Striking a Balance: Privacy, Personalization & Profit


Modern digital privacy laws, while well-intentioned, carry significant unintended consequences. On September 12, industry experts joined us for a virtual Town Hall and discussed the unintended consequences of privacy regulations on marketers, consumers, the industry and society—as well as shared actionable strategies that can be used to mitigate their impacts.

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How Effective are Cause-Related Messages in Advertising Today?

  • CMO Brief

During the last five years, we have seen an upswing and change in the inclusion of values in advertising, especially the increase in cause-related marketing (CRM) which includes messages about societal goals such as sustainability, ESG (environmental, social and governance) and DEI (diversity, equity/equality and inclusion). Given marketers’ interest in these issues—ranging from wanting to express support for causes to being concerned about a possible backlash—the ARF has reviewed the research on cause-related marketing as well as related issues, such as ads with more general pro-social and altruistic messages. ARF researchers conclude that ads with cause-related messages can be effective, but many are not. Future research should focus on which kinds of messages are most effective among different consumer groups.

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The Attention Measurement Validation Initiative: Literature Review

Attention metrics are at a pivotal point in our industry. They are moving from the lab into the marketplace. Being at the forefront of such research, the ARF is studying 23 attention measurement providers. The goals of the study are to better understand the different tools being used, their validity, reproducibility and rightful application—whether in evaluating ad creative or the media environment. In the first phase of the project, ARF researchers produced a literature review, which itself is illuminating and adds much needed context. We now offer this review to our members. In addition, the first phase will also include a comparative analysis and profiling of all the participating measurement companies. Stay tuned for this upcoming report.

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Spillover Effects Make Consumers with Weak Social Ties Effective Targets


Chinese researchers have found that social media advertising can make a significant impact on people who are socially connected to the viewers of ads—even more so than on the targeted viewers. This effect is strongest among consumers with weaker rather than strong social ties, and it challenges targeting methods rooted in customer centricity models.

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