AiM allows planners and buyers to determine which sites index highest among all sorts of behavioral, psychographic, and demographic factors.
The AiM advantage comes from its connection to the Media Metrix panel data, which is now also part of the comScore suite. With tens of thousands of monitored panel users, the query tool provides very up-to-date data over thousands of sites. After tricking the JMM folks to give us password access to their AiM product when it first launched, we put it through its paces and were impressed with what we found.
Of the syndicated site research tools out there, AiM gets our nod as the most useful to date. By combining various queries, buyers can get to all sorts of interesting information. For instance, by combining the criterion of planning to change marital status within six months and the criterion of being a married person, we can find out which sites attract people who intend to leave their spouses. This isn’t the kind of data that buyers can guess at by using their "media gut." And aside from being a sordidly interesting query to run as an example, this is actually a useful audience for appliance makers and other companies. Whether KitchenAid knows it or not, its site is on the list, and it would understand better why certain people are buying dishwashers if it plumbed the depths of the AiM database.
And frankly, the tool can be a lot of fun. For example, it turns out that people who visit the Apple site are about half as likely to be thinking of retiring soon relative to those who visit the Microsoft site. The people who are most likely to upgrade to broadband in the next year are those who are visiting sites with streaming video, like Barelylegalfeed.com.
The tool strains the bounds of being a mere media research tool and broaches into the category of a social science breakthrough. The categories of query are fairly limited today — for instance, we can find out how athletic certain users are, but AiM hasn’t yet asked panelists about family relationships or political attitudes. But the system exists now for these other lines of inquiry to be fielded and added to the system.
This may be the beginning of the time when we can easily know more about online users and media vehicles than we can about those in any other medium.