Measuring Advertising Effects. Ways, Problems, Solutions.

What you need to know about advertising effects

Advertising effects are very complex.
Their measurement is too.

Nevertheless, this fact is quite often underestimated by many. Most of the time, even experts rely entirely on a few simple parameters, such as the recall value (we already wrote about this issue). However, those measurements only describe an explicit memory (usually also under very falsifying laboratory conditions using a very small sample size). Implicit effects are often ignored for reasons of cost. This can lead to fatal misinterpretations. Reputation damaging campaigns are classified as a potential success, potentially successful campaigns are classified as potentially ineffective.

We put the most important information into a short presentation:

More scientific details

For those who like it more specific and scientific, we wrote down some background information (more to come).

The measurement of the explicit memory is based on a concrete reminder of the respective persons to a stimulus in the past (Yoo 2007). Therefore, in the area of product placement, you usually use the recall or the explicit recognition as a measure of the stimulus (Duke 1995; Herrmann, Valais, and Kacha 2011). The recall can be aided or completely free (free recall). In the first case the subjects are given additional information which are related specifically to the particular stimulus (Babin and Carder 1996; Karrh 1994). At a free recall test, the participants are simply requested to name all the brands they have perceived in the previous step (Gupta and Lord, 1998; Vollmer and Mizerski 1994). To test the recognition, usually one or more brands will be shown. The participant then has to tell, what brand he or she has seen or heard before (Babin and Carder 1996b; Gupta and Lord 1998).

The described methods are mostly used in the area of product placement (Matthes, Schemer, and Wirth 2007) as well as related research, such as sponsorship (Herrmann et al. 2011.). However, because of the fact that these data isn’t reliable to predict a possible influence regarding purchase intention and actual purchase (Krugman, 1986; Singh and Cole, 1989; Young 1972), implicit measurement methods are essential.

The implicit memory is measured by methods that don’t require people to explicitly remember something (Herrmann et al. 2011). It is mostly identified by an increase in performance at a given task (Schacter 1987), such as a faster and more accurate recognition of the stimulus (Wedel and Pieters 2000), which in contrast to the corresponding explicit measurement of the “if” looks for the “how”. Another possible tool is the use of word completion or word stem completion tests, where the participants will have to complete a word fragment (Grimes and Kitchen 2007). Those experiments can be designed in multiple ways, but are always based on the idea that the implicit memory of the stimulus affects the performance in this test accordingly, as the necessary information are better available in the brain (Schumacher 2007). Also based on subconscious processes, implicit effects can be tested by monitoriung the subjects consideration sets. There, you measure whether a stimulus has implicit effects on the set of brands that are relevant for a consumer’s purchase decision (Herrmann et al 2011; Johnson and Lehmann 1997; Shapiro, MacInnis, and Heckler 1997). Other measurement methods are for example the Implicit Association Test (IAT) that is mainly used to measure the attitude towards a stimulus (Greenwald, McGhee, and Schwartz 1998; Mierke and Klauer 2003), but also many other methods that can make implicit effects like priming, mere exposure or processing fluency visible. Furthermore, a direct measurement of unconscious effects can be done by physiological tests that visualize the body’s reactions and functions (La Barbera and Tucciarone 1995), or by the measurement of brain waves (Medina 2004). However, due to the strong experimental environment, the results of these methods are often extremely biased (Hall 2004), while also expensive and very complex (Medina 2004).

Generally, implicit measurement methods ofte come with the problem that single effects can not be clearly detected separately (Grimes and Kitchen 2007). In addition, it should be noted that the subconscious processing of a stimulus always precedes the conscious processing (Elger et al 2004; Libet 2005). Accordingly, the results of implicit and explicit measurement methods can be statistically independent, when implicit and explicit effects aren’t (Jacoby and Dallas 1981; Graf and Mandler 1984; Holden and Vanhuele 1999; Shapiro et al. 1997). In real-world decision-making situations, consumers almost always use a combination of explicit and implicit knowledge (Shapiro and Krishnan 2001). That’s why the consideration of both memories and all possible interdependencies is essential for any investigation.


And Placedise?

Placedise considers all kinds of effects (more than 100) – explicit as well as implicit. We also use the latest findings from research on advertising effects, consumer behavior or even brain science. Nevertheless, even Placedise is partly based on studies that were conducted with some bias (like almost all scientific research). However, due to the large number of tests and the calculation and combination of the individual results with each other, we can minimize this bias.

Did you base your decisions on the results of a few studies in the past? With Placedise, you get the certainty that you base them on over 500.


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Babin, Laurie A. and Sheri T. Carder (1996b), “Viewers’ Recognition of Brands Placed Within a Film,” International Journal of Advertising, 15 (2), 140–51.

Duke, Charles R. (1995), “Exploratory Comparisons of Alternative Memory Measures for Brand Name,” Psychology and Marketing, 12 (1), 19–36.

Elger, Christian E., Angela D. Friederici, Christof Koch, Heiko Luhmann, Christoph von der Malsburg, Randolf Menzel, Hannah Monyer, Frank Rösler, Gerhard Roth, Henning Scheich, and Wolf Singer (2004), “Das Manifest. Elf führende Neurowissenschaftler über Gegenwart und Zukunft der Hirnforschung,” Gehirn & Geist (6), 30–37.

Graf, Peter and George Mandler (1984), “Activation Makes Words More Accessible, but Not Necessarily More Retrievable,” Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 23 (5), 553–68.

Greenwald, Anthony G., Debbie E. McGhee, and Jordan L. K. Schwartz (1998), “Measuring Individual Differences in Implicit Cognition: The Implicit Association Test,” Journal of personality and social psychology, 74 (6), 1464–80.

Grimes, Anthony and Philip J. Kitchen (2007), “Researching Mere Exposure Effects to Advertising: Theoretical Foundations and Methodological Implications,” International Journal of Market Research, 49 (2), 191–219.

Gupta, Pola B. and Kenneth R. Lord (1998), “Product Placement in Movies: The Effect of Prominence and Mode on Audience Recall,” Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 20 (1), 47–59.

Hall, Bruce F. (2004), “On Measuring the Power of Communications,” Journal of Advertising Research, 44 (2), 181–87.

Herrmann, Jean-Luc, Björn Walliser, and Mathieu Kacha (2011), “Consumer Consideration of Sponsor Brands They Do Not Remember: Taking a Wider Look at the Memorisation Effects of Sponsorship,” International Journal of Advertising, 30 (2), 259–81.

Holden, Stephen J. S. and Marc Vanhuele (1999), “Know the Name, Forget the Exposure: Brand Familiarity versus Memory of Exposure Context,” Psychology and Marketing, 16 (6), 479–96.

Jacoby, Larry L. and Mark Dallas (1981), “On the Relationship Between Autobiographical Memory and Perceptual Learning,” Journal of experimental psychology. General, 110 (3), 306–40.

Johnson, Michael D. and Donald R. Lehmann (1997), “Consumer Experience and Consideration Sets For Brands and Product Categories,” Advances in Consumer Research, 24, 295–300.

Karrh, James A. (1994), “Effects of Brand Placements in Motion Pictures,” in The Proceedings of the 1994 Conference of the American Academy of Advertising, ed. Karen W. King, Athens, GA: Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 90–96.

Krugman, Herbert E. (1986), “Low Recall and High Recognition of Advertising,” Journal of Advertising Research, 26 (1), 79–86.

La Barbera, Priscilla A. and Joel D. Tucciarone (1995), “GSR Reconsidered: A Behavior-Based Approach to Evaluating and Improving the Sales Potency of Advertising,” Journal of Advertising Research, 35 (5), 33–53.

Libet, Benjamin (2005), Mind Time. Wie das Gehirn Bewusstsein produziert, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Matthes, Jörg, Christian Schemer, and Werner Wirth (2007), “More than Meets the Eye: Investigating the Hidden Impact of Brand Placements in Television Magazines,” International Journal of Advertising, 26 (4), 477–503.

Medina, John (2004), “The Neurobiology of the Decision To Buy,” Psychiatric Times, 21 (10), 31–34.

Mierke, Jan and Karl C. Klauer (2003), “Method-Specific Variance in the Implicit Association Test,” Journal of personality and social psychology, 85 (6), 1180–92.

Schacter, Daniel L. (1987), “Implicit Memory: History and Current Status,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13 (3), 501–18.

Schumacher, Pascal (2007), Effektivitat von Ausgestaltungsformen des Product Placement, Wiesbaden: Dt. Univ.-Verl.

Shapiro, Stewart and H. S. Krishnan (2001), “Memory-Based Measures for Assessing Advertising Effects: A Comparison of Explicit and Implicit Memory Effects,” Journal of Advertising, 30 (3), 1–13.

Shapiro, Stewart, Deborah J. MacInnis, and Susan E. Heckler (1997), “The Effects of Incidental Ad Exposure on the Formation of Consideration Sets,” Journal of Consumer Research, 24 (1), 94–104.

Singh, Surendra N. and Catherine A. Cole (1989), “Advertising Copy Testing in Print Media,” Current Issues and Research in Advertising, 11 (2), 215–84.

Vollmer, Stacy M. and Richard W. Mizerski (1994), “A Review and Investigation into the Effectiveness of Product Placements in Films,” in The Proceedings of the 1994 Conference of the American Academy of Advertising, ed. Karen W. King, Athens, GA: Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 97–102.

Wedel, Michel and Rik Pieters (2000), “Eye Fixations on Advertisements and Memory for Brands: A Model and Findings,” Marketing Science, 19 (4), 297–312.

Yoo, Chan Y. (2007), “Implicit Memory Measures for Web Advertising Effectiveness,” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 84 (1), 7–23.

Young, Shirley (1972), “Copy Testing Without Magic Numbers,” Journal of Advertising Research, 12 (1), 3–12.


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Measuring Advertising Effects. Ways, Problems, Solutions.
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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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