Hierarchy-Of-Effects Theory

Definition of 'Hierarchy-Of-Effects Theory'


A hierarchical representation of how advertising influences a consumer's decision to purchase or not purchase a product or service over time. The hierarchy-of-effects theory is used to set up a structured series of advertising message objectives for a particular product, with the goal of building upon each successive objective until a sale is ultimately made.

The objectives of a campaign are (in order of delivery): awareness, knowledge, liking, preference, conviction and purchase.

Investopedia explains 'Hierarchy-Of-Effects Theory'


The hierarchy-of-effects theory is an advanced advertising strategy in that it approaches the sale of a good through well-developed, persuasive advertising messages designed to build brand awareness over time. While an immediate purchase would be preferred, companies using this strategy expect consumers to need a longer decision-making process.



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