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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Jens Kuerschner

Author: Jens Kuerschner

Jens Kuerschner is founder and CEO 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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