Volume I, February 2012

Q&A with Dr. Julian Baim Ad Noting Scores For Digital Versus Printed Magazines

Chief Research Officer
Dr. Julian Baim
GfK MRI recently launched Starch Digital, a syndicated ad measurement service that delivers powerful ROI metrics for evaluating digital print advertising. Since May 2011, Starch has measured more than 33,000 digital ads on Tablets, eReaders and in digital reproductions, such as Zinio and Coverleaf. Here, we talk with Dr. Julian Baim, GfK MRI’s EVP and chief research officer, about a topic in the forefront of publishers' and advertisers' minds: “How do digital magazine ads perform in comparison to printed magazine ads?”

Q. A key question publishers and marketers have is: “How do ads on Tablets and eReaders perform, particularly in comparison to ads in printed copies of magazines?”

It’s still very early to draw firm conclusions about the performance of ads on these devices.  We have to remember that the iPad, for example, is only two years old and that ownership of these devices continues to grow at a rapid rate.  As more people read magazines on these digital devices, the effectiveness of ads within the digital magazines may also change.  At this point, our data show that Tablet ads perform about as well as those in the paper version, with the Zinio/Coverleaf and eReader ad effectiveness scores trailing behind (in that order).  These findings are consistent across the online panels which provided the bulk of the Starch Digital data. We do find, however, that digital ads yield higher actions taken scores vis-a-vis ads in printed copies of magazines.  These data suggest that digital platforms or enriched ad content have a positive effect on the likelihood of readers to take an action after noting an ad.

Average Noting Scores
Starch Advertising Research
May — December 2011
Platform # Issues # Ads Total Respondents  (Unweighted) Noted (%) Any Action Taken
(Noninteractive) Noters (%)
Used any Interactive Features Noters (%)
Print 2,034 81,960 501,542 53% 61% n/a
Tablet 428 5,382 13,321 49% 71% 83%
711 15,643 22,454 47% 67% 78%
eReader 638 13,735 7,736 42% 67% 77%
Date of Analysis: 2/15/12

Q. Does this vary by, say, magazine genre or product category?

These overall findings are mirrored in many cases as we look at magazine genres and product categories. 

Q.  Is a comparison of Starch Digital and Starch print scores a fair “Apples-to-Apples” comparison?

At this point, the answer is "not exactly." GfK MRI employs the same methodology and uses the same on-line panels to measure ad noting, etc. for the print and digital editions. However, we should emphasize the ads in a specific issue of a magazine are not always the same across all platforms. It is equally true that some digital editions might have fewer ads or have a single ad sponsor. Since we have aggregated the scores across all issues that have multiple platforms, these differences may affect comparability between print and digital editions. In addition, a number of ads in digital editions might be "enhanced" or are interactive.

Q. What are GfK MRI’s future plans for Starch Digital?

In early March, GfK MRI will begin utilizing more targeted sample for Starch digital surveys. By employing sample pre-screened for readership of specific titles by device, we hope to increase the number of completes that we get for every survey. At the same time, we will move to measure every ad within digital versions of an issue, mimicking our approach for the printed version of the magazine issue. The ultimate goal will be to produce more stable information so that we can release more granular data — first starting with title specific information, and hopefully then issue/ad specific information. 

Behind the Numbers Lights, Camera, Action: America (Still) Goes to the Movies

"And the winner is …" Although GfK MRI is not in the business of forecasting whether Meryl Streep or Glenn Close will win an Academy Award on February 26, we can tell you that going to the movies remains a winning activity among U.S. consumers. Attendance at movie theaters has increased in the past five years. Furthermore, people who watch movies online have not abandoned the theater; they are more likely than typical adults to also go to the movies.

  • The numbers of adults who go to movie theaters increased from 58% in 2007 to 61% in 2011, according to GfK MRI's Survey of the American Consumer™.
  • Frequency of theater attendance has remained stable over the past five years. Given the tough economic times and the many ways that consumers have cut back on discretionary spending, this stability is a win for the movie industry.
  • Adults who stream or download movies online are 43% more likely than typical adults to also attend movie theaters. There's a "but" here, though — only 7% of adults stream or download movies from the Internet, and among this audience we see a decrease in the frequency of attendance between 2010 and 2011.

Movie Attendance Increase Over Five Years

Overall, movie attendance has increased slightly in the past five years from 58% in 2007 to 61% in 2011. The growth is most pronounced among those ages 55 and older.

5-Year Trend Movie Theater Attendance
U.S. Adults who go to the movies
Attended Movie Theater 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Lift
All 58% 59% 59% 59% 61% 5%
Age 18-24 71% 71% 75% 71% 75% 6%
Age 25 - 34 67% 67% 67% 70% 71% 6%
Age 55 - 64 51% 52% 51% 55% 56% 10%
Age 65+ 36% 38% 39% 38% 40% 11%
Source: GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer, Spring 2007 through 2011
Base: Attended movie theater in past six months

The frequency of attendance among movie-goers who attend a movie at least once a month has remained stable. There is a slight increase in the percent of infrequent movie-goers (less than once a month), up to 57% from 54%.

Frequency of Attendance
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Attend 1/week or more 4% 4% 4% 4% 4%
Attend 2-3 times/month 11% 11% 11% 11% 10%
Attend 1/month 16% 18% 17% 18% 16%
Attend <1/month 54% 55% 56% 54% 57%
Source: GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer, Spring 2007 through 2011
Base: Adults; Attended movie theater in past six months; frequency in past 90 days.

Online Movie Viewing

A small minority of consumers (7%) download or stream movies — a slight increase since 2010 — and the majority of these viewers (87%) also go to theaters to see movies. In fact, people who view movies online are 43% more likely than the typical adult to have gone to the theater in the past six months, showing that the appeal of the theater experience—large screen, surround sound, a bucket of popcorn—is strong among people who also watch online.

Movie Viewing Online
Online Streaming / Downloading
  2010 2011
Streamed/Downloaded Movie 5% 7%
and Attended Movie Theater
85% 87%
Index 143 Index 143
Source: GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer, Spring 2010 - 2011
Base: Adults; Activity in past six months

Although the overall figures hardly suggest that online movie viewing poses a threat to box office counts, the frequency of theater visits among people who stream/download movies online has decreased, especially in the high frequency ranges. Moreover, the one-year increase in infrequent attendance (less than once a month) is a robust 15%; up to 54% in Spring 2011 from 47% in Spring 2010. So, while the majority of folks who download/stream movies do also go to movie theatres, they are going less frequently.

Frequency of Theater Attendance
Adults Who Also Streamed/Downloaded Movies Online
  2010 2011
Attend 1/week or more 6% 5%
Attend 2-3 times/month 16% 10%
Attend 1/month 19% 19%
Attend <1/month 47% 54%
Source: GfK MRI's Survey of the American Consumer, Spring 2010 and 2011
Base: Attended movie theater and streamed/downloaded movie online in past six months; Frequency of attendance in past 90 days

The take-away? American adults still go to the movie theater, and those who watch movies online are even more likely than the typical adult to visit the box office. If you are in the business or an enthusiastic fan, don't worry about the wide screen experience going away; pass the popcorn and enjoy the Oscars.

For more information about GfK MRI's movie viewing data, please contact us.

Digital Consumer Update Magazine Reading on Tablets—What Readers Want

Top Magazine Types Among Tablet Owners:

  • Food
  • Computers
  • Gossip/Entertainment
  • Sports
  • Business/Finance
  • News
  • Health
  • Women
  • Travel
  • Science/Tech
  • Automotive

Glance over shoulders on the subway, in a coffee shop, just about anywhere and you'll see people reading magazines on Tablets. GfK MRI is learning how consumers use this new medium through iPanel—a panel composed exclusively of Tablet and eReader owners.  Among our new data is information on Tablet owners' interest in reading digital magazines as well as what they have to say about the experience — important considerations for guiding the industry towards making the right decisions early in the digital revolution.

Interest In Reading Digital Magazines Is Strong

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of Tablet owners told us they are interested in reading magazines on their device. Men, in particular, are open to digital magazine reading, 77% compared to 68% of women.

Here's a gem for advertisers looking to target younger men — 85% of men ages 18-34 are interested in reading magazines on their Tablets. Since this is a notoriously hard-to-reach demo, Tablet versions of magazines might offer an effective way of connecting with them.

"Tablets, such as the iPad, are emerging as a good way to reach tech-oriented young men," said Chip Walker, executive vice president, director of brand planning & innovation at Y&R, New York.  "These guys are both media savvy and incredibly selective about the media they consume, which can make them a nightmare for brands to connect with; they are more likely to engage with a magazine on a Tablet than in print."

Magazines On Tablets Spark New Behaviors

Digital magazines appear to be inspiring new reading behavior among consumers. For instance, almost half (44%) of Tablet owners who read a magazine on their device in the last 30 days tell us that they also read the paper version of at least one of the same issues. The fact that many publications offer print subscribers complimentary access to the title's digital version is likely one reason this percentage is so high.

Additionally, 19% of Tablet owners who read a magazine on their device in the last 30 days also took the opportunity to read back issues of a title during their reading session. "Magazines on Tablets may have an extended shelf-life since the Tablet platform allows for easy access to back issues," said Risa Becker, SVP Research at GfK MRI. "Instead of having one reading session to connect with their audience, publishers and advertisers also can connect through past issues, increasing exposure opportunities with readers."

Likes And Dislikes Of Tablet Magazine Readers

Magazine app developers take note: 72% of Tablet owners who read a magazine on their device in the last 30 days say they would prefer all digital magazines to be formatted in the same way. Additionally, 65% said they prefer a simple electronic reproduction of a magazine to an app with lots of extra features.

Of particular interest to advertisers, 70% told us they like electronic ads that are personalized to their interests. The same percentage said that they would like to be able to buy items by clicking on the ads in digital magazines.

Digital Versus Paper?
67% Prefer to read an electronic version of a magazine over a paper version.
65% Say it is more satisfying to read a magazine the traditional way, on paper.

How do Tablet owners who read digital magazines feel about digital versus paper versions? The majority (67%) told us that, if available, they would prefer to read an electronic version of a magazine rather than a paper version. Somewhat paradoxically, 65% say that it is more satisfying to read a magazine the traditional way, on paper. It appears that the convenience of electronic magazines — such as portability and immediate access — are highly valued by Tablet readers, but at the same time, paper magazines still have a special tactile appeal. Or, perhaps, readers find that it's nice to take a break from electronic devices.

We also heard less positive feedback from Tablet magazine readers:

  • 48% say electronic magazines take too long to download.
  • 46% say videos in digital versions of magazines are just a gimmick.
  • 43% find it hard to search for magazines they want to read on their Tablet.

Digital magazine publishers and advertisers have lots to make them optimistic, based on these and other GfK MRI findings. Many of our digital insights are shared in the Digital Intelligence section of our website and in our Digital Update Video series. If you missed the most recent videos, you can watch them now:

Digital Video Update -
Magazines & Tablets Part 1
Digital Video Update -
Magazines & Tablets Part 2

Julie Says Get Psyched Out, Not Left Out

Use Psychographics To Add Qualitative Insights To Quantitative Measures

Julie Erbe
GfK MRI Manager /
Web Training &
Advertiser Services

Marketers increasingly demand more than just quantitative measures of audience behaviors. They also need psychographic information to develop consumer profiles that inform on the attitudinal factors that drive audience action. Don't limit your GfK MRI resources to demographic, product and media data; understand the "whys" behind certain targets' actions by using our psychographic segmentation analyses.

GfK MRI's psychographic data can provide direction for marketing strategies by better predicting consumer activity, particularly when combined with demographic and behavioral data. For example, if you want to know about the technology mindsets of people who buy certain mobile brands, simply run a crosstab of the Technology Segments and cellular brands:

Psychographic Insights Bring Data to Life
Consumers in Technology Segments & The Mobile Phones they Own
Brand Techno-Phobes
Techno-Phobes have little or no interest in purchasing advanced technology products or services. They do not participate in the technology purchasing or decision-making process and are suspicious of computers and the Internet and technology in general.
Techno-Laggards are not interested in advanced technology or applications. They do not find computers intimidating and use the Internet on a limited basis for checking e-mails, searching for specific information or shopping.
Tech-Sploiters have a more pragmatic orientation toward technology—they value new tech products most for their utility. Tech-Sploiters are generally satisfied with the technologies they use and are unlikely to be interested in knowing much more about them.
Techno-Gamers embrace technology for entertainment purposes and are big fans of electronic, computer and video games— online, they are more likely to chat, participate in dating services, play games and access gambling sites.
Tech-Thusiasts own and use advanced technology products, and are highly interested in the theoretical aspects of technology. They want to know how things work, enjoy reading about new products and are willing to pay for top quality electronics.
Tech-Splorers are eager to try new technologies and use them more frequently than the other segments. Knowledgeable and confident enough to give advice to others, Tech-Splorers are more likely to have read or looked into technology, computer and science magazines.
iPhone 20  82 92 151 284 270
Blackberry 32 105 105 143 238 155
Source: GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer Doublebase 2011

These findings show us how iPhone and Blackberry compare among the various segments, with the most tech-savvy being more likely to own an iPhone.
GfK MRI offers 30 segmentations in the Survey of the American Consumer and nine in TeenMark. Segmentation analyses group consumers with common attributes; they are based on responses to corresponding attitudinal statements or behavioral questions in the Survey. The segments can be cross-tabulated by all data available in MEMRI or by your data service provider. Once you've determined what products each segment is most likely to use, it's interesting to look at the media these consumers use or the demographics that define the group. You can also cross-tab the segments against other psychographics, for example, Health and Nutrition Segments and LeisureStyles Segments to build a more complex target. I often find that doing preliminary analyses with these segments leads to further exploration that produce unexpected, valuable results.

When using psychographic data, always use population weight. Remember, psychographic responses belong to the individual; never use household weight with psychographics. Also, the VALs battery, a series of values-orientated statements, was developed by a third-party and requires its own "VALs" weighting.

Full descriptions of our segmentations are in the GfK MRI Psychographic Sourcebook and our Codebook.

Psychographic Segmentations in the
Survey of the American Consumer

Advertising & Media

  • Interest in Advertising
  • Media Attitudes
  • Newspaper Readers
  • Responsiveness to Ads Across Media

Community, Politics, Environment & Attitudinal Outlook

  • Civic/Political Engagement
  • General Attitudes
  • Green Attitudes & Behavior

Fashion & Shopping

  • Buying Styles
  • Consumer Innovators
  • Fashion & Style Attitudes


  • Banking Methods
  • Market Involvement & Savings
  • Money Borrowing Attitudes

Health & Nutrition

  • Cooking & Food Shopping
  • Diet Control & Eating Habits
  • Doctors & Healthcare
  • Eating & Nutrition
  • Medicine & Drugs

Sports & Leisure

  • LeisureStyles


  • Internet and Mobile Web
  • Mobile Attitudes
  • Technology Attitudes

Travel & Transportation

  • Interest/Expertise in Automobiles
  • Preferred Automobile Characteristics
  • Travel Planning
  • Vacation Preferences

Derived From Third Party Batteries

  • INFLUENTIAL Americans
  • VALS

Segmentations in TeenMark:

  • Beauty: Hair Attitudes
  • Beauty: Makeup Attitudes
  • Fashion Attitudes
  • Finance Attitudes
  • Food Attitudes
  • Internet/Online Technology Attitudes
  • LeisureStyles
  • Music Attitudes
  • Yourself Attitudes

Learn about GfK MRI data — best practices, common mistakes, advanced uses and more — by attending GfK MRI's online webinars, led by me, Julie Erbe.

If you would like to attend webinars but have not received evites, please email Julie.Erbe@gfkmri.com.

USA TouchPoints™ Update5 Things You May Not Know About Consumers

With the next release of USA TouchPoints™ data due at the end of February from Media Behavior Institute, here are five insights revealed in the data currently being used by media agencies and media owners to explore the contexts in which people use media and to create actionable consumer stories relevant to advertisers:

USA TouchPoints™ is a rich, multi-dimensional study of American consumers' daily lives--including their moods, emotional states and media consumption. It promises to improve the efficiency of marketing communications by delivering unparalleled day-in-the-life consumer insights. GfK MRI, along with Nielsen, is an equity investor in the Media Behavior Institute, the company that produces USA TouchPoints™
  • Connected Moms:  Millennial Moms (18-32) report spending a third of their day “connecting” via their mobile phones — whether talking, texting, emailing or using social networking functions — suggesting the ubiquity of the device and its utility to this group.
  • Busy Moms:  While mobile phones seem to fit the lifestyle of today’s busy (and mobile) Mom, TV seems to provide less opportunity for interaction with friends, with less than 5% of Moms 25-54 watching TV with their friends on any given day.
  • Mobile and Mealtimes:  Despite the view held by some that using the phone at the table is “bad manners,” on average, people are 10% more likely to use their mobile phones while eating and drinking than they are to use their mobile phones for work — possibly because other communication options are available in different locations when not eating.  One thing’s for sure — the mobile phone is becoming a feature of our eating patterns.
  • Tech-Averse, But Not Tech-Rejectors:  Despite their aversion to technology, more than 10% of tech-averse people (those less engaged with the range of available technologies) use their mobile phones for advanced features such as email, search, and social networking.
  • Tech and Emotions:  Tech-forward people (those most engaged with available technologies) experience a greater range of emotions — both positive and negative — than do tech-averse people.  Tech-forward people are 24% more overwhelmed, 29% more bored, and 35% more frustrated than are tech-averse people.  On the flip side, they are also 23% more hopeful, 28% more confident, and 35% more happy than tech-averse people.  While perhaps laying to rest the idea that technology makes our lives seem easier, it would seem that Tech-forward people may at least be more confident of their ability to cope with their lives.

These are just a handful of the contextual insights derived recently from analyses of USA TouchPoints™, all of which sit within broader investigations of consumer behavior.

USA TouchPoints™ is a unique syndicated research tool.  Collectively the information captured provides access to the most flexible and comprehensive data set to reveal the whole story of our relationship with media.

If you’d like more information about USA TouchPoints™, please email mike@mediabehavior.com.