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A Preview of the Journal of Advertising Research

September 2017 (Vol. 57, Issue 3)



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Editor’s Desk
What Do We Know about Mobile Media and Marketing?
Dr. John B. Ford previews this Journal edition’s special package on mobile media and marketing, acknowledging the “relatively new” body of work in this area. “Everywhere we look, it is immediately obvious how much the mobile phone is an integral part of daily life,” Ford notes. “Yet, the medium is still relatively new to advertising research, particularly among academics who have devoted recent years of study to this topic.” As Ford settles into his new role as Editor-in-Chief, he salutes both his predecessor, Geoffrey Precourt (now Editor Emeritus), and former JAR Co-Executive Editor, Jennifer Romaniuk, for their influence on the Journal’s success.

Speaker’s Box
The Ancient History of Advertising: Insights and Implications for Practitioners
What Today’s Advertisers and Marketers Can Learn from Their Predecessors
History often eludes an industry that seems to reinvent itself daily, with new platforms, new media and new data sources, charges Fred K. Beard, professor of advertising in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. His review of ancient history of advertising—as far back as the early Mesopotamians, Chinese, Greeks and Romans—challenges the prevalent belief that nothing remotely resembling “modern” advertising existed before it was “invented” by 20th-century American pioneers. Beard explores some ideas, practices, and events that contributed to the history of advertising and advertising thought before the 19th century, asking:

  • “Do other biases in advertising’s historiography limit the ability to see how the past has helped shape the present?”
  • “Can a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the ancient history of advertising and branding…inform the beliefs and practices of its 21st-century practitioners in any meaningful or even interesting ways?” 


Numbers, Please
Are You Using the Right Mobile Advertising Metrics?
How Relevant Mobile Measures Change the Cross-Platform Advertising Equation
In February 2016, GroupM’s WPP CEO Martin Sorrell told AdAge, “The mobile revolution hasn’t registered yet with companies.” Not much has changed since then, according to comScore’s CEO Gian M. Fulgoni and SVP marketing and insights Andrew Lipsman, because many advertisers continue to underestimate the benefits and potential of this medium. The reason, our columnists believe: “The right mobile metrics are within advertisers’ grasp, but the wrong ones often are consulted.” Indeed, mobile offers what brand marketers need in the way of “strong reach, high engagement, exceptional targeting, proven effectiveness, and efficiency in delivering against campaign key performance indicators.” The authors urge: “It’s time to set the record straight on which metrics do and do not matter for evaluating mobile advertising in the context of cross-platform campaigns.” They contend:

  • Relying on click-through rates for gauging mobile advertising effectiveness may be the wrong choice “when consistent measures of mobile branding and sales-lift effectiveness are available.”
  • “Mobile viewability ought to be anchored to whatever minimum view time drives meaningful lifts in brand metrics, rather than to any previous standards for digital advertising on desktop.”
  • “Monthly audience numbers should be supplemented with daily audience numbers to improve comparability with television on the ability to deliver reach efficiently.”

Examining Consumers’ Multiplatform Usage and Its Contribution to Their Trust in Advertising: The Impact of the Device on Platform-Use Frequency and Trust in Advertising across Platforms
Usage across platforms has brought new attention to the role of consumer trust, according to Kristin Stewart (assistant professor of marketing, California State University San Marcos) and Isabella Cunningham (the Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor in Communications at the University of Texas at Austin) The authors’ assessment of usage and response metrics across platforms shows that use frequency contributes to consumers’ trust in advertising, with age also playing a meaningful role. But there are “few metrics that account for consumers’ reaction to a message as a function of their interaction with the messaging platform,” the authors suggest. Examining platform use across a variety of consumers, they found that the greater use of particular platforms bred greater levels of trust:

  • “Younger adults will prefer the efficiency-related functional communication provided by interactive mobile platforms, as opposed to other platform types.”
  • “Conversely, older adults use television more and mobile less. Armed with this knowledge, advertisers better can target relevant age groups.”
  • “Platform-use frequency of consumers’ interaction with certain platforms changes, therefore, so should the distribution of advertising dollars.”

When Are Apps Worth Paying For? How Marketers Can Analyze the Market Performance of Mobile Apps
Mobile apps help build bonds between advertisers and consumers and keep the brand top-of-mind. But what can we tell companies about ensuring the success of these apps? In this study, an international team of scholars strove to improve the understanding and methods for evaluating the market performance of mobile apps. Lara Stocchi, (senior lecturer in marketing at Flinders Business School, Adelaide, Australia), Carolina Guerini (associate professor in marketing at LIUC University [Castellanza, Italy] and Bocconi University [Milan]), and Nina Michaelidou (reader in marketing at England’s Loughborough University) found that

  • “Apps linked to an offline or online brand can attract more users and obtain stronger brand image if made available to consumers at no cost.”
  • “Apps branded independently attract more users and obtain stronger brand image if offered at a price.”
  • “Managers should treat the app as a branded extension and an add-on to the promotional mix, as a way to appeal to the existing customers of the brand.”
  • “Managers should, by default, make the app available to consumers at a price, as a way to convey a price-quality advantage and a sense of uniqueness over the many free apps available

Positive Side Effects of In-App Reward Advertising—Free Items Boost Sales: A Focus on Sampling Effects
Given the potential use of apps to build bridges to continuous customer relationships, two authors from South Korea analyzed the use of in-app reward advertisements to generate in-app purchases. Joowon Lee (research fellow at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejon) and Dong-Hee Shin (full professor of the School of Media and Communication at Chung-Ang University, Seoul) studied the use of free games for mobile users. Given the number of free apps in the marketplace, the authors suggest that one way companies have monetized their apps is by “inducing users to make in-app purchases by selling virtual game items to users in their apps.” But:

  • Research “conducted in the area of in-app advertisements primarily has examined security and privacy.”
  • “Mobile game items are typical information goods but also have the traits of physical search goods, in that they tend to function as actual goods in the virtual world.”
  • “Free mobile game items in the form of reward as product sampling in the virtual world… can be highly effective in increasing game-item sales, just as in the real world.”


When to Combine Television with Online Campaigns: Cost Savings versus Extended Reach
Because online media have become so important for advertisers to complement their television advertisements, advertisers need to determine the optimal budget allocation between television and online media. But existing models “often rely on observed historical advertisement exposures on each media channel,” note Google statisticians Georg M. Goerg in New York City, Nicolas Remy in Paris, and Jim Koehler in Boulder, CO., with colleagues Sheethal Shobowale, (advertising research manager in New York City) and Christoph Best (computational scientist in Hamburg, Germany). The purpose of the authors’ meta-study is “to give advertisers guidelines and insights on optimal media mix as a planning tool for a future campaign, not as a measurement tool given historical cross-media campaign data.” The researchers investigated under what circumstances a television campaign should be complemented with online advertising to increase combined reach, and then relied on roughly 26,000 television campaigns to train classification models, to decide whether a campaign should add online advertising (in this case on YouTube. As part of their statistical analysis, the authors used linear and support vector regression models “to predict optimal budget allocation, cost savings, and additional reach.” Among the takeaways:

  • Practitioners can benefit from “simple, interpretable, and actionable rules that improve the understanding of media-mix advertising.”
  • “Advertisers should not rely solely on traditional characteristics, such as target demographics or cost per gross rating point, to evaluate the efficiency of their campaign.”
  • “The real determinant of an optimal strategy to maximize reach lies in cost per effective reach point (cperp: Rossiter and Danaher, 1998) and its marginal efficiency on each media channel.”
  • “Contrary to cost per point (cpp), cperp increases with the size of a campaign because the reach curve is concave as a function of GRPs. It is exactly this nonlinear increase that determines the optimal budget allocation.”

Advertising Appeals, Moderators, and Impact on Persuasion: A Quantitative Assessment Creates a Hierarchy of Appeals
There is a robust body of research on advertising-appeal effects. Yet, according to a trio of scholars from Israel, much of the work has focused on single-appeal effects, “which show conflicting results that reveal a clear gap in the literature concerning the differences between appeals and relative effectiveness.” The goal of the meta-analysis—by Jacob Hornik (professor emeritus of marketing at Tel-Aviv University and research affiliate at Paris School of Business), Chezy Ofir (professor of marketing at the School of Business Administration at Hebrew University, Jerusalem), and Matti Rachamim (lecturer of marketing at the Graduate School of Business Administration, Bar-Ilan University, Israel)—was to examine the most common advertising appeals to quantitatively compare their effect sizes across a large set of previous studies, and to evaluate some variables that might moderate effectiveness. “On the basis of a large and unique dataset using comparative meta-analysis, this study provides measures of the relative impact of seven types of appeals”—sex, humor, fear, comparative (positive/negative), gain-framed, two-sided, and metaphor. Among the findings:

  • “The effect of sex appeal was the highest, followed by humor and comparative appeals.”
  • “Consumers responded to emotional appeals more favorably than to rational appeals.”
  • “Television advertising influenced advertisement liking more than magazines, newspapers, and radio in all significant models.”

The Influence of Parental and Communication Style on Consumer Socialization:
A Meta-Analysis Informs Marketing Strategy Considerations Involving Parent–Child Interventions
How should marketers take into account socialization that takes place at home and its influence on media consumption? This meta-analysis offers two contributions to the consumption literature, according to authors Jessica Mikeska (assistant professor of marketing at Indiana State University), Les Carlson (Nathan Gold Distinguished Professorship at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln), and two associate professors at Western Michigan University, Robert L. Harrison III, and Chris L. S. Coryn, who also is director of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in evaluation program. The study “systematically provides an aggregated representation of the influence that the parental environment has on consumer socialization variables, in particular parental mediation of children’s media consumption. It also sheds light on the congruency of two parental environment variables”—parental socialization style (PS) and family communication patterns (FCPs)—that previously were only theoretically linked. “Perhaps the most important managerial implication,” the authors write, “is the support found for the equivalent nature of the FCP and PC frameworks.” Among the takeaways:

  • “Managers deciding to segment parent or child consumers by either FCP or parental socialization now can choose just one socialization categorization, because this research found the theoretical pairs to behave similarly.”
  • “Managers developing parent or child consumer-segmentation strategies should adapt their strategies to account for relatively more media mediation among consensual and authoritative parents.”

Is Old Gold? How Heritage “Sells” the University to Prospective Students: The Impact of a Measure of Brand Heritage on Attitudes toward the University
Using a university’s history, symbols, legacies, and tradition, this article describes the development of a measure of brand heritage “to reinforce and invoke its essence in a contemporary context,” according to Mei Rose (associate professor of marketing at the College of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska, Anchorage), Gregory M. Rose, and Altaf Merchant (professor of marketing and associate professor of marketing, respectively, at the Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington, Tacoma). “Successfully invoking university heritage in marketing communications affects students’ attitudes and intentions to apply,” the authors contend. The practice is “most effective when a school’s past is linked to its present, particularly among parents of prospective students.” Among other practical considerations:

  • “The heritage of a university (its stature from its history of sustained success and traditions, its, symbols and sports legacy) can positively impact attitudes toward the university when used in advertising and branding.”
  • “Students respond more favorably to advertising which features the university’s heritage than advertising which does not.”


Coming in December 2017:
What We Know about Corporate Social Responsibility Messaging
JAR Editor-in-Chief John B. Ford examines historic research on corporate social responsibility published in this journal as he looks ahead to the December 2017 issue’s special section on this topic.