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Where Is Advertising Research Headed?

A panel is curated to discuss the development of research in advertising over the past 50 years and its future.

Plus Aziz
Plus Aziz on April 1, 2011. @plusaziz

The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) is celebrating 75 years of being in the business of marketing research. The organization seeks to provide initiatives to further the role of research in marketing, quantifying consumer insights, and driving growth for clients.

ARF invited Gian Fulgoni (comScore chairman), Eileen Campbell (Global CEO of Millward Brown), and Scott McDonald (SVP of Research & Insights at Conde Nast) for a panel discussing what researchers and analysts have learned over the past 50 years, and where it’s all going. Many in-depth articles written by various speakers and colleagues at the conference can be accessed here for free.

In an ARF interview with Gian Fulgoni, he reminds us how important the introduction of scanners was in the 80′s in delivering metrics on Consumer Packaged Goods and how technology has now re-shaped the researcher’s relationship with the Internet:

“For the first time, marketers had the tools needed to quickly and accurately measure the impact of price, promotions and print/TV advertising on brand sales, develop sophisticated market mix models, and link sales lift to various promotional and advertising levers… More recently, we’ve seen disruptive technologies pave the way for Internet usage via an array of sophisticated mobile devices.”

In citing some challenges, Fulgoni expressed natural concerns about audience and media fragmentation. He also cautioned against the rising trend towards short-term thinking and sales-oriented key performance indicators:

“Many times, display ads will communicate only price-oriented messages, and while this can certainly help to generate immediate sales, one has to wonder at what cost in terms of brand value… This problem is compounded by the continued use of inappropriate metrics such as the click on an ad. While relevant for search advertising, the click on a display ad has been proven to be at best an incomplete, and at worst, a misleading metric.”

Due to the endless amount of metrics to choose from, criticizing the centrality of Click Through Rates (CTR) is a common hot topic for interactive metrics specialists. What they are aiming to foster is an appreciation for the wealth of metrics and how to best align them with larger campaign objectives.

Journal of Advertising Research Assesses 50 Years of Advertising Research with Special Anniversary Issue

A Retrospective View of 50 Years of Advertising Research by Gian Fulgoni, comScore

Image by londoninflames

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