Conference Summary: The latest media research findings

Once a year, the Advertising Research Foundation asks the top thinkers and practitioners what the future holds for media research and audience measurement. The highlights of the 2010 conference have been summarized by Suzanne Raitt, VP Marketing & Innovation, Canadian Newspaper Association.

Current media methodology underestimates: All communication has two lives: the initial communication, which traditional audience measurement is set up to quantify, and the subsequent chatter – either in the mobile/online space or around the “water cooler”. It is posed that media research include this second piece and begin measuring the value of the social ripple effect.

Newspapers deliver influencers: In a study, undertaken by the Keller Fay Group (marketing research and consulting company) and Universal McCann, 700 consumers aged13 to 69 provided information on their media usage. It was found that all media have benefits: TV advertising generating the most word-of-mouth, newspaper and magazines effectively targeting audiences that are rich in influencers and online ads which were the most viral.

Online ads need to provide value: A study was undertaken by Yahoo which used both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand what appeals to shoppers in online advertising. It found that advertisers need to provide something in exchange for a consumer’s time (e.g. entertainment or information).

Future of mobile: Japan, which is well developed in their use of mobile, is prolific in terms of using their mobiles for payment. Examples include: paying for taxis and restaurants as well as receiving coupons and targeted offers from marketers. Kanishka Agarwal, global leader for mobile media at The Nielsen Company, listed three ways to measure mobile usage: install meters on devices, access server-side data or tag mobile content. He suggests a hybrid of these options as the best solution.

iPad paid revolution: Media experts, from Time Inc., Guardian News & Media, Universal McCann, and Flurry (Analytics), all believe that the iPad is a revolution not an evolution. They indicate that to be successful, content on the iPad must be distinct from its mother property. Of particular note, iPad customers are willing pay for digital content (vs. internet users which are not). Furthermore iPad users visit less often but tend to linger as long as 30 minutes per session vs. iPhone users with a session length of 5 minutes.

Measuring human needs: Currently media is placed mainly based on the target’s demographics and media behaviour. Starcom spent 18 months talking to more than 20,000 people about over 600 media properties across 9 different platforms. Based on this, Starcom identified 17 needs or motives people have for seeking out certain media (e.g. to be informed, to be rebellious). These cut across genre and platform. For example, Newsweek and “The Supernanny” occupy the same territory, the desire to get better or smarter. Starcom poses that adding this needs analysis, helps, and is perhaps the future of deciding the appropriate placement of advertising.