Market Research to Measure Advertising Effectiveness
Market research shows that people respond to different types of advertising at different points in the consumer journey. While there is clear evidence that inbound marketing and a social business presence is a growing phenomenon, conventional advertising also has merit, and a clear place in the consumer path to purchase.
Advertising effectiveness market research has traditionally followed a fairly predictable path. Two primary objectives drive ad effectiveness studies: 1) Understanding how consumers react to an ad immediately following its release, and 2) understanding the trajectory of ad influence over time. Accordingly, ad effectiveness research is conducted in two phases.
Phase One – Advertising is a costly endeavor so considerable attention is given to the period of time immediately following the release of an advertisement. Using various techniques and instrumentation, the metrics for this phase are directed toward the following: 1) Consumer reactions to the creative content; 2) the overall reach of the advertising campaign on various media channels (if more than one channel is engaged); 3) changed consumer behavior or perceptions; and 4) changes in brand awareness or propensity to recommend or buy a product or service.
Phase Two – The litmus test of an advertisement is how well it is remembered over the long term. Achieving a position in an advertisement hall of fame is a sought-after industry recognition. The period of time that is marked by the onset of Phase Two is largely a function of the activity, product life cycle, service duration, and the like. For example, when market researchers study the long-term influence of travel advertisements, they factor in a reasonable amount of time to allow for completion of the travel that was the focus of the advertising campaign.
Typical metrics for this phase include: 1) Incremental spending related to advertised products or services; 2) return-on-investment (ROI) linked to advertising campaigns; and recall of advertisement by target demographic market. A select group of advertisements have lasting influence on consumer decisions, and surprisingly, some of these influences are negative.Competition is keen in the advertising business, and it is difficult to get the campaigns just right.
Rate of Testing Ads and Commercials Is Low
Surprisingly few commercials or advertisements undergo robust testing by consumers. Many advertising agencies rely on sales response data to evaluate the effectiveness of their creative efforts. However, this is not a reliable way to determine advertising effectiveness because sales data is influenced by an enormous amount of noise. Once an ad goes live, consumer receptiveness can be influenced by any number of variables, including economic and stock market shifts, changes in weather, activity and promotional influences of competitors, and pricing fluctuations.
And because of the informal nature of feedback related to advertising effectiveness, creatives may find themselves facing misleading and confusing information. For instance, agency creatives typically have strong feelings about the potential effectiveness of their work – all of which can be seriously undercut by the preferences and biases of their clients. Further, clients are notoriously influenced by the most remarkable and unreliable factors, such as the opinions of their spouses or children, or some anecdote they’ve read that was generated by a member of – what might be called in polite company – the lunatic fringe. A third and parallel influence is derived from the comments, protests, and endorsements of franchises, vendors, and dealers
Article from About.com