How Well Does Advertising Work? Generalizations from Meta-Analysis of Brand Advertising Elasticities

The authors conduct a meta-analysis of 751 short-term and 402 long-term direct-to-consumer brand advertising elasticities estimated in 56 studies published between 1960 and 2008. The study finds several new empirical generalizations about advertising elasticity. The most important are as follows: The average short-term advertising elasticity is .12, which is substantially lower than the prior meta-analytic mean of .22; there has been a decline in the advertising elasticity over time; and advertising elasticity is higher (1) for durable goods than nondurable goods, (2) in the early stage than the mature stage of the life cycle, (3) for yearly data than quarterly data, and (4) when advertising is measured in gross rating points than monetary terms. The mean long-term advertising elasticity is .24, which is much lower than the implied mean in the prior meta-analysis (.41). Many of the results for short-term elasticity hold for long-term elasticity, with some notable exceptions. The authors discuss the implications of these findings.

Journal of Marketing Research
Sethuraman, Raj; Tellis, Gerard J; Briesch, Richard A
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