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Is consumer segmentation going real time?

Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith, CEO of Kantar Media TGI & Custom is speaking at AOP’s Research Forum, 'Unlocking insight from changing online behaviour' on 17 November at IPC.

He gives us his views on research, measuring digital and combining online and offline insight.

Find out more about the event, also featuring speakers from ITV, Starcom Mediavest, MediaTel and dunnhumby, or book your place online now.

1) What do you see as the biggest challenges facing researchers in trying to gain better insight into online behaviour?

Online behaviour is inherently measurable, so there is an abundance of data that allows us to track what people are doing online. The challenge that faces our clients is to link that behaviour with the user context and wider attitudinal drivers.

Site owners need a holistic understanding of the inter-relationships between online behaviour and offline triggers and outcomes in order to understand, for example, the full ROI of online brand advertising, which may influence numerous online and offline activities.

2) What innovations in research methodology should we expect to see as we strive to get deeper customer understanding and what needs to change most?

Kantar Media is already facilitating the integration of data sets (using advanced data fusion techniques, for example) to help clients achieve deeper customer understanding.

We expect to see an increase in demand for single source data sets, combining traditional survey data – the attitudinal and offline context – with web tracking data. The most recent innovations mean that we have a number of options to choose from, including software for metering the online behaviour of research panellists and cookie-driven solutions.

We also expect to see increasing use of the web (including mobile internet) in qualitative research. Online techniques are already well established in qualitative research, both for ethnography and for specific inquiry.

The need for greater contextual understanding of consumers’ online behaviour will in part be met by harnessing the immediacy and flexibility of the web to delve deeper into motivations.

In that respect, the role of mobile phones in web-enabled research is also growing to encompass mobile survey apps, mobile barcode readers (QR-code readers) and exciting new uses of mobile video.

3) What behavioural changes does research suggest are most significant for future consumer segmentation and understanding?

Smartphone adoption is gathering pace and will have a fundamental impact on how consumers behave online.

The rise of the personalised web, in the form of ‘App’ culture and location-based services, means that consumer segmentation in future will need to be ultra-granular and dynamic (approaching real-time) in order to generate actionable insight.

Another by-product of ‘App’ culture is that increasing numbers of consumers are becoming accustomed to the idea of signing up for paid content on their mobile phone via micropayments.

This paves the way for media owners looking to develop a mixed ecology of ad-funded and paid-for content to explore consumer reactions to new value propositions. Most will need to develop a range of different price/content packages that are optimised for different customer segments.

4) Online is seen as a transparent medium, what challenges does that throw up for measuring the impact of brands amongst consumers?

A key challenge is that online behavioural measurement in itself cannot take account of offline influences, triggers and outcomes – it is only part of the story for understanding the impact of brand communications.

To truly understand campaign performance, we need to integrate the online, behavioural data with other sources of contextual data, such as consumer profiling, brand tracking and sales data. This will also help individual media owners to sell the value of their total audience and to move beyond the current fragmented view of the audience accessing content via different platforms.

The dual nature of the internet – being a platform as well as a medium in its own right – has created a whole new set of audience measurement challenges.

The fact that people are increasingly accessing TV, print and radio content online requires us to measure audiences in ways that can be integrated too and so enable advertisers to reach consumers efficiently and effectively.

* futurePROOF is Kantar Media’s annual survey of technology adoption and digital media usage. It is based on over 2,000 interviews representing the British population aged 12+. The 2010 survey was conducted during October and the first results will be published on 15 November 2010.

Find out more about the event, also featuring speakers from ITV, Starcom Mediavest, MediaTel and dunnhumby, or book your place online now.

Supported by

Kantar Media
Event Sponsor: Kantar Media

Research Magazine
Media Partner: Research Magazine

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