DAGMAR Approach

  • Post last modified:17 November 2020
  • Reading time:3 mins read


DAGMAR (Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results) is a model, involve 52 task for advertising task for setting advertising objectives and measuring the result of an ad campaign. The DAGMAR Approach was introduced by Russell H. Colley (1961) in a report for the Association of National Advertisers.

According to this model, communications effects are the logical basis for setting advertising objectives and goals against which result should be measured.

In Colley’s words:

“Advertising’s job, purely and simply, is to communicate to defined audience information and a frame of mind that stimulates actions. Advertising succeeds or fails depends on how well it communicate the desired information and attitudes to the right people at the right time and at the right cost”

Russell H. Colley


According to DAGMAR approach, advertising objectives involve a communications task that is specific and measurable. Colley proposed that communications objectives be based on a hierarchical model with four stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Comprehension
  3. Conviction
  4. Action


Involves making target audience aware of the existence of brand or company.


The purpose is to develop an understanding among audience of what the product is and what it would do for them.


The objective is to create a mental disposition among target audience members to buy the product.


To motivate the target audience to purchase the product or services.

DAGMAR Objective

Another important contribution of DAGMAR was its ability to clarify what constitutes a good objective. According to Colley, the objectives should have the following features or characteristics:

  • Stated in terms of concrete (specific) and measurable communications task; in terms of strengthening brand image, maximize brand presence, maximize the market share, increase the sale.

  • Specify a target audience, means well-defined target audience.

  • Indicate a benchmark or standard starting point and the degree of change sought(seek)

  • Specify a time period for accomplishing the objective or objectives.

There are no significant difference between Colley’s proposed model and other important hierarchy-of-effects models.

Assessment and Criticism of DAGMAR Approach

The DAGMAR approach has had enormous influence on advertising planning process and objective setting. It focused advertiser’s attentions on the importance and value of using communications-based objectives as against sales based objectives to measure the impact and success of an ad campaign.

The approach has not been totally accepted by everyone in the advertising field. A number of questions have been raised concerning its value as an advertising planning tool.

  • Problems with Response Hierarchy: DAGMAR approach is based on hierarchy of effects model and the fact that consumer do not always follow the sequence of communications effects leading to purchase.

  • Sales as the Advertising Goal: Many believe that sales is the only relevant measure of advertising objectives and shown little respect and tolerance for ad campaigns that otherwise may achieve communications objectives but fail to increase sales.

  • Practicality and Costs: Implementation of the DAGMAR approach is difficult. Expensive research required to establish quantitative standards and measure changes in the response hierarchy. Some critics point out that DAGMAR is practical only for large firms with substantial research and advertising budget.

  • Inhibits Creativity: The DAGMAR approach is basically a planned and rational approach to setting advertising objectives. It imposes too much structure and may restrict creativity.

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