Reader involvement: who? what? where?

Are the various “qualitative� measures used in major syndicated readership studies as useful as we think? If so, which ones? How can they be used to better demonstrate the value of print media? Or of individual titles? Can they be linked to advertising effectiveness? Recent work by an Involvement Alliance of magazines1, led by Reader’s Digest, sought answers to these important questions. Over the past year, the Involvement Index (originally presented June ’02 at the ARF/Esomar WAM in Cannes) has been widely embraced as a breakthrough that enables qualitative data to be effectively incorporated into the planning and buying process. It has also sparked a debate over the “best ingredients� for the Index, along with lingering questions as to the quantifiable impact of reader involvement on ad recall. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, to review the recently released (June ’03) research that the Involvement Alliance sponsored (through Knowledge Networks) which validated reader involvement as a key metric for increasing unaided advertising recall, and second, to provide subsequent analysis derived from additional information from the main study that goes beyond the primary objectives.

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