How to measure the effectiveness of advertising?

Measuring the effectiveness of advertising programme in the limited market area is one of the important task of the advertising manager. If different media and different advertisements are used in different markets, the effectiveness of the different media and advertisement can be evaluated. These measures will help the manager to adjust the budget to obtain the most effective media scheduling.

The revision of the budget is necessary because of the impact of other promotional measures. Changes in the budget for other programmes compels the manager to redesign his budget so that he may stay within the available resources.

Effectiveness of advertising
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Procedures to evaluate effectiveness of Advertisements

A well-conceived advertising programme is an integral part of the firm’s overall marketing strategy. Therefore, it is obligatory on the part of the management to know whether the campaign has really attained its advertising objectives, and whether its advertisements are as good as those of its competitors.

A number of alternative procedures are available for the evaluation of the effectiveness of advertisements, of which the three important ones are:

  1. Evaluating individual advertising messages in order to assess their relative importance;
  2. Evaluating the achievement of awareness-and-attitude objectives;
  3. Evaluating the impact of advertisement as reflected in the sales reports.

These can be measured by a variety of tests. In fact, the tests of effectiveness are needed to determine whether the proposed advertisements should be used, or they need some improvement; or should be stopped, continued or significantly changed. The advertising measurements usually take two forms;

  • one involves the sales effect of advertising — that is, the sales volume generated by advertising.
  • other involves the communications effect on advertising, or the degree to which the audience perceives the content of the message.

Both of these forms of measurement are important. Sales measurements help determine the optimum advertising budget, and communications measurements help to tell us if the message is working.

How to measure sales results?

To measure sales results, an analysis is made of consumer purchases before and after advertising has been introduced to stimulate sales. Such analysis can be used to estimate whether and to what extent the brand’s position has been improved as a result of advertising, and among which consumer segments it has been most effective. Sometimes, store inventory is done before and after the effects of advertising to measure the sales results.

Many advertisements give some idea of the product so that consumer may be persuaded to purchase it. For this purpose, advertisements are pre-tested before target consumers are exposed to them, and post tests are conducted after these consumers have been exposed to the advertisements.

Pre-tests are conducted to find out whether the information communicated to consumers has been successfully communicated. If the tests indicate that advertisements are not potentially effective, they may be modified, or dropped. Post-tests indicate whether they have been effective or not. If a significant difference is found in sales, the management may decide that the effort is successful and should be continued as planned.

Other measures of effectiveness are: readership, awareness of advertising themes, and attitude changes.

Kinds of tests to measure effectiveness of advertising

Various kinds of tests are used to measure the effectiveness of advertising. These are: exposure; attention, comprehension, attitude change, and behavior or action.

1. Exposure

In order to be effective, an advertisement must gain exposure, i.e., how many consumers have seen or heard about the message. Without exposure, advertising is doomed to failure. Whether the media used has exposed the idea can be found out by:

  • Examining its circulation or audience data (i.e., number of print copies sold, persons passing billboards or riding in city buses, persons living in radio-listening area, etc.); or
  • Conducting readership or “listenership” surveys.

2. Attention

Advertisement cannot be effective unless they get the attention of target consumers. This attention getting response can be obtained by asking consumers to indicate the degree to which they recognize or recall each advertisement. Various mechanical devices provide indices of attention.

3. Comprehension

Consumers utilize advertisements as a means of obtaining information. They cannot be informed unless they comprehend the message. Marketers use various tests of comprehension, such as recall tests, i.e., consumers will recall what they comprehend. They may also ask consumers how much they comprehend of a message they recently heard or viewed.

4. Attitude Change

Attitudes towards the product or organization, both before and after the appearance of an advertisement, are measured by measuring instruments which normally contains 15 to 20 sales.

5. Action

Advertising aims at stimulating action or behavior. The intention can be measured by instruments, and the answers to certain questions may be analyzed to find out the future trends in purchasing.

Which is the effective test to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign?

Which of the tests may be used will depend upon the advertising objective of the campaign and the research budget of the organization. The test used should assess the degree to which advertising campaign helps achieve the management’s objectives. Thus, if the objective is to increase brand awareness, readership or listenership surveys may be quite suitable. But if the objective is to generate immediate action, sales or coupon measurements may be adopted.

Sales and readership studies are very expensive for small-scale organizations; these should, therefore, use less expensive tests, such as inquiry tests to evaluate the advertising effectiveness.

In the evaluation process, the role of advertising managers and product managers is quite critical with regard to monitoring the achievement of advertising objectives. Advertising agencies and specialists play a vital role in determining the relative worth of different messages.

The evaluation procedures, to be effective, should be diagnostic; that is, it should not merely indicate which of the alternative messages in superior or how well advertising objectives are being attained; it should also provide for remedial action, wherever necessary.