The Limits Of POOR Points

In last week's column I wrote about the television industry's continued search for supplements to -- and ultimately, replacements for -- the dead weight (i.e., the "Bernie" of "Weekend at Bernie's") of traditional media measurement: age-sex demos.

This week I want to show you why more and more buyers and sellers of media are moving away from using current currency by itself and toward more actionable set-top-box data paired with other types of data: behavior-based, and -- for our purposes here -- purchase-based.

Because if you take a close look at a single product category, and compare the story told by ratings indices derived from Purchase Ratings Points (PRPs) to that told by Plain Old Ordinary Ratings points (from age-sex demos, hereafter referred to as POOR points), you'll be shocked by how differently they end.

So let's dig in, to yogurt. Yes, yogurt -- a $210 million television-advertising market. But have you ever thought about who the target audience is for yogurt marketers? Go ahead, guess. If you said -- based perhaps on Jamie Lee Curtis' Activia-driven comeback -- that most yogurt buyers are women, you'd be right.

So historically, marketers have spent that $210 million targeting women 25 to 54. End of story for the POOR points.



But as there are many types of yogurt-eaters, so too are there many types and brands of yogurt. And in order to find the right audience for your particular brand and type of yogurt, you need to understand a few things about your audience.

POOR points might tell you what your audience is like, but who are they as individuals? Where are they? What do they like to do (besides watch television)? What do they like to buy?

The chart below shows which prime-time shows actual purchasers of two types of yogurt were most likely to tune into last week, as PRP-based indices (a relative measure).


If you're looking for a Greek-yogurt-buying audience, the strategy is clear: Go with "30 Rock." But if you're selling Yoplait? You might want to spread your spend around a bit more: "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy," and "Brothers & Sisters" are also great bets. 

POOR points can't tell you that. POOR points by their very nature introduce waste into your media plan, and that costs you money.  This money can be redeployed to programs that offer you the right audience: viewers who actually buy the products being advertised.

And that's what the new generation of industry solutions does. They deliver actionable information based on real data, and that's why they're fast becoming the providers of the new industry vehicle for media buying and selling. That's why networks, advertisers, and marketers looking for a renewed level of accountability in their media strategy are turning away from POOR points and in the direction of metrics like the PRP-based indices above.

That's not to say that POOR points are -- for lack of a better term -- pointless; they're still relevant insofar as they will continue to provide validation of your data-driven approach. But to understand how a program rates for a particular type of purchaser, you need actionable data, and you need accountability. You're not going to get that from the POOR guys.

5 comments about "The Limits Of POOR Points".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, April 26, 2011 at 7:33 p.m.

    Agree totally with your indices.

    This type of analysis has been how TV has been bought here in Australia for almost two decades. What we have found is that 'the juice' is squeezed with the bigger programmes (the 30 Rock's) but the smaller programmes that make up the rest of the campaign weight are less effected (and sometimes in the 'wrong' direction).

    Therefore key programme selection is done at a strategic level using such indices and this is issued as a "buying mandatory" (maybe half the weight is mandatory programmes). The buyer is then free to buy the rest of the weight againts the network's demo of (say) Women 25-54. It does however provide for some interesting discussions for buys that are audited - do we use the network ratings or the 'buyergraphic' ratings.

  2. Philip Moore from Philip Moore, April 27, 2011 at 12:54 p.m.

    Definitely on the right track Mark.

    Greek Yogurt eaters are more likely watching 30 Rock. However, limiting waste requires an additional step. Which would you rather have as the CMO of Chobani, the first position in the first pod of Brothers and Sisters or the sixth position of the fourth pod of 30 Rock? We are all kidding ourselves if we think every position of every pod in an overindexing show is a better choice than any position in any pod in a lower indexing show.

    My DVR control has a 30-second skip forward button. The only ad fragments I ever see anymore are the first few frames of the first position and the last few frames of the last position. Whatever you bought in the middle of the pod is wasted on me. So if we're talking about eliminating waste, we better consider pod position as well.

  3. Mark Lieberman from TRA, April 28, 2011 at 9:23 a.m.

    I totally agree with you, Philip. DailyTRA provides the reader with snippets of information on how users are using our system to eliminate waste and improve ROI. Of course, users are also able to report on actual second by second commercial viewing and pod positioning and its impact with a simple report, making Media TRAnalytics® the most robust analytics software of its kind.

  4. Juliette Cowall from Godwin Plumbing & Hardware, April 28, 2011 at 10:35 a.m.

    No doubt, we need to target current customers. And do we also want to convert others' customers? This could show us where the greatest opportunity to do that is.

  5. Mark Lieberman from TRA, April 29, 2011 at 6:34 p.m.

    With TRA's Media TRAnalytics®, you are able to find the right audience for a particular category or brand – based on the brand’s objectives or based on the most responsive audience – and by responsive this includes your competitor’s loyal customers. With this information, advertisers are able to reallocate media investment accordingly, thus reducing waste and capitalizing on the opportunity to grow sales.

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