LONDON: In a follow-up to its seminal Touchpoints Hub Survey earlier this year, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - the official body representing British advertising, media and marketing communications agencies - has launched phase two of the initiative.

The first phase, conducted for the IPA by Taylor Nelson Sofres, reflects a week in the lives of a 5,010-strong representative sample of the UK adult population in the latter part of 2005.

Phase 2, launched late last week features a ground-breaking Integrated Planning Database (IPD) that is able to create a single source measurement of 'likely' contact across all media.

It works by integrating established media industry currencies onto the TouchPoints Hub Survey to create a link across all the media channels. For the 'newer' media channels which do not have an established currency (ie internet, SMS and direct mail), it simulates usage.

The IPD represents a new planning standard that allows all media channels to be considered early in the planning process, providing insights into how communication channels are used, singly, together and on a time basis for particular target audiences.

For the first time, users will be able to create multimedia scenarios against a wide range of defined communications objectives and audiences, with combined coverage and frequency as key communication outputs. It is expected to inform budget-setting, channel and media selection against specific planning audiences.

TouchPoints is not intended to replace the currencies within each medium, but to put them in context with other media. Moreover, it is designed to be sufficiently flexible to link into other databases - for example TGI [Target Group Index].

The IPA also expects users to integrate proprietary databases from other sources whether they be customer databases; other bespoke research or client knowledge.

IPA president David Pattison declares the initiative to be "a world as well as an IPA first. It is an agency led initiative which is seeking not only to address the multimedia landscape, but to raise the bar on the professionalism of the media industry."

More specifically, says IPA research director Lynne Robinson: "TouchPoints has delivered to communication planners a common language, a consumer view of multi-media behaviour and an effective planning tool that can be used in all stages of the planning process."

The project is financed and supported by a luminous host of founding partners, including media agencies, media owners and client companies.

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff