Advertising awareness and recall metrics

Advertising awareness metrics

In addition to measuring brand awareness, firms will often look to measure advertising awareness through a similar/same survey of the target market. This would be an extension of the questionnaire discussed in the article on brand awareness metrics.

There are four main advertising awareness metrics that can be measured through a questionnaire, namely;

  1. unprompted advertising awareness
  2. prompted advertising awareness
  3. total advertising awareness
  4. advertising message recall

Note: Unprompted and prompted awareness is also referred to as unaided and aided awareness.

Let’s consider the questions that would be asked in a survey for these metrics, as follows:

  1. Which fast food chains do you recall being advertised on TV recently?
  2. Have you see any TV advertising for McDonald’s? (The interviewer would then repeat for any other fast food brands not mentioned by the respondent in question one.)
  3. For the McDonald’s advertising that you recall, what is the main message of those TV commercials? (The interviewer would then repeat the question for all brands where the respondent was able to recall the brand’s advertising.)

Note: While this questionnaire refers to TV advertising, the questions could be structured for advertising overall, of for any specific advertising media.

Question one measures unaided/prompted advertising awareness (metric one above). Question two measures prompted/aided advertising awareness (metric two above). And the results from these two questions are then added together (prompted and unprompted) to calculate total advertising awareness (metric three above).

Advertising message recall

The third question in the survey above is designed to measure how well the main message of the recent advertising campaign has been communicated. The respondent would need to describe the message or the design of the advertisement in a brief summary, and the interviewer would then determine whether or not the respondent has an understanding of the most recent advertising from the brand.

A high message recall result indicates that the advertising has been very effective in reaching consumers and modifying their attitudes and their understanding of the brand. However, a low message recall result may indicate that the advertising has been relatively ineffective in building a new understanding of the brand.

It is common for major brands, especially market leaders who have had years of advertising campaigns, that a respondent would remember/recall an old advertising campaign, rather than the current one. This is not a concern in itself, unless the current advertising campaign was designed to significantly modify the consumers understanding of the brand. In many cases, large brands will utilize “reminder advertising” in order to simply maintain total brand awareness.

Example of advertising awareness metrics

You can see, total advertising awareness is the sum of unprompted advertising and prompted advertising awareness. Larger brands will tend to have a higher level of both unprompted and prompted advertising awareness – simply because they tend to be better known in the marketplace.

Smaller brands should aim for a good recall of prompted awareness.

The ability to recall the message is only asked of the respondents that are aware of the advertising. In the example above, only 25% of respondents are asked to recall the advertising message for Burger King. This means that 50% of those respondents (12.5% of the total respondent base) are able to recall the advertising message, which is a very good result for a brand that tends to have ongoing advertising campaigns.

Two main measures

These advertising awareness metrics measure two things:

  1. The overall effectiveness of the advertising spend and creative approach to build the consumer’s awareness of the advertising and
  2. The overall effectiveness of the advertising creative to effectively communicate new information to the target market.

Related Topics

Brand awareness metrics

Marketing metrics associated with a hierarchy of effects model

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