Advertising Effectiveness

Advertising is aimed at motivating and affecting consumers' behavior in a way that is beneficial to the company or brand being advertised. However, there are different perceptions of what advertising effectiveness is and how it can be measured.

One of the criteria that may be used in measuring advertising effectiveness is sales response. Companies usually expect that the marketing effort will eventually result in sales revenue that exceeds the cost of advertising. However, there are many other factors that influence a consumer's decision to buy a product so it is quite difficult to measure to what extent this decision is influenced by advertising.

According to Christine Wright-Isak, Ronald J. Faber and Lewis R. Horner in Measuring Advertising Effectiveness (1997), there is a difference between short-term advertising effects and long-term advertising effectiveness. In contrast to effects, effectiveness accumulates over time and affects feelings, attitudes and behaviors. The short-term effects of an advertising campaign can be assessed in time periods ranging from a few minutes to a year, while measuring long-term effectiveness should cover a period of ten years or longer. Evaluation of effectiveness should involve multiple exposures to adverts and multiple executions within campaigns in a complex environment, which includes other marketing activities and competitive actions.

Consumers are said to pass through a cognitive and affective phase before adopting and showing certain behavior. The first thing marketers should do in order to make an advertisement effective is to attract people's attention, meaning they have to make consumers process the advertising message consciously. According to a study by Bylon Abeeku Bamfo in Advertising likeability and its effectiveness published in the Indian Journal of Economics and Business in 2011, some 55% of the respondents in the research said they processed advertising messages consciously. However, the remaining 45% admitted that they did not have time to pay attention to advertisements or they thought adverts were fabricated, exaggerated, repeated or outdated.

If an advertisement manages to catch consumers' attention, it has an opportunity to motivate and affect their behavior, which is ultimately the goal of advertising. There are various factors that can make people pay attention to an advert, for example if it includes entertainment, sports, celebrities, humor, animation or music. However, the most important factor is considered to be information – people expect to get valuable information about a product. In addition, whether or not a particular advert will evoke interest in people actually depends on the characteristics of every individual consumer.

Another important thing to be considered when speaking about advertising effectiveness is the likeability of an advertisement, or the extent to which it is liked by consumers. Advertising likeability is closely related to the kind of media selected for the advertisement. For example, TV commercials are considered to be most liked by consumers as they are active and include both audio and visual messages. Naturally, not all advertisements are liked by all people. There are various reasons why a consumer may not like an advert – some adverts are considered to be noisy and irritating, not informative enough and even deceptive, exaggerated, boring and/or difficult to understand.

The conscious processing of advertising information is also dependent on the type of product being advertised as in many cases consumers already have preferences for some products before even viewing/hearing/reading the advert. For example, if consumers have already made their minds whether or not they like a certain type of product, it would be difficult to get them to pay attention to the advertisement. The opposite is also valid.

Another important factor linked to the processing of the advertising message and its likeability is the language of the advert. In marketing communication there must be a common understanding between the sender (advertiser,) and receiver (customer,) so marketers should consider which will be the language preferred by the target market. Choosing the most appropriate language may not always be an easy task in multilingual countries.

It may seem natural that adverts liked by consumers would directly lead to increased brand preference and therefore decisions to buy the product or service being advertised. However, according to Bamfo's research, over half of people (57% of the respondents in the research) buy products whose advertisements they disliked. At the same time 43% of the respondents said they did not buy some products although they actually liked their advertisements. These results show that the link between advertising likeability and advertising effectiveness is not that direct.

Advertising Effectiveness: Selected full-text books and articles

Persuasion in Advertising By John O'Shanghnessy; Nicholas Jackson O'Shaughnessy Routledge, 2004
Marketing to the Mind: Right Brain Strategies for Advertising and Marketing By Richard C. Maddock; Richard L. Fulton Quorum Books, 1996
Librarian's tip: Chap. 13 "How Motivation Is Used to Design Effective Advertising and Marketing Strategies"
Sex in Advertising: Perspectives on the Erotic Appeal By Tom Reichert; Jacqueline Lambiase Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003
Librarian's tip: Part 2 "Consumer Responses to Sex in Advertising"
Advertising Likeability and Its Effectiveness By Bamfo, Bylon Abeeku Indian Journal of Economics and Business, Vol. 10, No. 1, March 2011
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Effects of Subliminal Advertising on Consumer Attitudes and Buying Intentions By Tsai, Ming-tiem; Liang, Wen-ko; Liu, Mei-Ling International Journal of Management, Vol. 24, No. 1, March 2007
The Role of Fear Appeals in Improving Driver Safety: A Review of the Effectiveness of Fear-Arousing (Threat) Appeals in Road Safety Advertising By Lewis, Ioni; Watson, Barry; Tay, Richard; White, Katherine M The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, Vol. 3, No. 2, Summer 2007
Advertising to Children on TV: Content, Impact, and Regulation By Barrie Gunter; Caroline Oates; Mark Blades Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "Advertising Influence: Choice and Consumption"
The Effect of Cultural Orientation on Advertising Effectiveness. A Comparison among Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Mexicans By Maldonado, Cecilia Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, Vol. 15, No. S1, September 2011
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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