Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Other fields of psychology: AI · Computer · Consulting · Consumer · Engineering · Environmental · Forensic · Military · Sport · Transpersonal · Index

In consumer research, advertising research is a specialized form of marketing research conducted to monitor the effects of, and improve the efficacy of advertising. According to, “It may focus on a specific ad or campaign, or may be directed at a more general understanding of how advertising works or how consumers use the information in advertising. It can entail a variety of research approaches, including psychological, sociological, economic, and other perspectives.” [1]


1879 - N.W. Ayer conducts custom research in an attempt to win the advertising business of Nichols-Shepard Co., a manufacturer of agricultural machinery. (Honomichl p.173)

1895 - Harlow Gale of the University of Minnesota mails questionnaires to gather opinions about advertising from the public. (Honomichl p.173)

1900s - George B. Waldron conducts qualitative research for Mahin’s Adverstising Agency (Honomichl pp.173-174)

1910s - 1911 can be considered the year market research becomes an industry. That year, J. George Frederick leaves his position as editor of Printer’s Ink to begin his research company, the Business Bourse with clients such as General Electric and the Texas Co. Also in 1911, Kellogg Co.’s ad manager, R.O. Eastman creates the Association of National Advertisers which is now known as the Association of National Advertising Managers. The group’s first project is a postcard questionnaire to determine magazine readership. The results introduce the concept of duplication of circulation. In 1916, R.O. Eastman starts his own company, the Eastman Research Bureau which boasts clients such as Cosmopolitan, Christian Herald, and General Electric. (Honomichl p. 174).

1920s - In 1922, Dr. Daniel Starch tests reader recognition levels of magazine and newspaper advertisements and editorial content. In 1923, Dr. George Gallup begins measuring advertising readership. (Honomichl p. 174)

1930s - In 1936, Dr. George Gallup validates his survey methodology by using the same tools polling voters during public elections. This allows him to successfully compare and validate his study's results against the election’s results. (Honomichl p.175)

1940s - Post World War II, the U.S. sees a large increase in the number of market research companies. (Honomichl p.175)

1950s - Market researchers focus on improving methods and measures. In their search for a single-number statistic to capture the overall performance of the advertising creative, Day-After-Recall (DAR) is created. (Young, p.6)

1960s - Qualitative focus groups gain in popularity. [2]

1970s - Computers emerge as business tools, allowing researchers to conduct large-scale data manipulations. (Honomichl p.175) Multiple studies prove DAR (Recall) scores do not predict sales. The measure, persuasion, also known as motivation, is validated as a predictor of sales. (Young, pp. 34-35) The measure known as “breakthrough” is re-examined by researchers who make a distinction between the attention-getting power of the creative execution (attention) and how well “branded” the ad is (brand linkage). (Young, April 2005, p. 5) Herbert Krugman seeks to measure non-verbal measures biologically by tracking brain wave activities as respondents watch commercials. (Krugman) Others experiment with galvanic skin response, voice pitch analysis, and eye-tracking. (Young, p.10)

1980s - Researchers begin to view commercials as a “structured flow of experience” rather than a single unit to be rated on the whole, creating moment-by-moment systems such as the dial-a-meter. (Young, p.24)

1990s - Ameritest Research creates Picture Sorts to provide accurate non-verbal measurements in a moment-by-moment system. Picture Sorts results are graphed to visually represent commercial viewers' moment-by-moment image recognition (Flow of Attention), positive and negative feelings (Flow of Emotion), and brand values (Flow of Meaning). (Young, pp.21-26)

2000s - Global advertisers seek an integrated marketing research system that will work worldwide so they can compare results across countries.. (Young, April 2005, pp. 127-135) For a look at trends predicted for advertising research in the 21st century, see Seven Trends for the Future.

Types of Advertising ResearchEdit

Research can be conducted to optimize advertisements for any medium: radio, television, print (magazine, newspaper or direct mail), outdoor billboard (highway, bus, or train), or Internet. Different methods would be applied to gather the necessary data appropriately. First, there are two types of research, customized and syndicated. Customized research is conducted for a specific client to address that client’s needs. Only that client has access to the results of the research. Syndicated research is a single research study conducted by a research company with its results available, for sale, to multiple companies. [3]


Pre-testing, also known as copy testing, is a form of customized research that predicts in-market performance of an ad, before it airs, by analyzing audience levels of attention, brand linkage, motivation, entertainment, and communication, as well as breaking down the ad’s Flow of Attention and Flow of Emotion. (Young, p.213) Pre-testing is also used on ads still in rough form – e.g., animatics or ripomatics. Pre-testing is also used to identify weak spots within an ad to improve performance, to more effectively edit 60’s to 30’s or 30’s to 15’s, to select images from the spot to use in an integrated campaign’s print ad, to pull out the key moments for use in ad tracking, and to identify branding moments. [4]


Post-testing/Ad tracking studies can be customized or syndicated. Tracking studies provide either periodic or continuous in-market research monitoring a brand’s performance, including brand awareness, brand preference, product usage and attitudes. Advertising tracking can be done by telephone interviews or online interviews—with the two approaches producing fundamentally different measures of consumer memories of advertising, recall versus recognition.

Advertising research companies:Edit



  • Honomichl, J. J., Honomichl on Marketing Research, Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books, 1986.
  • Krugman, H., Memory Without Recall, Exposure Without Perception. Journal of Advertising Research, July/August, 1977.
  • Young, Charles E., The Advertising Research Handbook, Ideas in Flight, Seattle, WA, April 2005, ISBN 0-9765574-0-1

External linksEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.