Understanding The Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness: HOLY GRAIL! Part 2

By Jack Myers ThinkTank Archives

Originally Published: April 26, 2006

New Models for Media Planning & Effectiveness Measurement

In yesterday's Jack Myers Media Business Report, we outlined Myers Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness, the first major update to media planning theory since 1981. Based on seven years of field work, Myers' insights refocus media planners away from issues exclusively related to reach and frequency and focus them instead on:

  • the depth and intensity of the emotional connection of media with their audiences,
  • how closely marketers are seeking to connect with the audiences they reach,
  • how actionable they intend their advertising campaigns to be.

As described in yesterday's report, Myers' Five Dimensions have a striking symbiosis with the early reach/frequency media planning theories of Herbert Krugman and Bruce Eckman. Myers' Five Dimensions also challenge current "recency" media planning theory, suggesting recency is less relevant in an integrated multi-platform media world in which marketers' goals are tending away from brand positioning and toward brand sales and direct transactions.

Myers Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness are designed to serve the needs of marketers; media agency planners and buyers; creative, talent, event and marketing agencies; media sellers and investors as they adapt to the new landscape that is quickly forcing changes to the business models in place in the advertising business for nearly 50 years.

Myers Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness are:

    • Audience Reach
    • Audience Engagement with Content
    • Audience Attentiveness and Responsiveness to Advertising
    • Friends & Family Environment
    • Commerce & Direct ROI




Myers Emotional Connections Studies focus on three of these five dimensions of advertising effectiveness: engagement with content; attentiveness and responsiveness to advertising; and friends and family environment. The Myers studies:

  • have been designed to support the growing need of marketers, media buyers, agencies, media sellers and investors to assess the value of different media distribution venues based on measures other than audience reach.
  • have been developed to reward branded media that successfully transfer their brand equity to advertisers.
  • have been structured to identify and assign value to individual TV programs, publications and websites that, while they might not deliver the largest audiences, provide the best environment for persuasive and motivational messages

Myers Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness

1. Audience Reach

Audience reach is the foundation of media measurement, the basic currency required for Herbert Krugman's one-time exposure "awareness" dimension and Erwin Ephron's "recency" model. While audience reach represents only one of five dimensions of advertising effectiveness, it has been the sole currency used by virtually all media in an age when mass media, mass marketing, mass production and mass merchandising have been the dominant economic influences.

Mass commoditized media will continue to focus on audience size as their primary measure of value, and traditional recency-based media planning will continue to depend on basic reach/frequency measures of audience delivery. As media and marketing strategies have become increasingly fragmented and more highly targeted, audience size has become less relevant, although audience ratings and circulation have remained the primary sources of media valuation. Advertising research will quickly evolve as marketers measure performance based on effectiveness in achieving marketing objectives rather than exclusively based on audience reach metrics. Measurement of audience size will continue to evolve as technology enables the capture of increasingly microscopic media usage data and as encoding techniques become more commonly adopted by advertisers and media.

2. Audience Engagement with Content

"Engagement with Content" is comparable to Krugman's "interest" dimension, the second level of advertising impact. However, engagement relates to interest in programming content and does not necessarily transfer to interest in advertising content. (When advertising is directly correlated to the content, such as an infomercial, engagement in content and advertising are one and the same. The value of branded entertainment varies based on the relevance of the advertised product to the content.) Typically, engagement measures are an important tool for a large number of brand advertisers who are seeking to communicate a brand position but whose messages are not intended to motivate audiences toward specific actions.

Until recently, the vast majority of ad campaigns were intended to establish subliminal brand awareness and interest, without necessarily requiring specific consumer action. This has been changing with the increased integration of 800 numbers and web URLs into advertising campaigns and the increased use of campaigns intended to drive immediate consumer action, such as automotive company incentives. Several analysts believe virtually all advertising in the future will have directly motivational components, radically altering the research resources and measures.

Myers Emotional Connections research has identified five variables that contribute to "audience engagement with media content." These five variables are incorporated as measures in Myers Emotional Connections Studies, with respondents rating every TV program they typically view on a one-to-seven scale for each attribute. (These questions are revised appropriately to adapt to TV networks, websites and publications.)

Five Component Influences on Audience Engagement with Media

  1. I am more likely to view this program frequently
  2. This program is relevant to me and reflects my viewing interests
  3. I consider this program to be like a trusted friend that I rely on
  4. Once I tune into this program, I stay tuned without changing channels
  5. I value this program enough to pay a special fee to watch it whenever I want.

In the composite, these five attributes provide the state-of-the-art measure of audience engagement, enabling comparisons of individual TV programs, websites and publications. While individual program performance across these attributes tends to be relatively stable, marketers may consider "trust" or "tuning-in without changing channels" to be especially relevant and can consider one or more of the attributes independently of the others. Studios, networks and distributors can use the "value" question to assess the potential for incremental revenues from iTunes, VOD and broadband distribution. Several research services are currently deriving similar data from recall studies and evaluations of detailed ratings data to determine viewer attentiveness. The current Myers Emotional Connections Study asks each of these questions for more than 1,000 television programs plus fifty emerging TV networks. A key finding of the Myers research is that audiences' engagement with content appears to have little correlation to audiences' attentiveness and responsiveness to advertising messages. (See Jack Myers Media Business Report 4/11/06)

3. Audience Attentiveness and Responsiveness to Advertising

Myers Emotional Connections research has identified two variables that contribute to "audience attentiveness and responsiveness to advertising." The attributes below are those used in the Myers Emotional Connections Studies to measure audience attentiveness and responsiveness to TV programs and networks, with respondents rating every TV program they typically view on a one-to-seven scale for both attributes. (These questions are revised appropriately to adapt to TV networks, websites and publications.)

Two Component Influences on Audience Attentiveness and Responsiveness to Advertising

  1. This program has commercials that are interesting to me and I pay attention to them.
  2. When I see advertising during this program, I consider it a recommendation and am more likely to purchase the product or service being offered.

The core difference between this "third dimension of advertising effectiveness" and "attentiveness measures developed through minute-by-minute ratings and other behavioral research," is that Myers defines attentiveness to advertising content rather than programming content. While there are valid and valuable behavioral measures of attentiveness, many fail to distinguish between the TV viewer who is truly paying attention and those who have fallen asleep or left the room. Custom research studies are also being used by media and marketers to derive insights on advertising recall and retention, but the core marketplace need is for syndicated data that can be extended beyond television to online, place-based and print media.

Some studies that claim to measure audience responsiveness are, in fact, actually measuring recall, which is more akin to Krugman's third dimension of advertising impact, "retention," than to Eckman's more relevant "persuasion." Other behavioral studies are measuring sales or specific actions taken as a result of advertising. These studies deliver on the fifth dimension of advertising effectiveness: commerce and direct return on investment. In the next several years, numerous behavioral and empirical research studies will inevitably emerge to offer their unique 'take' on audience attentiveness and responsiveness to advertising.

4. Friends & Family Environment

Myers Emotional Connections research has identified two variables that contribute to "friends and family environment." These two variables are incorporated as measures in Myers Emotional Connections Studies, with respondents rating every TV program they typically view on a one-to-seven scale for both attributes. (These questions are revised appropriately to adapt to TV networks, websites and publications.)

  1. I am comfortable viewing this program with my family.
  2. I enjoy viewing this program with my friends.

This key dimension reinforces the policy of a growing number of marketers to evaluate program content before placing commercial messages in them. The Myers study is the only syndicated measure available to evaluate viewer perceptions of family environment and group viewing for every primetime broadcast and cable network program, and it will be extended to other dayparts and media.

Myers' research demonstrates that "viewer comfort watching specific TV shows with family members" has little correlation to their engagement with the content or their attentiveness and responsiveness to advertising appearing in that content. Viewers' ratings of "comfort viewing with family" has little correlation to ratings of their engagement, attentiveness and responsiveness.

5. Commerce and Direct ROI Measures

The expansion of interactive media in the next two decades will drive integration of transactional links into virtually all advertising messages in all media. In addition to direct commerce and information links, marketers will encourage audiences to engage with a growing variety of connection points, ranging from Internet URLs and telescoping (linking from short-form messages to long-form advertising-on-demand videos) to mobile coupons.

With a growing array of information available based on consumer interactions with their computer, television, mobile devices, out-of-home devices, and yet-unknown media distribution technologies, three forms of behavioral measures will evolve:

  • Behavioral data on media consumption
  • Actual transactions and sales
  • The integration of these two measurement models

While a massive wealth of behavioral information is already available and the amount will grow exponentially, it is difficult to translate that data into actionable knowledge. The glut of information is, at best, difficult to manage. Most behavioral research will be the domain of traditional media measurement companies who are best equipped to deliver compressed reports. What most of these services fail to identify is the depth of the relationship, the emotional bond formed between advertisers and consumers, and the impact of this bond on purchasing behavior. New tools will evolve that embrace the importance of emotional connections and that connect emotional insights to transactional behavior.

A primary added requirement of R-O-I research will be measurement of advertising's impact on indirect sales. In addition to direct marketing techniques that measure direct response, marketers will need to understand the impact of their advertising campaigns on total brand sales, total company revenues, brand equity, and investor value.

Several marketers currently use customized marketing and media mix analytics to assess the impact and value of their brand advertising. These studies provide important insights and guidelines. Custom research will gain importance as marketers seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors and define the most successful competitive strategies. Custom sales data will be integrated with syndicated media management systems being developed by Backchannel Media and possible other data aggregators to define the impact of media decisions on purchase behavior.

Google and an array of other companies are developing systems for online buying and selling of media inventory. These systems will also be integrated with compatible syndicated media management systems to define the impact of media decisions on purchase behavior.

This fifth dimension of advertising effectiveness, commerce and R-O-I, is the least developed of all dimensions and offers growth and expansion opportunities for traditional media research companies, research entrepreneurs, data collection and integration providers, and marketing mix modeling companies.

If the Myers Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness are the holy grail of advertising for the first decade of the 21st century, several more holy grails of R-O-I measurement can be expected to be discovered in the next several years and decades.

Here again are the Five Dimensions of Advertising Effectiveness, a template and guideline for marketing strategies and a focal point for research development.

    • Audience Reach
    • Audience Engagement with Content
    • Audience Attentiveness and Responsiveness to Advertising
    • Friends & Family Environment
    • Commerce & Direct ROI




For more information, or to comment on this report, contact Jack Myers at jm@jackmyers.com

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