Advertising effect

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8 aspects of advertising effectiveness

Advertising effectiveness describes the degree of success that an advertising measure achieves in terms of sales or turnover.


The term advertising impact can generally be described as the achievement of an intended response in a targeted audience towards an advertised product using promotional activities.

With regard to different advertising goals that are pursued with the use of advertising, there are different types of advertising effect.

A distinction is often made between economic and psychological or behavioral advertising effects.

Economic advertising effect

The economic advertising effect is aimed at factors such as sales, price, turnover or the company's market share.

Psychological / behavioral advertising impact

Psychological advertising effects, on the other hand, aim at subjective factors such as attention / perception, brand knowledge (brand awareness), attitude to the brand and the company (sympathy), brand image, memory of the advertising message, purchase intention, etc.

In connection with the planning and implementation of advertising, it must be noted that the factors in the field of psychological / behavioral advertising impact are better suited to checking advertising impact due to their clearer connection with advertising measures. The mentioned variables of the economic advertising effect are subject to other influencing factors such as B. cyclical and seasonal influences or the activities of competing companies and make it difficult to assess advertising effectiveness.

Creating impact with the help of advertising

In order to generate advertising impact, advertisers should consider various factors when creating advertising, which can be largely responsible for the success of the advertising. These include:

Unique selling points compared to competing products / services:

  • Design of the advertising (conspicuous, clear-logical, appealing)
  • Measures to activate the recipient
  • Information content of advertising
  • Readability of the advertising message
  • Visibility of the brand and the company behind it

Indicators and components for recording advertising impact

In order to make the abstract construct of advertising impact, which is neither directly measurable nor observable, describable, variables (indicators) are required to measure advertising impact . Depending on the advertising objective, different indicators are used to describe the advertising impact.

The advertising impact indicators can be assigned to three components of advertising impact. A distinction is made between the cognitive, affective and conative components of the advertising effect.

Cognitive component

The cognitive effect can be used to summarize indicators of perception such as attention, advertising recall (spontaneous or supported), comprehensibility of the advertising or brand awareness.

Affective component

The affective component, on the other hand, summarizes effects, feelings or attitudes that are triggered by advertising in the consumer. Indicators such as interest in the product, evaluation and image of the brand / company, likeability of the brand, persuasiveness of advertising or the willingness to buy / relevant set of customers are listed.

Conative component

The conative component finally takes into account the behavior of consumers, which can be influenced by advertising. Often the effectiveness on the cognitive and affective level is seen as an important prerequisite for the success on the conative level. The indicators mentioned here include initiated intentions or implementation, such as the propensity and behavior of customers to buy, as well as the use of the advertised product.

Theories and models for advertising effectiveness

Due to the complexity of advertising impact processes, the dependence on numerous influencing factors and the dynamic character to which advertising impact is subject, a generally valid theory of advertising impact cannot yet be assumed. The theories and models listed, which have so far been developed by media / advertising impact research, therefore only depict partial aspects of advertising impact, but cannot represent them in their overall context.

Simplified, advertising effectiveness research distinguishes between two schools of thought, which are known as Strong Theory and Weak Theory.

Strong Theory and AIDA model

The focus of consideration of the Strong Theory is the influence of advertising on the consumer. Based on the behavioral stimulus-reaction theory, the consumer is viewed as a passive individual who can be directly influenced by advertising. A direct response from the consumer (S-R model) takes place in the form of a purchase to an advertising stimulus. The Strong Theory therefore assumes a strong media effect on the consumer, with the help of which advertising can directly change the consumer's attitudes towards a brand or a product and creates a basis of conviction for them.

The central effect element, which, according to media researchers of the Strong Theory, is aroused by advertising stimuli, is the attention of consumers, which ultimately leads to the desired reaction (purchase).

This idea of ​​Strong Theory is taken up by the step model AIDA with the four steps “Attention - Interest - Desire - Action”, which trace the course between the stimulus “advertisement” and the reaction “purchase”. The order of the stages is binding. Advertising can only be created if advertising is perceived, interest aroused and a need to buy that is ultimately intended to lead to the act of buying.

Criticism of the AIDA model was particularly evident in the passive role ascribed to the consumer and the mandatory linear sequence of the individual levels.

Weak theory and consumer decision journey model

Within the weak theory it is therefore assumed that the creation of advertising effects cannot be viewed as a rigid process in the sense of a stimulus-reaction chain and that consumers act purely passively, but rather as a dynamic process that has the greatest impact on individuals acts differently.

This idea is taken up in the consumer decision journey model. In contrast to the AIDA model, this is not a linear step model, but a circular decision-making process. This process doesn't necessarily start with advertising, but advertising at the right touchpoints can steer the journey in the right direction.

Hierarchy of effects model according to Ray (1973)

In 1973 Ray formulated three different models, known as the hierarchy-of-effects model, which indicate a more dynamic relationship between the needs of the recipient and the product being advertised.

Ray assumes that advertising effectiveness is influenced by the type of product and the involvement of the recipient, who can show different interests in products or whose needs to deal intensively with the advantages and disadvantages of a product can vary greatly.

The starting point of the models in the “hierarchy of effects model” are the learning effects “learning” (cognition), “attitude change” (affect) and “behavior change” (conation), which take place in different order.

Learning hierarchy

The course of the model is characterized by the hierarchy “learning-attitude change-behavior change”.

The recipient first acquires information about a product (learning) and on this basis ultimately forms an opinion about it (change of attitude), which can ultimately lead to the purchase of the product (change in behavior).

The model of the learning hierarchy is thus similar to the classic AIDA model in structure and process and requires advertising measures that can clearly highlight the unique selling points of a product as well as recipients who show a strong interest in the product or who are intensely aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the Discuss the product (e.g. purchase a high-priced technical item).

Dissonance attribution hierarchy

In addition to the recipients involved, the model focuses on product alternatives that can hardly be differentiated and cause a change in the effects of learning. The starting point of the model is a change in behavior (e.g. trial purchase of a competing product contrary to personal habits), which leads to dissonance (tension) on the part of the consumer, who begins to look for arguments (attributes) that reflect the positive characteristics (e.g. quality and price) of the purchased product and justify the purchase. After the change in behavior, a targeted search for information on the product leads to a change in attitude and a learning process.

With the model of the “dissonance attribution hierarchy”, the focus is placed on products in which a recipient is interested, but whose quality he cannot sufficiently convince himself of before making a purchase.

Low hierarchy involvement

The focus of the model is formed by product alternatives that can hardly be differentiated (e.g. products in saturated markets such as shampoos) and less involved recipients. As a result of increased advertising measures, this model assumes that consumers are only slightly influenced by advertising for certain product groups (e.g. food) and that they make intelligent / conscious purchase decisions. In order to create an advertising effect, pressure is exerted on the consumer through repeated and intensive advertising, which should lead to a learning effect (e.g. increasing brand or product awareness).

This learning effect (memory of the advertised product) in turn leads to a change in behavior, which z. B. in test purchases. On this basis, concrete experiences of the consumer with regard to the purchased products then develop (change of attitude). If the experience with the respective product is rated as positive, repeat purchases and thus brand loyalty can be achieved. The "low hierarchy involvement model" thus primarily describes the advertising effect that aims to strengthen a brand relationship through positive product experiences on the part of consumers.

Alternative-way model by Batra and Ray (1985)

The alternative way model by Batra and Ray takes up the idea of ​​the different involvement of recipients and in this context refers to alternative ways to generate advertising impact for recipients who are differently involved.

In addition to advertising measures that put product information in the foreground, attention is also drawn to advertising effectiveness through sympathy and frequent repetitions.

If the involvement of the recipient is high, he is more inclined to process product properties using pros and cons arguments and to decide on a purchase action on this basis.

If recipients show a low degree of involvement, the time-consuming examination of product information is often avoided. Rather, the decision for or against a product is made on the basis of won sympathy. If advertising appears likeable, a positive change in attitudes is recorded on the part of the recipient, on the basis of which the advertised product can be purchased. An opinion (learning effect) on the purchased product is only made afterwards.

In addition, frequent advertising repetitions with recipients with low involvement can lead to increased brand awareness and thus activate the need to try out a product.

In the case of recipients with little involvement, the design of advertising measures therefore plays a major role in order to motivate them to take an action (e.g. purchase).

Five Effects of Advertising Model by Rossiter & Percy (1995)

The five-effects-of-advertising model by Rossiter and Percy is one of the newer models of advertising impact research and addresses the different communication effects of advertising and the requirements that must be met in order to turn recipients into consumers.

A distinction is made between the following five requirements:

  1. Category need on the part of the recipient that can be satisfied by a certain product (e.g. hunger that can be relieved by consuming a food such as a chocolate bar).
  2. Brand awareness / recognition value , which make the recipient aware that the product XY from company Z falls into the product category relevant to him in order to satisfy his current needs and enables him to recognize the corresponding product when shopping.
  3. Positive attitude towards the advertised product as well as developing an awareness that precisely this product is best suited to meet one's own needs.
  4. Develop a purchase intention that prompts the recipient to actually choose and purchase this product.
  5. Providing purchase facilitation that makes it clear to the recipient that there are no reasons that prevent the purchase of the advertised product (e.g. financing option).

Compared to the AIDA model, the stages in this model are not all absolutely necessary in order to design advertising effectively or they do not have to be run through in a linear manner.

Recipients may well already have brand knowledge and have positive attitudes towards the advertised products, so that advertising can build on these categories. Nevertheless, when designing advertising, one should be aware of the overall meaning of the five communication effects for achieving a sales transaction.

In this way, recipients who already have brand and product knowledge and who have a positive attitude can make a purchase decision about an advertised product negative if the effect of making it easier to buy is not offered (e.g. where can the product be bought? What financing am I offered?)


  1. ^ A b Springer Gabler Verlag (ed.), Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon, keyword: advertising effects
  2. See Schweiger and Schrattenecker 1995, pp. 15–17;
  3. Burst, Michael: advertising effectiveness research. Theories, methods, applications. SevenOne Media GmbH (Ed.), 2002, p. 10
  4. Brosius, Hans-Bernd: Models and approaches of media effects research . Bonn 1997, p. 13.
  5. ^ David Court et al .: The consumer decision journey . In: (Ed.): McKinsey Quarterly . June 2009.
  6. Moser, Klaus: Modelle der Werbewirkung , in: Yearbook of Sales and Consumption Research , 43rd Jg., 3/1997, p. 273.