Here's The Ad Sentiment Index, What's Yours?

In 1975, J. Walter Thompson did a study estimating the average consumer was exposed to about 500 brand impressions each day. Today, Nielsen estimates it’s more like 5,000. While it’s unlikely anyone knows the precise number, everyone knows the volume of ads bombarding consumers -- from TV screens to out-of-home media to the devices in their very hands -- grows each day. Yet no one has tracked how this torrent of ad messages is impacting consumers’ sentiment toward advertising, as well as the individual media that carry them. Until now, that is.

Beginning today, Real-Time Daily and Qriously will begin collaborating on just that. Using Qriously’s real-time mobile polling system, we will track and report on consumers’ perceived sentiment toward advertising overall, and across various media -- new and old. The data is entirely self-reported, but the methods used to track them are scientific and consistent, and we believe this will be an interesting barometer for understand consumers’ attitudes about advertising, especially as new forms of media emerge to vie for their attention.

We’re calling it the Ad Sentiment Index (ASI), and its modeled on the notion of the Consumer Confidence Index, but instead of tracking their economic confidence, we’ll be tracking how they perceive the role advertising plays in influencing their disposition with brands.

To create the index, Qriously, which taps the value of opinion to create a more meaningful mobile ad experience for both consumer and advertiser, polls hundreds of Americans a day on mobile devices, asking questions in the space where an ad might otherwise run. The questions ask whether ads influence people’s feelings about brands in general, and specifically how ads on radio, in magazines, on Facebook, Twitter or other Internet venues, on mobile devices, in newspapers, seen outdoors or on TV, influence them. The index has tracked these responses since March. With the testing period complete, MediaPost is bringing the results to the general public.

“Consumers enjoy sharing their opinions, especially when they’re asked politely,” explains Qriously North America General Manager Joe Zahtila. “We value these opinions a great deal, and use them to do research as well as to serve consumers relevant ads. We're pleased to partner with MediaPost to learn how Americans' opinions toward various forms of advertising change over time.”

Like the RTB 500 we launched earlier this year with OwnerIQ, one of the goals of Real-Time Daily is to leverage the power of real-time data to help readers gain some perspective and make better decisions on how they invest in media and other marketing communications.

Also like the RTB 500, we consider these works in progress, and value your feedback -- good or bad -- so that we can figure out how to improve things, or do other things. We have some other real-time data indices and composites in development, and your feedback is essential to making sure they deliver on what we’re setting out to do: Give the world's most sophisticated consumers of media -- the professionals who plan, buy and sell it -- better information to make their investments decisions. As always, you can post them publicly in the comments field that follows this post, or contact me directly at

A complete description of the Ad Sentiment Index methodology can be accessed by the link in the index.

Image supplied courtesy of Shutterstock.

7 comments about "Here's The Ad Sentiment Index, What's Yours?".
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  1. Skip Brand from bbd (branding big data), September 25, 2014 at 11:53 a.m.


    I like the direction and measurement leadership MediaPost is taking. This builds nicely on top of RTB 500.

    Keep up the good work and adding "tech" back into ad tech at MediaPost.

    ASI (Sentiment) like CCI (Confidence) will be fun to measure over time.

    Thanks for the leadership here.


  2. Kajal Mukhopadhyay from mdrk Consulting, September 25, 2014 at 12:48 p.m.

    Joe, this would be absolutely forward looking. CCI, and Consumer Confidence Index (Michigan) have been used as economic "trending factors" in Marketing Mix environments for some time now. This will nicely complement those efforts to measure "causal" impacts as well. Will be looking forward to your updates. Kajal

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 27, 2014 at 7:35 a.m.

    Joe, the ASI idea is interesting, though I'm highly skeptical that such a generalized indicator, with all of the attendant issues involved in getting meaningful responses from consumers, will provide the insights you seek. In any event, good luck to you and everyone else involved in this project. As for the "deluge" of ads we are supposedly bombarded with, the JWT estimate of 500 "ad impressions" per day per consumer in the 1970s was, in my opinion, rather inflated-----unless they counted out-of home billboard "exposures", Yellow page listings, etc. Sticking to the major media of the day---TV, radio, magazines and newspapers, the figure was closer to 300, as we reveal in a new report we have just released. Currently, if one adds the Internet, our daily 5-media ad dosage has risen only slightly, to about 360, mainly because increases on TV have been largely offset by losses in the print media. Just for the sake of it, lets take Nielsen's figure of 5000 per day and see what that means. Suppose that the typical consumer devoted only three seconds to each ad "exposure"----hardly enough time for most ads to make a sale. This translates to 15,000 seconds spent per day with ads, or 250 minutes, or 4.2 hours. Does that seem like a reasonable estimate? I doubt it. If 4.2 hours a day really is the norm, imagine what heavy media consumers have to put up with-----8 hours a day spent with ads? EEEK!

  4. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., September 27, 2014 at 7:57 a.m.

    Ed, We're not implying that the ASI is a scientific indicator, which is why we are using the word sentiment. It's just a continuous way of tracking consumers' perceived, self-reported sentiment toward advertising, and ad-supported media. We think readers should take that for what it's worth. There are some other things we're working on that could give it more context or meaning, and we hope readers will find that interesting too. As for the 500/5,000 impressions daily, we noted those estimates were for "brand impressions," not ad impressions, per se. I don't know what the ratio of total brand impressions to paid media brand impressions (ads) actually are, but it would be interesting for someone to figure that one out in an era of "paid, owned and earned" media, but I always took this to mean anytime someone was exposed to a brand, which could mean everything from tweet to the Nike logo on someone's feet. As for duration, three seconds seems like a reasonable notion, but the ad industry's current minimum standard for ad exposure (the MRC's viewability standard) is one-second, which would be more like 1.4 hours spent daily being exposed to brand impressions, which doesn't seem unreasonable to me for thinking about the total of all paid, owned, earned and even worn (Nike logos, etc.). Lastly, no one said these were exclusive exposures, so I'm going to assume that at least some of them were concurrent, which is the way people experience brand impressions in the real world.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 27, 2014 at 3:17 p.m.

    If a "brand impression" takes place every time we come into contact with a brand name or ID, for example, when we brush our teeth in the mornings that's two impressions----one for the brush and one for the toothpaste tube, plus another if we happen to note the brand name on the towel we wipe our face with and. of course, there's the electric shaver, the after shave lotion, the bar of hand soap, etc. Later, we put on our clothes and again, we see more brand names and if we happen to open the refrigerator door, there must be 10-15 more of them. If you use the, above cited, definition, Nielsen's 5000 figure per day may actually be correct. My problem is that I'm not certain that it has much relevance -----but the ASI idea is still interesting if it can turn up something. Again, Joe, good luck with the project.

  6. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., September 27, 2014 at 3:40 p.m.

    Thanks, Ed. Appreciate your interest and support. Please weigh in anytime on ASI. I don't actually know how brand impressions were defined in those studies. I just know it was more than paid ad impressions. (My hypothesis that it could include brand logos). I hope the criteria was that it was enough of an impression to actually make an impression.

  7. Brittney T from ASU, October 5, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.

    An in depth study of how many ads consumers see a day has not been done since 1975. So much has changed with technology that influence how people present their company. Not only has the technology advanced to create high quality and advanced ads, but the outlets of where they can be presented. This new Ad Sentiment Index (ASI) study will be beneficial in how much thought they put into this study. ASI is really looking into each media outlet to see what is most popular and if it is really successful and influences consumers towards that product. This can really help marketers to evaluate what they want to spend time and money on what and whatnot to do. The study is directly asking people for their opinions, good or bad directly related to any marketing they see. I think this is great because there are ads I see that annoy me. For instance, when I go on YouTube I understand that there needs to be ads in the beginning of videos. I like that option that if the ad is more than 30 seconds, there is an option to skip it. There have been a few times where there were two ads in a row before my video. This made me mad. I like to use the Internet to watch videos because there are limited commercials. I don’t want to spend a minute watching two ads when the whole clip I am watching is under 5 minutes. I hope this does not become a permanent trend because I will find other similar sites that do not show as many ads in the beginning.

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