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Definition: Advertising Research
A research conducted to improve the efficiency of an advertisement is known as advertising research. The research could be focused on one particular advertisement or could be conducted in general to know the impact of advertising on consumer behaviour.
The approach used for this research could be of different forms like sociological, psychological, economic, emotional etc.
Advertising companies generally offer two types of research- customised and syndicated. Customised research is, when a company asks the researcher to conduct a research of a particular need. The results of this research are provided only to that client company. Syndicated research is more of a generic research conducted by the researcher, the results of which are sold to various clients. Example: If the firm Nielsen is asked by HUL to conduct a research on the popularity of its shampoo brand Sunsilk, the research that is thus conducted will be a customised research. But if Nielsen has already conducted a research on ‘The preferences of Indian youth while buying a shampoo’ and now, if HUL or any other firm buys the results of this research, it is said to be a syndicated research.
There are various approaches used in advertising research. Amongst all the approaches, copy-testing is the extensively used one. Copy testing is a method that uses consumer responses, feedback and behaviour to arrive at some results. Copy testing is done in three dimensions- Cognitive dimension, affective dimension and conative dimension. In the cognitive dimension, research is conducted to know, what consumers know about the product, brand, service or what do they recall from the previous ads. This is generally done by forming focus groups, physiological studies etc. The next dimension is the affective dimension. This dimension studies what are the changes in the attitude of the consumer, about the product, after being exposed to a particular advertisement or campaign. This is done by forming focus groups, central location testing etc. Conative dimension refers to studying the actual consumer behaviour, to know what will they ‘do’ after watching an advertisement. The consumer is asked if they are willing to buy a product, after being exposed to an ad or the sales of a particular product are tracked down after the release of an ad or campaign.
Other approaches in advertising research could be:
1. Psychographic studies- To know the attitude and behaviour of a consumer towards a particular product, to target these attitude characteristics through ads.
2. Market segmentation- Consumers are divided in different groups based on some quality like age, income etc. There tastes regarding different features of a product are studied and advertisements are thus made.
3. Audience size and composition studies- It is used to know the reach and frequency of an ad.
4. Market share studies- These are used to study the changes in market share of the company, if any, before and after the launch of an ad campaign.
5. Competitors’ studies- The strategies that the competitor is using are thoroughly studied and its effects on the products and markets of the company are noted.
6. Popularity research- Used to know the popularity of a particular advertisement.
After the data is collected, mathematical tools like regression, correlation can be used to study the data and obtain the results. The effectiveness of a research depends upon the validity of its results and this validity is obtained, only if the consumers respond properly to the questionnaire or feedback.