By: Ashok Mitra
Advertising is one of the marketing mix elements that are critically important to support and sustain the growth of a brand.
It is a means of communication that helps the brand to establish connections and build strong, long-term relationships with consumers and customers over time.
Advertising empowers the marketer to inform and influence people about the brand by establishing brand identity, personality, credibility, and loyalty with the consumers and prospects, intellectually and emotionally.
A quite common thought among marketers is that while advertising is expected to have a specific role with regard to brand building, is the specific advertisement delivering as much on the intended objective?
Of course, advertising costs money, and any budget are finite, hence it is imperative for the marketer to understand whether the advertising is working or not, whether he or she is getting bang for the buck that has been invested in the advertisement.
Therefore it is important to measure advertising effectiveness which imparts flexibility to the marketer to do mid-term course correction, should there be some specific areas of improvement identified through researching the efficacy of the advertisement.
There is no one formula to measure advertising effectiveness.
Often there is a tendency to plunge into inference by looking at the ad’s performance through one lens.
But to start with, there must be a clearly defined advertising objective, without which measurement and drawing of conclusions become fuzzy.
For example, there could be two different ads for the same brand running at the same time, but in two different media vehicles.
A marketer could plan for a radio (FM) ad intended to drive brand salience, running concurrently with a TV ad aimed at creating conviction of brand values.
In this instance, the yardstick of measurement of the radio ad will be quite different from the TV ad to determine effectiveness.
Similarly, YouTube could feature an ad whose objective could be to create a positive disposition towards the brand, while an ad on Facebook could communicate to users to directly place an order for the advertised brand.
The objective of an outdoor ad could be to reinforce brand awareness, whereas a print ad could aim at increasing the quality awareness of the brand, where the consumer gets to know just enough about the brand to have an informed opinion about it.
Hence it is prudent to appreciate those different media vehicles, with varying advertising costs, may have different roles in promoting a brand, which can be leveraged optimally i.e. in a value-efficient manner, to create a synergistic impact, thereby contributing to the overall marketing goal.
Hence it may be worthwhile to dimensionalise the different types of advertising objectives by converting them into simple questions as follows:
- What is the potential reach of the communication campaign?
- Which target audience is the brand communication reaching?
- How is the ability of the ad to cut through the clutter and grab the attention of the consumer?
- What is the quality of content recall against the current campaign?
- Is the main message of the ad understood by the consumers in sync with what the marketer wants the consumer to understand?
- Can those who are able to recall a campaign correctly identify the brand that the ad is for?
- Does the ad result in enhancing the salience of the brand?
- Does the ad increase the quality of awareness of the brand?
- Is the ad good in inducing a brand trial?
- Does the attitudinal loyalty i.e. usage disposition towards the brand increase as an outcome of the ad?
- Are the associations on brand positioning image attributes increasing due to the ad?
- Has the ad been able to persuade the target audience to buy the brand?
- How much is the campaign loved/disliked by the audience? What communication content or tonality drives likeability?
- How does the ROI for the ad compare with a benchmark ad? In this instance, the expected outcome for ROI measurement has to be established upfront. e.g. to generate 1 % incremental awareness how much USD spends are required?
- Is the ad talked about or shared with others?
There could be other such questions too and depending upon the objective the right questions need to be asked in fairly determining advertising effectiveness.
Advertising may have evolved over the years and so has the media consumption behavior of consumers, but regardless any marketer would always be keen that his ad is effective in whichever media vehicle it features to be able to meaningfully contribute to the brand’s success.