02/22

A Shocking Peek at the Real People of PPM

Who are these people who say “yes” when Arbitron asks them to carry a PPM device?

Why do they do it?  Do they follow the rules?  Do they even know it’s about radio, or do they think it’s about all media?  What do they think of the meters themselves and are they embarrassed to be seen wearing one?  Is it true that multiple households kept their meters moving by attaching them to ceiling fans?  And what should you do to target the kind of folks who are likely to be panelists?

These and many other questions are tackled in a stridently “unauthorized by Arbiron” look behind the PPM curtain featuring video interviews of several real PPM panelists, past and present.

Allen Kepler and Broadcast Architecture are the folks behind this effort, which is the first stage in a process of diving deeper into the backstory of the PPM experience.  I talked with Allen about what his research has shown, and that video is below.

This is some very hot stuff – you will need to watch this.

Be aware, of course, that while real, a small sampling of PPM panelists can only provide anecdotal findings, not something which can necessarily be generalized to all panelists.

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Here’s an executive summary of Allen’s study.

I also participated in a panel conversation about this research with other broadcasters.  That conversation will be presented here later this week.

There’s a lot of hot, maybe inflammatory, stuff discussed in this video, so a few words of introduction are in order:

First, this is not an effort to bash the PPM process or Arbitron itself.  It is in no one’s interest to do that.  Research by its nature is imperfect and acknowledging those imperfections is the first step to improving the way we do what we do for the benefit of Arbitron, broadcasters, and advertisers. Everybody – including Arbitron – wants the process to be improved.

Second, everyone needs to recognize that Arbitron is full of very talented people committed to the success of their clients and the advertisers those clients serve.  There are many good people there and their jobs are often thankless ones.  So let’s get off the “bash Arbitron” wagon and onboard the “how do we create better measurement” one.

In the long run, I think it’s important to know what motivates a PPM panelist to say “yes.”  I’ll dig into the consequences of those motivations later on.

For now, watch the video and hold on to your seat.

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