PPM Update: Houston Fine, Demo In-Tab Issues Remain Elsewhere
January 3, 2008 at 10:46 AM (PT)
In TODAY's monthly DECEMBER PPM conference call (1/3), ARBITRON showed data of HOUSTON's PPM results that, in terms of daily in-tab response and the like, reached all-time highs. They also noted that while certain young and ethnic demos in PHILADELPHIA, NEW YORK and NASSAU-SUFFOLK were still not up to snuff, at least the trending on those in-tabs were, for the most part, improving.
After offering data of HOUSTON enjoying "strong sample representation" above the DDI targets in nearly all key categories, they then revealed data on the other markets, which illustrated the in-tab challenges of certain demos and ethnic representation: With a response goal being in the 75-80% range, the PHILADELPHIA black 18-34 in-tab was 69 and Hispanic was 57 (though both were improvements); NEW YORK 18-34s hit 65 (but rising); NASSAU 18-34 was 56 and flat; and MIDDLESEX 18-34 was 62.
We've been hearing from a lot of customers who'd like us to lower the minimum needed to run reports in the PPM Analysis Tool.
ARBITRON executives did express concern about the 18-34 response rates, but noted that even the underrepresented demos are trending up. Furthermore, their efforts to correct that, by and large, are now paying off in 18-24, so they will be concentrating their efforts on the 25-34s. They predicted that improvements in 25-34 should at least start to be evident in FEBRUARY.
"25-34 will be our focus in coming year," ARBITRON Pres./Sales & Marketing PIERRE BOUVARD declared. "Our internal target is that cell in FEBRUARY. We're very happy with the improvements we've made in 18-24. By increasing the sampling rate and offering higher premiums, well feel that will positively impact 25-34 as well."
Lowering The In-Tab Bar?
The ARBITRON executives didn't directly address the situation in NASSAU-SUFFOLK,. where certain demo cells garnered under 30 responses, rendering them unusable in the PPM Analysis Tool. But BOUVARD would say that "We've been hearing from a lot of customers who'd like us to lower the minimum needed to run reports in the PPM Analysis Tool. Since three diaries equals one PPM, we could lower it for cells such as 18-24 black women, for instance. We are looking at making such data acceptable, and we are working with our research subcommittee on that."
In other topics:
* BOUVARD said that ARBITRON will not do away with the 6-11 year-old cell. Rather, the Advisory Council has asked that they maximize the 12+ data, so "we're looking at a couple of different scenarios" to accomplish that.
"PPM causes a lot more scrutiny into everything we do," he added. "But if you look at the four years we've done method tests, you can see we're leading the way. This is what we do -- we focus on cells that are hard to reach and try to do things to improve them."
* SVP/Chief Research Officer BOB PATCHEN declined to discuss the specifics of ARBITRON's incentive program, calling it "our version of McDONALD's 'secret sauce,'" but detailed the four things they did with 18-24s that they believe will also be successful in raising the 25-34 response rates.
"One, we're going to raise some of incentives, not by an amount that will change anyone's lifestyle, but one that gets their attention.
"Two, we'll increase the rate of selected [25-34] households because they're harder to contact, have a higher refusal rate, and move more often.
"Three -- and this is really critical -- tweak and refine the panel management system."
PATCHEN added, "We're doing a better job today of improving in-tab rate for these demos because people on the panel are cooperating better. Lastly, we're increasing the amount of attention we're putting on different ways people wear and decorate the meter. this is not as big as other issues, but it can be important to 18-24 women. Small attachments or pursues, lanyards or velcro packs, non-adhesive stickers to decorate the meter ... things like that are an important part of the mobile phone culture that we can leverage with the meter. It's not just about giving them more money."