Digital Metrics: Getting to the Other 50 Percent

Digital Metrics: Getting to the Other 50 Percent

Michelle R. Nelson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA) and Helen Katz (Starcom Mediavest Group, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-792-8.ch017


This chapter reviews measures of advertising effectiveness in research and practice from the pre-digital to the digital era. A focus on efficacy and ethics in terms of measurement and consumer privacy issues associated with collecting, monitoring and learning from digital metrics is discussed. Research questions related to persuasion knowledge and digital privacy are posed.
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“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” John Wanamaker, (attributed) U.S. department store merchant (1838–1922)


Metrics: Advertising Effectiveness Then: The Eyeballs (And Ears) Have It

Measurement of advertising effectiveness–whether digital or not–should conform to advertising objectives (Li & Leckenby 2007). So if the objective of an advertising campaign is to increase brand awareness, then a direct response behavioral metric, such as how many times someone clicked on a banner ad, may not be the most appropriate measure. Indeed, our contemporary thinking about advertising objectives and measurement goes back more than one hundred years. The earliest model of advertising effectiveness, created in 1898 by Elmo St. Lewis, focused on ‘attention, interest, desire, and action’ (AIDA) (Barry 1987). Subsequent academic models of effectiveness, such as the “hierarchy of effects” model by Lavidge and Steiner (1961), also focused on cognition (thinking), affection (liking) and conation (behavior). Although Ray (1973) found some evidence for the existence of cognition, affection, and conation, there have been critiques of such hierarchical models of advertising effectiveness (see Robertson 1970; Weilbacher 2001). Measures of advertising effectiveness in academic studies have largely followed these hierarchies–including advertising recall or recognition (for cognition), attitude toward the ad and ad liking (for affection) and conation (usually purchase intent).

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