Media Targeting

Colin McDonald

It has always been, and largely still is, traditional to select media by demographics, in spite of what seem to be the obvious advantages of targeting product use. It hardly needs underlining that to choose media that are seen by people who you know are likely to use or try your product or service should be a better bet than guessing at this from a bald demographic breakdown. But there are two problems that stand in the way. One is that some media are not very selective for most products; these include those peak-time mainstream television programmes that have tended to attract most advertising dollars. The other is that the necessary information about which media are more or less selective for what products is cumbersome and expensive to collect.

Before the 1960s, media targeters relied on matching media and product data from different samples, using weighting to make the samples comparable. This is still done where better resources are not available, but has obvious weaknesses. During the 1960s, two possible solutions emerged. One, data fusion (see WARC Quick Brief, Data Fusion), tries to merge two surveys on common variables so that they can be analysed as if they were one sample. The other, single-source, obtains media and product data from the same individuals.

Single-source media-product surveys