Today, I had the chance to be at a meeting where a representative of Simmons Market Research Bureau gave a sneak peek of the methodology and findings of their new Multi-Media Engagement Study. Right now, it’s only being done with internet, magazines, and TV, but hopefully it will expand into other media in the future.
Simmons is trying to rate media properties along several metrics that they’ve defined such as inspiration, sociability, life-enrichment, advertising receptiveness, and others. In short, they’re trying to figure out not only if you’re consuming media, but how involved you are in it. Do you just have something on or are you actively watching?
For example: There’s a difference between the way people watch, talk about, and create a lifestyle around the show LOST than in the way they watch Judge Judy. While one is daytime filler, the other has the potential for social interaction (water cooler talk), and a much deeper engagement.
Some of the web examples make sense as well. There’s a much deeper attachment and lifestyle involvement in sites such as espn.com and oprah.com than sites like yellowpages.com and other information based sites.
And while examples like these just make common sense, this research attaches real data to each media property to rank and compare rather than just doing a gut check.
This engagement factor has been decreed in the Web2.0 era for a while now. We know that getting people involved in the content and creating an emotional attachment with the brand will yield great rewards. It helps to concentrate marketing efforts on those consumers who are more likely to be aligned with your company. Simmons is working with the figure is that (1) engaged viewer is worth (8) regular viewers.
It’s not just the number of eyeballs that see something, it’s how much those eyeballs care about the show, website, or magazine. This carries over heavily into the ads they are delivered as a part of that media.
The more information to make a media buy with, the better. By cross-referencing information like this with quantitative numbers like ratings and demos, you’re much more likely to have a successful campaign.
While I welcome info like this, the research skeptic in me raises several concerns even from a well respected and reputable company such as Simmons that knows what they’re doing…
1) These numbers are based on people’s own responses to how they feel and do with these media rather than an independent observation of behavior.
2) Do people really know how to respond to a question like: “Do you feel inspired by [insert media]?” It makes me think back to this.
3) And while there’s a good sized sample (over 30,000), are the numbers a good representation? I wonder this a lot about surveys. There’s a certain type of person who can spend 25 minutes of their life on the phone to tell you about their media habits. But I want to know more about the person who hurriedly answers the phone and tells me they don’t have time to take my survey. How do I reach them in a hectic and hurried market?
A couple of problems, but certainly a step in the right direction to separate effective ad vehicles from the laggards.