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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Metrics & Measurement from Futures of Entertainment 2

Second Panel Discussion: Metrics & Measurement
This is all about measurements online and in broadcast. Discussion about moving towards qualitative over quantitative research.

Panel Members:
Maury Giles – GSD&M Idea City
Stacey Lynn Schulman – Turner Broadcasting
Bruce Leichtman – Leichtman Research Group

Sam Ford – Project Manager for the Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT

Some opening thoughts from each of the panelists:
Maury: There is a difference between traditional creatives and those that come up from the digital side
Stacey: It is getting harder and harder to predict the upcoming television show hits, now that there are more than just 3 networks (like there were when she started), and so many cable channels.
Bruce: It is imperative to understand the present in order to research and understand the future. Also, focus on the masses, never think about you, or your social graph as representing the mass.

What do you do with new media?

We can’t apply old metrics to new media.

This leads back to the Writers Strike. They are striking about the future – looking at a hockey stick curve telling them that online content will be a huge increase in profit from online viewing. It was added that hockey stick graphs are just visual representations of someone’s opinion. Also, Bruce pointed out that when you look at the total amount of time spent watching (legal) online video, the average per online video user (NOT all online users) is only 6 minutes per month. That is VERY small to be striking over. This idea of online video needs to be viewed as an evolution, not a revolution.

(It should be noted that a lot of online TV viewing is done via illegal downloading, which was not included in this statistic)

Within this debate comes DVRs as another way to watch shows at a different time than when they are aired. What warrants an appointment event vs. non-appointment event? Sporting events, for example, you must watch before you hear the score from the news or a friend, and also you must have the game as a social currency with your friend. Another example is an anticipated event such as High School Musical 2. However, appointment is really just the time between the event airing and you needing to interact with anyone else or watch the news.

What is online success?

How do we define it? Do we continue to measure based on traditional means, such as eyeballs? What about buzz, and looking and viral information and how it travels? You can’t quantify online activity such as pass along viewership and repeat viewership. But clients want TRPs and metrics that they understand. However, if a show isn’t getting the high ratings, or a site isn’t getting a large number of hits, should it be terminated?

Look, for example, at The Office. It started as a small, loyal audience, where much of the viewing took place online. It didn’t get huge ratings, but it didn’t get kicked off the air. Eventually it became more mainstream and popular and now it has great ratings.

How do people make purchase decisions?

Research says that people get a gut reaction when the are exposed to an advertisement, then seek out additional information about the product/service, and finally make a decision about whether or not to purchase the product.

But how to you create an advertisement that will get this gut reaction? And if you do, how do you measure it?

Once again, it is something that is not quantifiable. There is a difference between the metric that you need to monetize and the metric you need to connect. How much does advertising drive sales? If you see an ad for toilet paper on TV, do you immediately run out to the store and purchase it? Or is that just branding? After all, branding DOES work.

So if branding works in traditional media, can it acceptably work in new media? Buzz is not about audience measurement, rather, it is about reputation. And there is a lot to be learned from what other people say about your brand. After all, criticism is not negative, it is important because the people care enough to publicize what is wrong in order to help you get better.

It was noted that there is an increase in consumers brand affinity scores if they got into online spaces to experience the brand vs. not. And online branding has the ability to reach the light TV viewer, who your TV likely passed over, where as the heavy TV viewer likely already caught your ad a few times on air.

Timing is important for ad consumption.

When creating advertisements, it is important to get the consumer at reachable moments, and take into account what people are doing at the time they are consuming the media. For example, at what point does TV play a relevant role in a purchase decision?

Lets look at call-in ads. These run during the day and late at night, but never during prime time. Why? During prime time, the audience is too engaged to engage in call-in ad, they want to be laid back during that time.

A few closing “think abouts:”
Bruce: Think evolution, not revolution. The technology is far ahead of the consumer behavior.

Stacey: Think about how to keep consumers involved without interrupting.

Maury: We need to study qualitatively and through ethnographic research how the consumer engages in the purchase decision making. Also, we should think about benefits of aggregating the budget into small audiences instead of just the masses.

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