Media planners have always wanted to measure the “optimum level of reach and frequency of different combinations of media channels”.
The question is – to a certain extent – valid: What is the best way to manage finite financial resources across TV, radio, press, and other forms of communications to achieve the best impact?
It is not entirely a bad thing: Once we know the answers – or the principles related – to this question, we can then move towards optimization.
Given the fragmented media landscape and increasingly declining budgets, all the more that we should be answering this question and deciding based on those answers.
But should the internet and social media be included in these process?
TV, radio, presses and outdoor are still measured in terms of the ‘number of people who have seen (or who claim to have seen) the medium’. That’s what GRPs – even PeopleMeter measures – are based on.
But the web – in all its myriad forms from banner ads, rich ads, search, action-seeking ads (either recommend, forward, click, save or download) – is an entirely different thing.
Whilst PeopleMeter and diary ratings are operationally defined as “people who click on a button in front of the TV to identify themselves” or “people who record their media exposures on a predefined diary”, the web is entirely different.
Let’s not even talk about mobile phones – which encompass SMS, location-based and on-demand apps, bluecasting, mobile search, location-based push-SMS/messages…
The point is: Reach and frequency – and other OTS (opportunity-to-see/hear) metrics – on these “new” media. It is not actionable nor relevant to say that “TV generates 70% of unduplicated reach, whilst the internet delivers an additional 15% reach”.
Nor can we say: “Site A delivers 35% reach, and with the additional Site B buys, we will have an additional 12% reach – resulting to 47% unduplicated reach of the internet campaign".
I understand the need for a single currency – because how can we optimize if we don’t have a single currency that would define goals and constraints?
But the call for a single currency shouldn’t disrespect the medium and its innate characteristics, strength, and roles in the lives of consumers.
There must be another way of creating a single, standard currency that applies to all.
In my opinion, that’s consumer response to the ads carried in different media.