More Effective Media Buying: Part 2

Audience Measurement Tools: Media outlets use a variety of means to monitor the size and characteristics of their audience. Here’s an overview of the most common measurement tools.


Broadcast Television. ACNielsen is the major research company for broadcast television audience measurement. It assembles a “representative” sample of viewers and asks them to keep a viewing diary. The company then extrapolates national data from the sample.


Radio. Measurement ratings for radio audiences are determined using the diary system much like those for local television stations. Arbitron is the industry leader in measuring radio station listenership.


Newspaper. Circulation is often cited as a means of calculating how many people read a particular newspaper.

Keep in mind, however, that a delivered or purchased paper may or may not be read, or read entirely, and a single issue might be read by more than one person, all of which make it very difficult to determine exact readership numbers. The Audit Board of Circulation (ABC) is a national organization that verifies circulation figures.

The “Yesterday-Reading Technique,” a system used in markets with more than one publication, is an attempt to gather readership data. In this technique, a random sample of subscribers is asked which newspaper they read the day before.




Outdoor. Billboard companies estimate exposure based on traffic patterns. However, this measure doesn’t indicate how many drivers or their passengers actually read the billboard.

Media impact attempts to “weigh” the effectiveness of the advertising message and the medium. Some media vehicles have more impact than others.

A good media buy takes into account both reach and frequency. Media buyers use “gross rating points” (GRP) as a measuring tool. GRPs are calculated as follows:


GRP = reach (rating number) x frequency


A basic knowledge of reach and frequency — coupled with a hefty dose of common sense and the advice of a media buying professional — can help a financial institution marketer ask the right questions, and receive the right answers, when spending valuable media dollars.

Making the Right Media Choice Before making any media decisions, spend time exploring your competition, your market, and your media options. The following three-step outline will help you gather the information you need to make the best decision for your institution.

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