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The efficient advertising


Media, from long, has been used by advertisers to build brands; be it television, radio, print, internet or outdoor advertising. With increasing competition and the rat race between the various sellers, it has increasingly become important for the advertisers to differentiate themselves from others, and the efficient advertising mix has a very important role to play in the effectiveness of this differentiating behaviour.

Often marketers face themselves with the problem of deciding on how much to spend on advertising on the various types of media. This decision rests on the measure of effectiveness of each of these forms, which is often a tough task. For the same product, the effect of a particular media may be far different from the others. Also, the effects of these media may vary largely across the various product categories as well. Hence to reach to the optimum advertising mix it's necessary for the marketers to evaluate the perceived value of each of these media on its consumers.

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How do viewers perceive the TV over other types of media? Is the modern media like internet more effective compared to the traditional media like TV and print? To answer these questions, the study focuses on the view, opinions and perceptions of people who are exposed to the various media. Here, in this paper, we intend to measure the perceived value of the various forms of media in the mind of consumers, and quantify this to reach to an 'advertising value' for each of the media across a particular product category. This perception of viewers has a large role to play on the advertiser's selection of various media for advertising, and allocation of the advertising budget to these media.


Advertising on the four media which are taken into consideration for the purpose of this study namely, television, radio, print and internet have their own advantages and disadvantages. While television, radio and print are the traditional methods of advertising and have a long history behind them, internet has emerged as an advertising medium in the near past. Over the years, internet has emerged as a competitor to the traditional media and has created a niche for itself. It is however not clear from the previous studies that consumers who watch all four kinds of advertisements consider all of them equally effective or not. Also, there is a dearth of research when it comes to measuring the advertising effectiveness of the four media vis-a-vis each other in the Indian context. This study aims to fill this gap that exists.


Advertising on Television

Television advertising started in United States in the year 1941. Television advertising started in India in the eighties and from then there is no looking back for this medium of advertising. Television is a commonly used medium for advertising campaigns due to its popularity and the capability to reach audiences of all ages (Edell & Keller, 1989). According to the New York Times, television is to stay in India. It has seen a phenomenal growth in the past and will continue to grow. There are been a 20 percent increase in the number of homes with televisions. It has increased from 88 million in 2000 to 105 million in the year 2009. There has been a 21 percent increase in the advertising spending on Indian television from the year 1995 to 2005. Spending on television advertising reached $1.6 billion in the year 2005.

Television has several advantages over other medium. The reach of television is much wider than that of other advertising media like print and it does so in a shorter duration of time. Also, television has multiple communication appeal as it uses both hearing and vision. By appealing to both senses a TV advertiser can use these to reinforce each other.

Television as an advertising medium has its own set of disadvantages. The cost of advertising is much higher for television as compared to other forms of media considered here. Also, if the advertisement is not intrusive enough it may fail to capture the attention of the audience. In addition to this the number of advertisements which fight for the coveted time slots on television may add to the clutter and may not help in reinforcing the belief of the customer.

Advertising on Radio

Advertising on radio started in the early 1920s, when the first radio stations were established by radio equipment manufacturers and retailers who offered programs in order to sell more radios to consumers. These days radio is no longer considered to be an attractive means of advertising. Radio, an old- fashioned medium existing in the shadow of high tech boom of internet advertising and cable TV, is not considered lucrative anymore (Joachim Jean C., 1999). Though radio ads have decreased in popularity but still it is widely used as an advertising medium because of the benefits it provides.

The key advantage of radio advertising is its cost effectiveness as compared to other media like television. The advantages of radio advertising are low production costs and selectivity in reaching segments of audiences homogeneous in demographics or lifestyles (McDonald, 1998; Roberts & Berger, 1989). Also, radio has a wider reach in terms of the number of audience covered vis a vis television or internet.

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Radio advertisement has the disadvantage of being ephemeral, since the consumer can only hear the ad, it becomes very necessary to have an ad which is highly attention grabbing. Also, due to smaller coveted slots, cluttering of ads may happen. Apart from this, the decrease in the popularity of the medium has made radio advertising less sought after.

Print advertising is one of the oldest modes of advertising. With the advent of radio, television and internet, print advertising has lost its lustre. Due to the advantage that print medium has on the cost front, it is still the most sought after advertising medium for small, local businesses.

Print medium has a very wide reach and it proves to be very cost effective. The advertisement can reach different segments in a wide geographic region. The people can refer to the ads multiple times and therefore it has the desired permanence.

The biggest limitation of print is that the ad has to compete for the attention of the reader. In the limited space that the medium provides, the ads may just get lost in the clutter. In addition to this, more and more people are now switching to online versions of magazines and newspapers. So the traditional print medium is losing its charm.

Advertising on the Internet

Advertising on the internet started in the year 1994 when Wired magazine came up with its commercial web magazine which was the first of its kind. With this online magazine started the era of of advertising on the Internet. Since then, advertising on the Internet has increased rapidly, mainly due to an astronomical growth in Web traffic. But with this increase in the web traffic clutter over the internet has increased manifolds.

The internet has many advantages over the traditional forms of media, the most prominent of them being the cost. The cost incurred is a fraction of the cost which will be paid for a similar ad on television. Another advantage of Internet advertising is that it provides a medium to buy the product as well. No other media offers this flexibility.

As with other advertising media clutter is an issue, as competition for Web users becomes more intense. Also, the frequency of pop up ads can cause irritation in the consumer. Apart from this the rate of usage of internet is really an issue especially in developing countries like India and this makes internet advertising less popular.


'Advertising Effectiveness' as defined by Ducoffe is 'a subjective evaluation of the relative worth or utility of advertising to consumers'. Ducoffe, in his study, suggested media mix has an important role to play in advertising effectiveness. In his research, the respondents were asked to rank different media in terms of their role in advertising. Consumers ranked television the top labelling it the most valuable source, followed by print media, direct mail and radio; web was placed at bottom.

As per previous studies, consumers consider newspapers to be most effective in informativeness, reliability and credibility whereas television and radio rate lower on these attributes.

Comparision of Traditional Media with Web

With internet emerging as an effective media of advertising, a synergy in advertising through various media forms can be achieved by integrating internet with other media to achieve company's objectives. Leong et al [1998], in his study, suggested that though internet is different from other media, it can be used to complement other media.

Many researchers [Negroponte-1995] are of the view that TV viewing would become obsolete in certain time with computer activities replacing it in a large way. But at the same time, there are many that do not support the replacement view [Coffey and Stripp-1997]. They do agree with TV popularity decreasing to some extent but expect it to still remain a popular activity.

As per Kanso and Nelson [2004], various media can be integrated to serve the purpose, thereby enticing customers to the product/ brand. A similar study by Chang and Thorson [2004] show the combined effect of advertising on various media viz. traditional and web is far superior compared to repeated advertising on individual mediums.

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As per the survey carried out till date, there does not seem any paper which provides a complete comprehensive comparative analysis of different forms of media.

Gap in extant literature

The study by Ducoffe presents the results of a survey focussing on the perceived value of web advertising vis-à-vis other media. To understand what makes advertising effective, Ducoffe identified the dimensions of advertising which include informativeness, irritation, deceptiveness and entertainment. But this study was limited to comparing traditional media and web advertising and also excluded parameters like degree of information dissemination and emotional effects.

Though Leong et al did provide few parameters like attention, emotions, precipitating action and attitude to find out the advertising value of a particular media, but the study was limited to comparing the internet advertising to traditional media.

Also, most of the researches carried out so far miss on the point that the respondents chosen should be exposed to these various media so that their responses reflect the true effectiveness of media. We intend to choose those exposed to all the various media forms as our respondent base.

This effectiveness varies across the various product categories, their phase in the product life cycle, the demographics of the target group, and hence cannot be generalized. Hence, we intend to carry this research so as to keep these extraneous variables constant and can later be easily replicated across all the categories.


The hypothesis has been derived separately for each of the eight parameters, discussed above, and is described below stating all bases for the derivation of each.


According to the information gathered about "informativeness" of the various media, internet ads are the most informative, followed by print, television and radio.[Leong, 1998] This fact seems to be correct as the information available about a product/service is very expansive on the internet, due to "links" provided that help the user gain unending information. This is closely followed by print ads that contain extensive information printed about the product, due to the availability of space. Television and radio provide lesser information, due to the expensive "per second" rates. Television is more informative than radio due to the visual aid available.

Hypothesis 1

The level of "informativeness" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with internet ads being the most informative, followed by print media, television and radio in this order.


This section shows how engaging and interactive the media is. Again, television and radio score high on this factor, due to their audio-visual and audio aid respectively. This is followed by print and internet. Print, due to its direct impact in a newspaper or a magazine ranks next in this regard followed by internet ads which might not be that engaging for the user.

Hypothesis 2

The level of "attention" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with television ads being the most attention seeking, radio, print media, and internet in this order.


According to Nielson, the internet is a more rational medium, while the television is an emotional medium. Thus, television rates high on the emotional factor, followed by radio and print, with internet being the least emotional, due to least interactiveness of the medium and it being the most informative.

Hypothesis 3

The level of "emotions" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with television ads being the most emotional, followed by radio, print media and internet in this order.

Precipitating Action

Persuasion is an action that drives a user towards purchasing the product. Internet purchasing is the most popular and is significantly higher than telemarketing. Internet is followed by print in precipitating action. Print media seems to influence people towards buying a product due to the informative nature of the medium. Radio is the least persuasive in this regard as radio just provides a "recall" for the product.

Hypothesis 4

The level of "precipitating action" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with internet ads having the most precipitating action, followed by print media, television and radio in this order.


Attitude defines the degree to which advertisements are able to change the beliefs/attitudes of people towards the product or the brand. This would affect the final buying decision of the product or service. The order for this factor ranges from television, print, internet and radio from most effective to least effective in changing attitude.

Hypothesis 5

The level of "attitude" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with television ads being the most attitudes changing, followed by print media, internet and radio in this order.


According to the information gathered about "entertainment", television ads come out to be the most effective, followed by radio, print and internet. [Larkin] Television tops the list due to the audio visual effects present. This is followed by radio. The print media shows the entertainment factor through its creative designs and catchy print messages. The internet is considered to be a rational medium providing clear information without the frills.

Hypothesis 6

The level of "entertainment" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with television ads being the most entertaining, followed by radio, print and internet in this order.


Advertising effectiveness depends on the users' receptiveness towards an ad, and on their attitude towards advertising. Non relevant ads on TV, in newspapers and on the radio are perceived as inevitable by consumers; on the Internet, they are considered to be a nuisance. Television and radio ads are considered irritating due to the disturbance they cause during normal TV or radio screening. Print media ads are considered least irritating as they do not hinder normal operation of a newspaper or a magazine.

Hypothesis 7

The level of "irritation" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with internet ads being the most irritating, followed by television, radio and print media in this order.


Another important factor to calculate effectiveness of a medium is to measure the credibility of the medium. According to our research about the subject [Larkin], television ads seem to be to the most deceiving because of the lower "airing time", thus the effect could be deceptive and important facts about the product are left out. This is followed by radio and print, with internet being the least deceptive due to the depth of information present on the internet.

Hypothesis 8

The level of "deceptiveness" of advertisements varies significantly across the various forms of media, with television ads being the most deceiving, followed by radio, print media, and internet in this order.

Overall Perception

The overall perception of advertising media effectiveness has been taken to get an overall picture of the effectiveness.

Hypothesis 9

On general/overall perception of the customer, television is the most effective, followed by print media, radio and internet in this order.


Scale Development

The scale items were adopted from Ducoffe [1996] and Leong et al [1998]. A total of 17 statements were used for the proposed scale. A 5-interval scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree was used to measure the response to each item. The respondents were given special instructions to not get biased towards a particular advertisement, brand or a product, rather evaluate each media as a whole.

The internal reliability score was measured using Cronbach's alpha. The coefficient alpha reliability indicates that the items in each scale are significantly high above 0.7, except for Deceptiveness and Irritation. Though the value of alpha is not significantly low, this lower value is approximately equal to 0.6 which is close to the acceptable value.

The instrument thus used was a 17-item scale, with eight underlying factors viz. informativeness, attention, emotion, precipitating action, attitude, entertainment, irritation and deceptiveness. The results were analysed by comparison of the means using the 'One Way Anova' and 'Tukey b Test', was applied to see the difference between the effectiveness of different media on the basis of the eight parameters listed above. This was followed by 'Terpstra - Jonckheere Test' to confirm our order of alternatives.


Our survey was taken by 106 respondents in the age group of 18-30 years. Considering the kind of research we were conducting, only those people who had been exposed to all the four media viz. TV, Radio, Print and Internet were chosen to take our survey. Respondents were also asked to rank various media in terms of effectiveness with 1 assigned to the most effective medium and 4 to the least.


Result 1: Informativeness

The level of "informativeness" varies significantly across different media, with respondents rating radio as the least informative. Though respondents consider internet most informative, followed by print and television, the tests reveal that the difference between this three different media is not significant enough to be considered. This is consistent with our hypothesis.

Result 2: Attention

The level of "attention" varies significantly across various media with respondents rating radio to have the least level of attention. Though respondents consider television the most attention catching, followed by print and internet, the tests reveal that the difference is not significant in the case of internet and print media, thus might not be considered. This result is slightly different than our hypothesis, according to which internet had the least level of "attention". The reason for such a difference could be the difference in times from when the article was written and when the survey was taken.

Result 3: Emotions

The level of "emotion" varies significantly across the different media, with respondents rating television to have the greatest level of emotion. This was followed by radio and print in the same order, although the tests revealed that this difference is not significant enough to be considered. Internet was considered to have the least emotion. Our hypothesis is quite similar to the result, with only difference between radio and print. This could be due to the latest trend of social messages in print advertisements.

Result 4: Precipitating Action

The level of "precipitating action" varies significantly across the different media with respondents rating radio to have the least level of "precipitating action" followed by internet. Though respondents consider television to have the most precipitating action, followed by print media, the tests reveal that this difference is not significant enough to be considered. This result is significantly different than our hypothesis according to which internet has the most precipitating action, followed by print, television and radio. This could be due to the increasing popularity of telemarketing in the current times.

Result 5: Attitude

The level of "attitude" varies significantly across the different media with respondents rating radio to have the least level of "attitude" and television to have the most. Though respondents consider internet and print to follow television, the tests reveal that this difference between internet and print is not significant enough to be considered. This is similar to our hypothesis.

Result 6: Entertainment

The level of "entertainment" varies significantly across the different media, with respondents rating television as the most entertaining. This was followed by internet and print, although the tests reveal that this difference is not significant enough to be considered. Radio was found to be least entertaining The only difference in the result from the hypothesis is the position of radio which according to the hypothesis is the second most entertaining after television. This change could be attributed again to the changing times, where radio advertising has taken a back seat in comparison to the print and internet media.

Result 7: Irritation

The level of "irritation" varies significantly across the different media, with respondents rating print as the least irritating. Though respondents consider internet most irritating, followed by radio and television, the tests reveal that this difference is not significant enough to be considered. The hypothesis also yields the same result.

Results 8: Deceptiveness

The level of "deceptiveness" varies significantly across various media, with respondents rating print as the least deceptive, but the tests reveal that the difference in print, internet and radio are not significant enough to be considered. Though respondents consider television most deceptive, followed by internet and radio, the tests reveal that this difference is not significant enough to be considered. The hypothesis is same for the most deceptive media, but according to the hypothesis, internet is least deceptive.

Result 9: Overall Perception

The research data reveals that television has the highest rank, followed by print, internet and radio in that order. The hypothesis shows similar results, with the only difference in internet and radio values. This is only due to the increasing importance of internet in the current times in comparison to the times from which the data was taken for the hypothesis.


The results of the hypothesis show how the respondents perceive effectiveness of different type of media on the basis of each of the eight parameters and the overall perception of the four types of media under study; television, print, internet and radio. On the basis of informativeness, internet rates the highest and radio is the least informative. The level of attention also follows the same pattern. Television is considered high on the emotions scale while internet is the lowest. Respondents also consider television to convert maximum number of advertisements to sales with the highest precipitating action. Television also rates highest in the "most entertaining" medium. Print media is considered to be the least deceptive of all, while television is the most deceptive according to our respondents. The correlation matrix provided above describes the relation among the various parameters under study. For example, the correlation coefficient between precipitating action and attention is 0.69, showing that if an advertisement is eye-catching it might not translate into a sale. Finally, the overall rank of advertising effectiveness shows television as the highest ranked media, followed by print, radio and internet.


There have been studies done in the past that measure advertisement effectiveness for two media but none of these studies is context specific. This study is an extension of Ducoffe's study in the Indian context. This study helps us to know the consumer's preference of one medium over another by studying the importance given to the different attributes of this media by them. Also, the study explores the advertising effectiveness of a new medium like Internet over traditional media like television, radio and print and how well the former has fared in comparison to the latter as an effective advertising medium in the mind of the consumer.

The study can be used by a company to assess which advertising media is most suitable for its product. The marketer can decide on the medium by allocating weights to the eight parameters in consideration here. Based on that score he can know the most effective advertising medium. The above stated can be explained better using the example of a product, say Bingo Chips. Now the advertising/marketing team needs to define the amount of budget to be allocated to each media type or the ratio in which the each media needs to be used for advertising. In the case of Bingo, if for example the advertiser wants to focus more on one of the parameters, say irritation, to have an impact on the people, it being a new product; he/she would check the results and see the impact of each media (as to which one is more irritating). According to our report internet is the most irritating medium, followed by radio and television. Thus the allocation of budget can be done on these terms. This study can also help a marketer to decide the most effective advertising medium for a product in a particular life cycle. The advertising requirements for a product changes with the life cycle it is in. This study can help determine which medium is most effective for that particular life cycle. For example, a new product focuses on creating an appeal; a product in the maturity phase of the PLC would only like to create a significant level of recall in the customer's mind. Keeping these factors in mind the company could choose one of the eight parameters defined above on which they want to focus, and thus choose the type of media desired to advertise.


This study to measure the advertising effectiveness of various media provides valuable insights into the advertising effectiveness of the four media - Television, Radio, Print and Internet but this study has its own set of limitations. One of the limitations is that this study makes a comparison between the different kinds of ads in general. It may happen that for a particular product a particular medium is most effective. This factor is not accounted for while conducting the study.

There can be different types of web ads like banners, pop up and pop under. All these ads generate different response from people and hence may differ in their effectiveness. No distinction has been made on this basis in the study. Also the age group of the majority of the respondents is the same and it lies between 18-30 years. So this has restricted the scope of the study.

This study was aimed at finding the most effective medium of advertising among the four media from the view point of the viewers. The study can be extended by taking more than four media into account. As the effectiveness of advertising media differs with the product into consideration, another facet can be added to this study by studying the effectiveness of various media for a particular product. Also, the research can be used to find the effectiveness of advertising media for a particular brand.

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