Using a Forensic Research Method for Establishing an Alternative Method for Audience Measurement in Print Advertising

Marcus Schmidt, Niels Krause, Hans Stubbe Solgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Advantages and disadvantages of the survey approach are discussed. It is hypothesized that observational methods sometimes constitute reasonable and powerful substitute to traditional survey methods. Under certain circumstances, unobtrusive methods may even outperform traditional techniques. Non-reactive approaches seem especially appealing in situations where instrumental effects threaten to bias findings. The present paper investigates whether it is possible to estimate the readership of sales flyers by uncovering fingerprints (FPs) on the pages. First, two earlier approaches are discussed. Next, an empirical analysis of several thousand flyer pages across more than 100 issues is presented. The sample of issues was collected at a recycling center and subsequently analyzed by a forensic expert. While the FP-approach to audience measurement seems not to be working properly for flyers with a limited amount of pages, the method appears applicable for flyers with multiple pages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Multidisciplinary Research
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5-20
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Advertising
  • Audience Measurement
  • Fingerprints
  • Forensic Research Method
  • Print Advertising
  • Readership
  • Sales Flyers

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