Advertising Research Foundation
The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) is an association where practitioners from every avenue of advertising—agency, academia, marketer, media, and research—gather to exchange ideas and research strategies. It was founded in 1936 by the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. The ARF’s stated mission is to improve the practice of advertising, marketing, and media research in pursuit of more effective marketing, and advertising communications. Its membership consists of over 400 advertisers, advertising agencies, research firms, media companies, educational institutions, and international organizations.
One of the cornerstones of the ARF is the Knowledge Center, which houses historical reports, papers, and videos developed during the formative years of the advertising research industry and are not available anywhere else. Established in 1953 to serve as a central resource for the wealth of materials relating to advertising research, the ARF Knowledge Center offers specialized tools and services to help ARF members keep up-to-date with the latest knowledge that is applicable to their business needs. The Knowledge Center also includes Power Search, a tool used to search for research on advertising and marketing; ARF Books & Publications; an ARF Video Library; and 5 Cups of Morning Coffee a weekly newsletter that reports on industry news and developments. 
A new addition to the ARF, the ARF Young Pros was formed in 2011, a group for working professionals age 30 or younger in advertising, marketing, media, research, or branding. The Young Pros hold leadership, networking, and professional development events throughout the year with a focus on cultivating talent and connecting young people to leading industry thinkers.
The Advertising Research Agency was formed in 1936. During its first 15 years, ARF sponsored over 200 studies including studies involving newspapers, farm magazines, business magazines, and an executive management publication.
In the beginning of the 1950s, the ARF began working with media companies in addition to advertisers and agencies. The agency supervised a study on household ownership of radio & television sets in 1954. It also published "Recommended Standards for Radio & Television Program Audience Size Measurements," in 1954. In 1955 the ARF influenced the U.S. Census Bureau to include a TV ownership question in its questionnaires. Research companies were invited to become ARF members in 1967. 
During the 1990s, the ARF spearheaded notable primary research in studies such as the Copy Research Validity Project which redefined the area of copy testing, and the ARF/Ad Council Study to determine the impact of public service advertising. More recently, the ARF has pioneered efforts to define advertising engagement and to measure consumers' emotional responses to advertising. |
The ARF conducts several research initiatives,such as Foundations of Quality 2, which aims to reduce marketers’ risk in decisions made based on online survey research; and Consumers and Streaming Audio, an original research study that will expand the industry’s understanding of streaming audio and explore both qualitative and quantitative issues. In October 2012, ARF published a groundbreaking new white paper on Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process, which focused on increasing cross-industry understanding of how and when consumers use digital/social media at various points in the purchase decision process.
The ARF hosts several annual conferences on advertising and media-related topics throughout the year. Re:think, ARF’s largest event, brings together 3,000 industry practitioners from around the globe each March to discuss and debate the latest and most important industry topics. As part of Re:think, ARF honors the best and brightest minds in the industry at the ARF David Ogilvy Awards, which celebrate the extraordinary and/or creative use of research in the advertising development processes of research firms, advertising agencies, and advertisers; as well as the ARF Great Mind Awards, which recognize and honor individuals who contribute to the excellence and advancement of advertising research. Each June the ARF hosts its annual Audience Measurement event, the world’s largest audience measurement conference, which examines the latest developments in audience composition and measurement across emerging and traditional platforms. Finally, the ARF Industry Leader Forum is a one-day event that brings together world-class thinkers from a variety of industries to discuss and debate a timely and crucial aspect of advertising research. 
Learning at the ARF
The ARF hosts a variety of small learning events throughout the year, including Webcasts, a series of lunchtime presentations that address hot issues in advertising and marketing research and Forums, which showcase industry best practices and introduce members to the latest thinking about advertising and marketing research. The following is a list of current forum topics.
- Audio Research
- Measuring and Managing Marketing ROI
- NeuroMarketing 2.0
- Research Quality
- Research as a Business Tool
- Research of the Future
- Researching Creative from a Campaign Perspective
- Shopper Insights
- Social Media
Other learning opportunities include the Thought Leader Series, private, invitation-only learning sessions hosted at the ARF office and ARF University, a series of classes for both new and seasoned researchers that cover today’s most critical research topics.
The ARF also participates in major industry events each year, including Advertising Week and Social Media Week, both held in New York City.
- Journal of Advertising Research (JAR)
- White Papers
- Standards and Guidelines to include a public 83 page document on Guidelines for Market Research
- Research Reviews
- Books to include, Listen First: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage and The Online Advertising Playbook 
- "Advertising Research Foundation (ARF)". Business Definitions. AllBusiness. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-24.
- Facenda, Vanessa (2007-10-29). "New ARF Study Says Storytellers Succeed". BrandWeek. Nielsen Business Media. Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2008-01-24.