Chief Research Officer
Dr. Julian Baim
GfK MRI is investing in a large-scale pilot study to test the most effective way to question consumers about their magazine readership across all platforms now available. The test, which began in April, is a forerunner to potentially incorporating new interview language into the Survey of the American Consumer.
In this Q&A, Dr. Julian Baim, EVP and chief research officer at GfK MRI, shares his thoughts on this R&D project.
Q. What prompted GfK MRI to explore modifying the magazine readership questions in the national Survey?
A. The extent to which magazine content has become fluid across platforms has increased in the last few years. While most folks still read magazines in hard-copy or Internet form, the industry is poised for what many believe will be a powerful game changer — digital reading in all its forms, including tablets, mobile and e-readers. We’re undertaking this large-scale test because we want to make sure GfK MRI is prepared to capture a magazine’s total readership in our audience estimates as, and if, consumers' magazine-reading behavior changes. We want to make sure every magazine measured by GfK MRI gets credit for every reader.
Q. Can you give us the details of the pilot study?
A. We’re conducting 1,000 in-home interviews, nationwide, throughout 2010. The 1,000 interviews are not a recontact of respondents from our Survey of the American Consumer; they are based on a separate sample. 500 respondents are in a control group who will be asked the standard GfK MRI readership questions and 500 are in a test group who will be asked a new series of questions that incorporate reading on digital platforms.
"We want to make sure GfK MRI is prepared to capture a magazine’s total readership as, and if, magazine-reading behavior changes. We want to make sure every magazine measured by GfK MRI gets credit for every reader."
GfK MRI EVP and Chief Research Officer Dr. Julian Baim
Q. What does GfK MRI hope to learn from these interviews?
A. We’re essentially hoping to learn two key things.
First, how best to articulate our questions on digital readership to consumers. Much of this relatively new technology is not uniformly understood by all consumers; moreover they often express it in different ways. For example, some iPad owners consider the device to be a type of e-reader while others consider the iPad a tablet computer. Similarly, some respondents include e-readers, tablets and the like when asked about “digital reading”; others think only of websites. We want to be sure we use language that is clearly understood by respondents before we consider expanding questions in our national Survey.
Second, we want to learn the extent to which individual magazine titles are currently being read on these new tools.
Q. What platforms are being measured in the test?
A. The questions asked in our pilot study are designed to capture reading of specific magazine titles in all current formats, including:
- Magazines printed on paper
- Magazine websites
- Electronic reproductions of magazines (such as those provided by Zinio and Texterity)
- Mobile magazine reading (on cell phones; smart phones such as the iPhone and BlackBerry; and via mobile apps)
- E-readers (such as Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader)
- Tablets (such as the new iPad)
Q. Separate from this test, what electronic readership questions are currently asked of respondents in the Survey of the American Consumer?
A. GfK MRI has monitored broad consumer adoption of the new devices which can be used to read magazines — such as e-readers, the iPhone and the iPad — since those devices were introduced to the marketplace. This pilot is designed to help us get to the next level; from knowing how many adults own an iPad, for instance, to gauging how many adults read a specific title of a magazine, in a specific time period, using an iPad.
Q. What is the earliest possible date that new questions may be added to the Survey of the American Consumer?
A. We expect that learning from the pilot test could be incorporated into the Survey of the American Consumer — in the form of new questions — in late 2011 at the earliest.
Consumers connect with media in different ways. The relationship can be intellectual or recreational, thought igniting or tension reducing. Leveraging these connections by combining GfK MRI Media Attitudes with other data helps MediaCom’s Insights Group meet client campaign goals and win new business.
“Combining Media Attitudes with other information in GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer as well as MediaCom’s proprietary data opens our eyes to the power of syndicated research when applied to analyses beyond the ordinary,” said MediaCom's Partner Insights Director Kevin Moeller. “This type of analysis helps us understand consumers’ mindsets on meaningful levels.”
Consumers perceive media differently depending on their emotional and/or intellectual involvement with each medium. “Our GfK MRI analyses take us beyond delivering a demographic or group of category and product users; we make placements that incorporate each vehicle’s effectiveness in meeting the emotional and intellectual needs of certain consumers,” said Moeller. “Understanding the psychological connection to a medium is key to reaching targets in environments where they will be most receptive to messaging.”
“Our GfK MRI analyses take us beyond delivering a demographic or group of category and product users; we make placements that incorporate each vehicle’s effectiveness in meeting the emotional and intellectual needs of certain consumers.”
MediaCom Partner, Insights Director Kevin Moeller
Looking at magazines, for example, a small business owner might seek a news title because it puts him in a “better mood,” while a mom of three seeks that same title as her primary news and information source. Another target group will say they watch a TV show as a form of relaxation while other viewers watch that same program because it satisfies their desire for knowledge.
MediaCom researchers find GfK MRI Media Attitudes particularly useful when considering placements for products marketed to the general population. Understanding the various mindsets and media attitudes of broad target groups can uncover important differences within a seemingly generic population. For instance, when looking at Women 18-34 for an analysis, TV is the top ranking medium; however, when digging deeper into the female-heavy GfK MRI segment "Fashion First,” the data show magazines outscore TV for engagement, earning trust and as an enjoyment and entertainment vehicle. In this case, magazines do a better job delivering readers who are attracted by these important attributes, even though TV reaches a broader audience.
Combining media attitudes with psychographic, demographic and product usage data helps MediaCom form highly focused insights by channel. “Using GfK MRI’s Media Attitudes helps us develop the best strategy to connect to our clients’ consumers by taking into account their relationships with media,” said Mr. Moeller. “It’s all about understanding consumers and translating that knowledge into better media communications strategies.”
Cluttered or clean, cheerful or fearful — what features make some magazine covers click with readers while others crash?
To find out, GfK MRI researchers coded the nearly 12,000 magazine editions measured to date in the Issue Specific Readership Study.
The 15 cover traits investigated include design elements (such as color and typeface) and content elements (such as story subject and emotions conveyed). For each group of magazines representing one of the traits analyzed, we determined if they tended to over- or under-perform — compared to all the covers under investigation — in terms of beating their average issue audience.
Two key findings:
|1. Issues with couples on the cover are 44% more likely than average issues to outperform in total readership|
2. The best performing cover topics are:
The cover coding work is ongoing, and we plan to integrate these data into the GfK MRI Smart System deliverable at a future time.
I’ve heard research companies refer to both their Response Rates and Cooperation Rates. What is the difference?
There is a clear difference between response rates and cooperation rates, although they are sometimes erroneously used interchangeably.
Response rates refer to the number of surveys completed by the total number of eligible respondents. It is generally considered to be the more useful metric since it is an indicator of survey quality. It gauges the potential non-response bias in a sample; the higher the response rate, the less survey users need to worry that potential answers from non-responders would change the survey’s findings.
A cooperation rate, on the other hand, gauges the number of eligible respondents who have been contacted and agreed to complete a survey who actually do so. It gauges how well a research company has been able to turn a conceptual “yes” into a completed survey. But, since it ignores all the eligible potential respondents who did not agree to participate in the survey, it does not indicate how reliable the survey data are.
Here’s an example to illustrate:
Say you are doing an Internet survey about leisure activities. You’ve chosen a sample of 1,000 individuals to recruit to answer the survey. 200 agree – and you send them your survey. Of these 200, 50 complete your leisure activity survey. Your cooperation rate is 50/200 or 25%. You have been able to get one-fourth of the people who agreed to participate to follow through with a completed survey. Your response rate, however, would be 50/1000 or 5%. Only 5% of the 1,000 potential respondents in your sample answered the survey, increasing the possibility that there is non-response bias in the sample.
If you have a question that you’d like answered in a future issue of The Source, please contact us.
The July issue of Cover-to-Cover, Starch Advertisting Research's quarterly publication that delivers focused insights into print ad effectiveness, features the following:
Read the July issue of Cover-to-Cover.
Need to know what women in France think of your latest innovation or how your image is holding up with men in Latin America? What about identifying the best market for your product in Asia?
GloboBus, from GfK Roper Omnibus Services, provides cost efficient comparative consumer insights in more than 50 countries. Companies doing business internationally can use the omnibus to gauge markets and gain distinct analytical insights in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
"Increasingly, clients tell us they are looking for consumer insights in international markets. GloboBus is a solid solution for cost effective omnibus surveys outside the U.S.,” said GfK MRI Vice President New Product Sales Development Cathy Saraniti.
GloboBus ensures fast turn-around, from a few days to a couple of weeks. Methodologies in each country are tailored to complement specific cultural identities and to ensure samples are representative of each country’s population. Responses can be collected through CATI (phone), CAPI (face-to-face) and in more developed nations, CAWI (online) methods.
"Increasingly, clients tell us they are looking for consumer insights in international markets. GloboBus is a solid solution for cost effective omnibus surveys outside the U.S.,”
GfK MRI Vice President New Product Sales Development
“Anheuser Busch, Mary Kay and Weight Watchers are among the companies who have used GloboBus for insights about brand awareness, ad recall, brand/product image and market penetration tracking over time and more,” said Bruce Barr, manager of GfK Roper Omnibus Services. “We also conduct surveys in the media, technology and consumer space for other research companies and agencies that do not have any global omnibus services.”
A single point of contact simultaneously facilitates client needs in the U.S. and abroad. Throughout the process—from acquiring bids and designing questionnaires, to managing fieldwork and producing data tabulation and analysis—one GfK representative provides all service and direction.
For more information, please contact us.
GfK MRI staff volunteered at the Hunts Point Cooperative Market for the New York City Food Bank in June. On behalf of GfK MRI's Social Responsibility Task Force, they repacked 3,855 pounds of food to provide 2,965 meals. GfK MRI volunteers work at charitable organizations on a regular basis throughout the year.