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Measuring Advertising Readership and Results






Starch D. Measuring Advertising Readership and Results. – N. Y. : McGraw-Hill, 1966. – 270 p.








My purpose in writing this book is to bring together what we have found out about (1) the perception of the advertising message, the observation and reading of advertisements, (2) the effect of advertising on the purchase and use of products, that is, on sales, and (3) the people and households that constitute the markets reached by various media of communication. I have given much detailed consideration to the methods by which these problems have been investigated, specifically to the problems involved in measuring the readership of advertisements and especially to the recent efforts to measure the selling effect of advertising and to the methodology involved in studying media audiences and their markets. Finally, I have discussed the place of dynamic marketing and advertising in a competitive economy.

The earliest research relating to advertising was undertaken by psychologists. This was natural since the problems are concerned essentially with human behavior. The first inquiries were made around 1900 by Harlow S. Gale at the University of Minnesota, reported in his Psychology of Advertising, and by Walter Dill Scott at Northwestern University, reported in his two books The Theory of Advertising (1903) and The Psychology of Advertising (1908). Scott's contribution was outstanding. He made the first attempt at analyzing the whole area of psychological problems relating to advertising. In this way, he gave perspective and impetus to the study of consumer-marketing psychology. Incidentally, my own interest was first drawn to problems in this field when I was a graduate student at the University of Iowa through a series of invited lectures by Scott.

My own studies were begun in 1907 when I was a graduate student at Harvard University and continued when I joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin in 1908. These first studies were published in Judicious Advertising magazine in 1909. Edward K. Strong at Columbia University prepared, I believe, the first doctoral dissertation in the field of advertising (1911), entitled "The Relative Merit of Advertisements". About the same time, Harry L. Hollingworth, also at Columbia University, studied various psychological problems relating to advertising. His Advertising and Selling was published in 1913. My own first book, Advertising Principles, designed as a textbook, was published in 1914, and my large book, Principles of Advertising, was published in 1923. Among the early analyses of marketing and advertising problems were those made by Lee Galloway at New York University and by Ralph Starr Butler, then at the University of Wisconsin, and published in 1911 in a book entitled Advertising, Selling and Credits. Also among the early publications was Advertising, Its Principles and Practices (1915), written jointly by H. Tipper, H. L. Hollingworth, G. B. Hotchkiss, and F. A. Parsons.

In 1930, when I was contemplating starting a continuing program of measuring readership of advertisements and issuing reports to clients, I outlined my idea to a prominent advertising agency executive. His response was, "Don't do it. You can't do it satisfactorily and it would cause a lot of trouble". Some years later by coincidence, I met him again, crossing the concourse in Grand Central Station in New York. He said to me, "Well, I hear you got your program going all right. That's fine. Don't forget I helped you get started". He was sincere in his comments, I am sure, in that he had been helpful to me in stimulating research in various other areas. I felt then, as I have felt since, that better understanding of advertising problems could be attained and better performance could be achieved by finding a way to measure perception of advertising messages and their effects on the perceivers in inducing buying action.

Over the years, I have been helped greatly both by my associates in our business enterprise and by our clients. Among my present associates of many years' standing are Howard A. Stone, Stan M. Sargent, D. Morgan New, and Frank M. Powell. Two farmer associates in the early years were T. Mills Shepard and Kenneth A. Grubb. To all of them, I am grateful.

Daniel Starch






1. Communication in Human Behavior

Human society and communication Advertising Science or art?



2. Measuring Advertisement Readership

Beginnings by Walter Dill Scott–1903 Laboratory studies by Edward K. Strong–1912 The Starch Recognition Procedure–1922 Four essential requirements Studies by George H. Gallup What is readership? Description of the Starch Recognition Procedure Coding Interviewing procedure Recording data Supervision of interviewers

3. Validity of the Recognition Method

Criteria of validity The issue reader Extent of memory confusion Fallacies in bogus ad tests Size of memory error Eye-camera records and recognition scores Readership of editorial articles Readership of articles and advertisements on facing pages Readership findings and inquiry records Do the findings fit together? Some further examples

4. Size of Sample of Respondents

Required size of sample for degrees of variability Actual and theoretical variability of scores compared Size of sample for practical decisions

5. Readership and Thickness of Issues

Readership and number of pages in an issue Readership and number of advertisements per issue Thickness of newspapers Interviewing fatigue Corroboration from coupon inquiries

6. Readership and Position of Advertisements in Issues

Two kinds of positions Preferred positions Readership and space rates Inside positions Confirmation by inquiry records Position in business publications Position in newspapers

7. Readership of Advertisements in Color

Twofold function of color Increase in use of color Effectiveness of color in attracting readers Corroboration from inquiries Cost and readership compared

8. Readership and Size of Advertisements

Size and readership Size and inquiries Junior-page ads Readership of junior pages Conclusions about advertisement size Multipage ads Gate fold ads Inserts and adjacent advertisements

9. Readership and Shape of Advertisements

Quarter-page ads Sideways position Shape of newspaper advertisements

10. Layout and Readership of Advertisements

An advertisement analysis chart Factors leading to full reading of advertisements Craftsmanship and mechanics

11. Readership and Inherent Human Interests

Factors influencing readership Inherent interests of men and women Chief interests of men Chief interests of women Advertisements in different product groups corresponding interest levels

12. Readership of Repeated Advertisements

Effect of repeated advertisements Maintaining readership levels *• Reaching the entire audience

13. Readership of Various Types of Advertisements

Different types of advertisements Editorial advertisements Long versus short advertisements Comic continuity advertisements Readership by teen-agers versus adults Premium advertisements Product purchases by premium ad readers Advertisements using fine art

14. The Meaning of Readership Scores

Three degrees of readership Importance of high readership

15. How to Use Readership Measurements

Purpose of readership studies Using readership data Tabulation of readership scores Controlling variables An example of readership analysis–Maytag

16. Impressions and Meaning Conveyed by Advertisements

Ascertaining what an advertisement communicates Uniform neutral probing Focusing attention on different parts of an advertisement Relation of impression studies to readership studies Pretesting and post-testing Pretesting with the impression technique Pretesting and post-testing findings compared



17. Measuring Advertising Effects

Advertising at work Purchase rates and ad-containing issues Ad reader and non-ad-reader purchase rates Readership versus no-readership interviews Immediate effects on buying rate Immediate and delayed effects of advertising Corroboration by other studies The advertiser's dollar Net purchases and advertising cost The NETAPPS method

18. Requirements of Scientific Procedure

Four requirements Net effects Computing NETAPPS The effect of readership and persuasiveness Selectivity of ad perception Applying the NETAPPS procedure Sales volume and advertising effectiveness

19. Recent Studies in Measuring Advertising Effects

The inferential approach The quasi-direct approach The Harvard-Fort Wayne experiment Limitations of the methods The direct approach Evaluating TV advertising effectiveness TV and magazine intermedia advertising effects The Oscar Mayer radio experiment

20. Differences in Activating Power of Advertisements

The advertisement: the prime activator Campbell's soup Sales and advertising cost NETAPPS Value of net purchases NETAPPS per dollar of advertising cost The ad message Dial soap Advertising and current purchases NETAPPS Value of net purchases NETAPPS per dollar of advertising cost The ad message Buffer in Readership and cost Readership and brand use Readership and buying action NETAPPS NETAPPS per dollar of advertising cost The ad message

21. Measuring Effects of Advertisements of Infrequently Purchased Products

Linking consumer needs and product names Brand awareness, acceptance, and purchases Automobile advertisements Refrigerator advertisements Washer-dryer advertisements Insurance advertisements Brand preference in consecutive weeks SUMMARY



22. Media and Markets

People as markets Media audiences as separate markets • Measuring media-market characteristics

23. Differences in Media Markets

Audience characteristics Market characteristics Composition of media households Total household income Age of male head of household Home ownership and mobility Occupation of head of household Education of male head of household Product ownership within media markets Brand loyalty

24. Influence of Advertising on Media Markets

Brand purchase and use Brand purchase levels in different media markets Brand-use levels and amount of advertising Total ad perceptions Ad perceptions and sales Number of ad perceptions and size of market TAPS and NETAPPS for old versus new brands Size and frequency of advertisements Need for continuous cultivation

25. Frequency of Advertisements in a Medium's Market

Advertising necessary to hold share of market Data needed Deterioration of brand image

26. Measuring a Campaign's Total Impact

Cumulative TAPS Cost of reader impact Advertising cost per unit sold



27. The Place of Advertising in Business

Advertising and competitive economy Function of advertising Advertising accountability Input and output accountability

28. Advertising and Other Business Costs

Advertising cost and performance in current business Cost of advertising Ad readership Cost of ad readers Increase in sales effectiveness Advertising costs and Gross National Product

29. End-of-book Reflections

On creativity On advertising theory  On true professionalism


Fifty Years of Consumer Psychology




Human Society and Communication

Communication among human beings is the means by which human society carries on. Primitive man made signs and sounds to reveal his inner feelings and thoughts and to tell others what to do. He drew pictures on the walls of his cave to preserve what he said and did. Through communication, individuals became organized into tribes and tribes into nations. Without communication, including complex systems of symbols for preserving the lessons of experience for others, there can be little progress and no complex forms of society. Education depends on communication. Business depends on it. Government depends on it. All forms of dealing with people depend on communication.

Furthermore, ideas hidden within one's mind are of little value unless communicated. Communication includes not merely language, the means of expressing inner mental activities, but also the content of the things communicated, the ideas, images, attitudes, and desires expressed by a system of symbols. In a real sense, the inner mental processes and the outer symbols expressing them are the two sides of the same entity. Communication is, therefore, the unifying process by which the behavior of man, the events of history, the organization of government, and the evolution of culture can be understood and fitted together.

It is not too much to say that discovery and communication are the two major occupations of mankind that contribute most to the march of civilization. The discovery of new knowledge through research and experience and the formulation of principles through flashes of insight to organize and unify knowledge, on the one hand, and the communication of this knowledge to contemporaries and to succeeding generations, on the other, are the two activities that alone make for progress.




Advertising is communication. It is the paid form of mass communication designed to influence people to favor a product in order to induce them to buy it. In other words, advertising is mass selling.

The chief problems of advertising as a form of paid mass communication center around two points, the message and the medium that carries the message. The chief problems concerning the message are what to say and how to say it. The chief problems concerning the medium are where to say it and how often. An important concept to bear in mind at the outset is that an advertisement can be effective only if it is perceived by someone and leads that person to buy the product. Mere exposure to the medium that carries the advertisement without actual perception of the message is of no avail.

Advertisements to be effective must be perceived. The advertisement is the heart, the moving force, of the advertising business. The medium, the bearer of the message, must be so selected that it carries the advertisement to the people who constitute the market for the product concerned.

This analysis suggests the major areas for our discussion. These areas are:

Part I. Perception of the Advertising Message

Part II. Effects of the Advertising Message

Part III. Carriers of the Advertising Message

Part IV. Advertising in a Competitive Economy

These problems will be approached primarily from the standpoint of the measurement of the processes involved and the effects produced. Research in these fields has been carried on since the turn of the century but actively and continuously since the early 1930s. Much information has been accumulated over these years. The major findings will be summarized in subsequent chapters. Throughout this discussion, bear in mind, first, that the perception of the advertising message is basic since only those who perceive the advertising message can be influenced by it, and second, that the ultimate measure of advertising performance is buying action.

In planning a marketing program, management must first of all decide on the strategy for marketing its products. Along with this it must further decide to what extent advertising can be used effectively in marketing its products. Then in preparing its advertising campaigns it fates the same problems as outlined above: the message, what to say and how to say it; and the medium to carry the message, where to say it and how often, to prospective buyers of the product.

Management today is more urgently demanding evaluation of advertising performance. The central problem, probably the most important one as well as the one most difficult to solve, is the problem of measuring the selling effect of advertising. Executives are demanding to know what a given amount of advertising at a given cost will produce in sales and profits. Approaches to this problem and findings thus far reported are discussed in several chapters. Special tests or experiments to measure the effect of advertising can obviously be carried out at considerable cost. The crux of the problem is a technique for measuring the selling effect of current advertisements as they appear. Real progress has been made. Science or art? The question is sometimes raised whether advertising is a science or an art. Actually, it is both. In so far as there is sound research and organized information, it is a science. In so far as the implementation of advertising is a matter of judgment, it is an art. The same holds true for marketing as a whole. The organized knowledge is science, the implementation of plans is art. The same holds true even for the older professions of engineering, medicine, and law. The sound, organized knowledge of each is science; the practice is art. One difference among the various professions is the relative amount of organized knowledge and the relative range of professional judgment in the practice of the profession. Marketing and advertising are still very limited in sound, organized knowledge and must rely heavily on intuition and practical judgment. The engineer, despite a large body of precise knowledge, still has to depend a good deal on judgment when it comes to building a bridge. The judge in court, with libraries of records and centuries of decisions behind him, must nevertheless decide each case before him according to his best judgment…"


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See also:

The Effect of Advertising and Display

Advertising and Human Memory

Communications of an Advertising Man

Books on Advertising

Books on PR

Books on Mass Media