Getting a feel for TouchPoints

Ipsos MediaCT's Joanne Van der Burgt on the costs, barriers and opportunities associated with launching the service in Canada.
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Last month Ipsos Reid MediaCT announced the GroupM group of agencies as the first in Canada to offer support for TouchPoints, a survey that tracks how people consume media throughout their day and across platforms.

Since then, 12 more agencies – OMD, Carat, Media Experts, PHD, Mindshare, UM, Maxus, Initiative, M2 Universal, Havas Media, MEC and Mediacom – and Star Media Group have given their support for launching the survey, which requires subjects to record – in half-hour segments over a seven-day period – when, where and how they are consuming media as well as who they are with, how they are feeling and what they are doing while consuming it.

The survey first launched in 2006 in the UK, where it is managed by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Ipsos, which has the rights to the survey here, has an aggressive timeline for rolling it out. The company would like to run a pilot in Toronto and Montreal in January 2015 with a sample of around 800 people, followed by a 5,000-person national survey in March to release the the first results in the third quarter of 2015.

Media in Canada spoke with ‎Joanne Van der Burgt, EVP at Ipsos MediaCT and the study’s director, to learn more about what TouchPoints would offer agencies and mediacos in Canada and what the hurdles are to it launching here.

What would this study offer mediacos and agencies that they don’t already have?

[Agencies will be able to] put together better multimedia campaigns because they will be able to see how people are consuming media and multimedia through the day. For the first time in Canada, they’ll be able to look into the degree to which media duplicate each other.

From a media owners’ standpoint, they’ll be able to demonstrate how their medium and their brand fits into the life of the consumer. They would be able to demonstrate how their brands connect with consumers from morning through to when they head to bed.

How would the survey fit in with existing research?

In the UK, TouchPoints is fused to all of the different media-audience studies. Our intent is to do the same by working with our stakeholders and industry measurement studies.

Despite the support so far, it sounds like there is no guarantee this survey will come to Canada. What stands in the way of it launching?

The number one challenge is financials. We are up to 12 agencies and two media companies and others are seeking budget approvals. Right now we need more media companies to step forward and if they don’t, we will be challenged to meet the timelines that our existing stakeholders desire.

What is the critical mass you need to launch? Do you need Rogers or Bell on board?

Because the media company subscription fee is different for each company based on the number of properties or brands they have – it is not as straightforward as saying a specific number of companies. We can move forward without a Rogers or a Bell if we get enough other media companies, but having at least one of the two would be ideal.

Have you determined how the agencies and media companies will be billed?

Agency fees are based on media billing while media companies subscription fees are based on the number of brands they have. Right now, we’ve set up funding models based on our learning from the UK and US along with the costs associated with us launching the study.

How else are the partners involved beyond financial investment?

We are putting together a client advisory council, so we will design this study with the industry. That is absolutely key because we have to make sure this study is designed with significant industry involvement so it is addressing all of their needs. We will Canadian-ize it. For example TouchPoints in the UK refers to people on lorries and trams. We won’t be asking about those things here.