or four carriageways. However, this tells us nothing about how fast and in what direction the cars drive.

Now (especially if you have read the linked article) you know more about the components of advertising impact and are able to better evaluate service as well as study results in terms of their significance.


Just a few words about Placedise: We consider all components of the advertising impact. However, since we use simulations to determine the potential advertising effects, we always recommend to supplementary gather further explicit KPI like attention or reach. Similarly, of course, we recommend to use Placedise as a supplement to other pure explicit data!

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Jens Kürschner

Author: Jens Kürschner

Jens Kürschner is founder and managing director of Placedise. As an expert in the field of consumer behavior and media enthusiast, he is especially responsible for the product know-how. In our blog, this knowledge and the experience of many years of research and study will be shared with you.

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