It might seem like going around in circles, as the industry was single source for over 30 years under the AMPS (Audience Measurement Products Survey) banner.
I am asking if SINGLE source is the answer in this edition of Media Beyond The Numbers. I unpack my reasoning in three arguments.
Without data, you are just another person with an opinion – W. Edwards Deming
Today, in South Africa media currency research is currently not single sourced. Each media type has a governing body or council, which is the primary custodian of that specific media currency research. For example, the IAB SA (Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa) represents digital media and holds the digital media currency analytics research conducted by Narratiive.
Reason 1: Cannot compare like for like
We all know AMPS was very resourceful, detailed, stable and reliable. It had everything marketers, strategists and a market data analyst fanatic would love. Primarily, AMPS was powerful because you could compare media data under like for like conditions within a single source.
It is called Apple for Apples, like for like analysis. With AMPS, we were able to compare internet users against radio listeners of a certain media brand. Say for instance News 24 vs 702 for audience analysis to see if there is an overlap. The reality today, is that to do that you need to plug in IAB data through Narratiive and attach it with BRC RAM data.
Not only is the data not comparable, it gives the analyst, strategist, marketer lots of additional work. More work just resourcing the data alone. The other issue is having to make an assumption based on incomparable data.
South Africa Media currency research is incomparable due to:
- Different research houses – Kantar conducts BRC RAM & TAMS, Ask Afrika conducts OMC (Outdoor Measurement Council) research, and Nielsen conducts the PRC’s PAMS.
- Different sample sizes
- Different sample framework
- Different research methods
- Different layers of data analysis
Reason 2: SINGLE source came with Products survey and industry certified segmentation
Why is AMPS still in use? Because it was that good. Mainly because of its products survey. The resourceful strength of single source was mainly based on allowing you to analyse how many people that bank with a specific banking brand, listen to a particular radio station or visit a specific news website in the past seven days.
There are too many data sets to plugin to analyse how consumers consume or use certain products or services in relation to media consumption. Excluding TGI, there is BrandMapp & Brand Atlas; mind you, all these data sets have different sample sizes and data collection methods etc. Again this creates more work for analysis by having to gather and try creating meaningful insights from various, multiple data sets.
Single source came with an industry certified segmentation model, LSM’s (Lifestyle Standard Measure). We all knew LSMs to be the gold standard to segmentation, however today as things moved on, how many of us still use LSMs in the era of SEMs (Socio-Economic Measure).
LSM = Measures what you have at home.
SEM = Measures your lifestyle.
Reason 3: From the outside it looks like
From the outside, some might say media owners are marking their own homework.
Politics has affected industry currency research in South Africa. We do not know the boardroom arguments, but what we do know is that we need collaboration especially in an integrated media era.
From the outside, single source could have been the bridge between online and offline media and give hybrid strategists and planners a solid database to work with when building integrated campaigns. From the outside, it also looks like the Joint Industry Councils (JIC) are fighting each other instead of collaborating.
The one thing that South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) did well was to get marketers, agencies and media owners contributing in some way to the data, AMPS. SAARF was the central currency research kiosk where you get assistance on any query you might have with the data.
One central place that houses all media currency data.
Is SINGLE source the answer?
From a media currency data perspective, I say YES. Imagine going back to comparing like for like and cross tabbing that with product categories and brands. Yes, we had this before but for 2020 with the technology in data collection methods, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Mobile media consumption tracking.
Anyway, why? Are we measuring media types instead of content? Can we measure what type of content I consume through which platform or device I consume it through? Can we look at how consumers are shifting their media consumption patterns? Can we fusion market research with analytics data? For richer, granular insightful data.
Imagine the “New” AMPS as the new single source. To be better than the old version, the new currency can include analytics data, merging online and offline plus bring an end to ‘LSMs’ and move on with SEMs.
We cannot talk integrated media campaigns if post campaigns are reported on different data sets. We can’t fully understand through data how all media touch points attribute to a conversion if we still looking at the data through different eye lenses. For hybrids I am sure like me, they prefer single source.
Nkateko Mongwe is professional a media analytics, market research and data insights specialist. He is one the few industry hybrid media insights strategist with all round experience from leading media owners, leading media agency group and at client side leading national brand. He is a contributing member of the IAB research council and the Publisher Research Council research committee. He was one of the judges of the yearly AMASA 2018 Awards. He featured on the Media magazine is MOST Awards edition. A passionate opinionated writer and media analytics presenter/speaker. His Twitter handle @datainsights88
Kantar, Getting Media Right 2019
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.