Tuning in to new audience measurement

BBM conference covers survival in a changing marketplace - and why PPM works, and online sampling doesn't.

International speakers at yesterday’s BBM audience measurement conference, Staying Tuned, shared the successes and challenges of using new audience measurement tools, including the Portable People Meter (PPM).

At the Toronto-based conference, BBM president and CEO Jim MacLeod announced the rollout plan for PPM in Canada, currently close to accomplishing target panel sizes in the Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary markets. Commercial PPM data, which monitors users’ minute-to-minute exposure to TV and radio, both in- and out-of-home, will be ready by September 2009.

Speaking of the shakeup when PPM was introduced in the US market, Mark O’Neill, ROI Media Solutions, says it seems like fewer people are listening to radio at first, but in fact the average is low because of high cumulative audiences.

But not all new measuring tools are ready for the Canadian market. Toronto-based NADbank, which tracks newspaper readerships, wanted to know if online sampling was a viable alternative to random phone sampling. According to NADbank president Anne Crassweller, the study proved such a lack of consistency in its demographics study, that it was deemed unreliable. ‘At this point, we’re not in a position to move away from random phone sampling,’ she says.

However, there are other new metrics that show immediate promise. Presenting his company’s methodology for measuring sponsorship effectiveness during football and rugby games as a tool that can be expanded to sports like tennis or hockey in Canada, Julien Vivier, director of research at Paris, France-based Havas Sports, noted that glances are more important than visibility. Using an eye-tracking theory, Havas, whose advertisers include Coca Cola and European electronics brand Orange, measures the number of glances brands receive during games, as well as the length – in milliseconds – of those glances. Slapping a logo on jerseys or the ball, says Vivier, inspires recall and is bound to perk up the ears of North American sporting event sponsors.