Point of Involvement, Purchase and Consumption: The Delivery of Audience Engagement

Point of Involvement, Purchase and Consumption: The Delivery of Audience Engagement

Neal M. Burns (University of Texas, Austin, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-792-8.ch016

Abstract

Advertising effectiveness and its measurement has characteristically been a subject of concern and debate and with the availability and access of the Internet and digital technology the issue is still elusive and complex. This chapter provides a review of the measures that were frequently used to determine the audience that was impacted with traditional media resources as well as those media and message processes generally called new or “alternative” - in that they are different than the traditional electronic, print and out-of home that have been used by advertisers and their agencies for more than 100 years. The chapter reviews and discusses which measures are simply cost indices and which are measures of effectiveness. The emphasis reflects the interests of both those working in the field as practitioners as well as those involved in its research and instruction. In a profession in which decisions in the past were built upon cost per thousand (CPT or CPM), cost per point (CPP) and the challenges of ROI and share fight, the metrics for new media must be precisely defined, valid and reliable. Assessing advertising effectiveness is–as has been said–challenging. The need to inform, persuade and sell in a global marketplace with a technological base that incorporates all we have used in the past plus the networks and mobile delivery now available have already served to make this aspect of communication a compelling set of opportunities. Digital media and delivery are revolutionary and their impact will be profound. Ideally, the problems to be solved will bring those doing the research and those in practice closer than they have been in the past. The metrics to be developed and the narratives that will follow will reflect the ways in which we relate to products and services and to each other in the 21st Century.
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History, Media And Measurement

There are stories–perhaps apocryphal–about early messages (circa 900 AD) carved in the steps leading up from the sea in the Greek islands that advertised various houses of prostitution for the benefit of those sailors that had just landed. Town criers in the marketplace during Greek and Roman times announced the goods and bargains offered by mall merchants–demonstrating the value of a loud voice in the market place and the value of delivering advertising messages close to the point of purchase.

The birth of print advertising is generally attributed to ads for health and beauty aids appearing among some British newspapers in the 1600’s (British Library)–as well as occasional requests for the return of lost horses. Posting offices, where one could write and place help wanted or information about lost wagons and animals, were fairly common in British cities and co-existed for a time with newspapers. The superiority of the newspaper in terms of distribution and targeted ownership enabled the medium to flourish and in the late 1600’s published newspapers were inundated with ads. Printing, distribution and improvements in the manufacture of paper enabled magazines to soon join the genre of print media (Fleming, 1976) and content and resulting popularity served to define special interests. Magazines were quickly realized to be an excellent vehicle for the placement of ads primarily intended for the readership of the particular publication. Combined with the introduction of these advertising resources, normally delivered directly to the residence of the intended recipient, a desire to reach the audience where they worked, played and traveled developed.

The Brits again are often referenced as the introductory source of outdoor advertising signs (Fleming, 1976). In a short period of time England was so over-saturated with pasted-up notices and posters that Charles II, feeling the need for advertising regulation, pronounced, “No signs shall be hung across the streets shutting out the air and the light of the heavens” (Wallechinsky, & Wallace, 1975-1981). Yet, the apparent ease with which these outdoor messages could be posted and the rapid rate at which they proliferated were considered proof of their popularity–and for some–their effectiveness. Yet, American advertising history (Applegate, 1998) and that nation’s love of their cars and the open road certainly requires a mention. The road-side presence of Burma Shave’s small, outdoor poster boards and their windshield height, were part of almost any road trip in America. The signs came in groups of four and in sequential fashion presented a humorous rhyme–or advertising jingle/haiku - that always ended with the words “Burma Shave”. These signs preceded the widespread erection and rental of roadside billboards in the USA, and they demonstrated the appeal and recall of well designed, well placed outdoor ads (Margolin, Brichta, I., & Brichta, V., 1979). In time these developments and the importance of outdoor advertising would create the category referred to as out-of-home - OOH.

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