TouchPoints Two

As the media landscape continues to change at an alarming rate, Media week examines the second coming of the multimedia planning tool from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

The media landscape has changed irrevocably since 2006, when the inaugural IPA TouchPoints research was unveiled. Social networking, on-demand TV, podcasts and blogging were all merely blips on most consumers' radar two years ago.

Household-name media brands have also materialised, seemingly overnight. Back in 2006, Facebook was merely a network for US college students, and the BBC iPlayer was just a twinkle in the corporation's eye.

For media planners trying to navigate this fast-changing world, IPA TouchPoints2 - the second coming of the multimedia planning tool from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - should prove an invaluable compass.

With a mass of new insight into digital technology, it promises to put the extent of the changes in media consumption into context, providing a comprehensive picture of the multimedia habits of UK consumers.

Undertaken at a cost of about £1.25m, TouchPoints2 is currently supported by 38 backers, including leading media agencies and media owners such as MindShare, PHD, ITV and Associated Newspapers, plus industry bodies such as Thinkbox.

The results of the IPA TouchPoints Hub Survey, revealed last week, will be followed by the launch of version two of the IPA TouchPoints integrated planning database in September. The latter will once again fuse Hub Survey data with other industry measurement systems, such as Barb, TGI, Rajar, NRS, Jicreg, Postar and Fame, as well as allowing users to fuse their own proprietary datasets.

Methodology used
The Hub Survey, conducted by WPP takeover target TNS, consists of a sample of 5,400 people aged 15-plus. There are two elements to its methodology - a 51-page self-completion questionnaire and a PDA diary, which enables respondents to record their activities every half an hour over a seven-day period. Participants are given a £20 incentive.

IPA TouchPoints2 has added many more questions on respondents' use of digital media, with questions on social networking, blogging, online shopping and downloading media. It also looks at use of digital technology such as MP3 players, interactive TV services and video-on-demand. Questions on traditional media, such as radio and press, have been enhanced to find out how many people are accessing them online.

However, IPA TouchPoints2 is not just about new media: the survey has widened its scope in all directions. There are new questions on retail, out-of-home media consumption, the receipt of direct mail and even dealing with household tasks.

Respondents were also asked about the 2012 Olympics, the environment and the ethics of brands - all issues that have come to the forefront for advertisers since 2006. Consumers' attitudes to media and advertising are also interrogated, with questioning on reality TV shows, the use of celebrities in ads and advertising on kids' TV.

New insights
So how far has media consumption evolved since 2006? According to Lynne Robinson, IPA research director, the real surprise from TouchPoints2 is how well the traditional media sector has held up. "While there is a definite undercurrent towards digital, driven by 15 to 24-year-olds but filtering through to other age groups, people seem to be consuming more media generally," she says.

Comparing the 2008 data to the 2006 survey (fieldwork carried out in 2008 and 2005 respectively), there is a notable rise in the time people spend online. The average adult spends 1.07 hours on the internet each weekday (up from 0.75 hours) and 0.59 hours per day on the internet at the weekend (up from 0.48 hours).

Internet activity among 15 to 24-year-olds has risen from 1.16 hours per day on an average weekday to 1.42 hours (up 22%), while at the weekend, time spent on the net has increased from 0.74 hours per day to 1 hour (up 23%).

However, this is not at the expense of the time people spend watching TV, which remains the dominant medium in terms of hours consumed (see chart right). Although there has been a slight drop in the number of hours an average adult spends watching television on a weekday (down to 3.69 hours per day from 3.71 hours), time spent watching TV at the weekend has risen from 4.02 hours per day to 4.29 hours.

Another revealing insight is that one in four adults had visited a TV channel's website in the past four weeks, rising to 36% of respondents aged 15 to 24 and falling to 9% among respondents aged over 65. The under-25s led the way in watching TV over the internet, with 34% having done so, compared to 24% of adults and 12% of over 65s.

The internet is still most heavily used for information (60% of all adults), but time spent on social networking sites is increasing. More than a third (36%) of 15 to 24-year-olds had visited a social networking site in the past 24 hours and almost half (49%) in the last seven days. Among all adults, 13% had visited a social network in the past 24 hours and 20% in the last seven days.

Consumers are also getting heavily into blogging: over a third (37%) of 15-24s and nearly a quarter (24%) of all adults read blogs, and a quarter of 15-24s have commented on an online posting. Also, 15% of all adults write their own blogs and a small percentage (3%) say that they "couldn't live without" blogging. And blogging is not just for the young - 6% of over-65s are also taking part.

Meanwhile, podcast penetration is still relatively low. Among the 9% of internet users who had listened to a podcast in the past six months, comedy is the most popular content (42%), followed by music (31%) and then news and politics (17%).

But while many consumers are consuming media online, it's not always a preferred option. For example, only 9% of adults prefer to get their national paper online, with males twice as likely as females to access their paper content in this way.

Elsewhere, enthusiasm for reality TV is waning - only 9% of adults cited reality shows as one of their three favourite types of programme - and, more alarmingly, 20% of adults (30% of over-65s) do not understand what digital switchover means.

On product placement, 59% of adults agreed it is not right for companies or brands to try to influence the content covered in TV programmes, with 82% of adults agreeing that some ads appear so many times they become irritating. Although 30% of adults say it is important to them which brand they buy, almost half of respondents (44%) would stop watching ads if they had the technology.

Clients' view
IPA TouchPoints2 will answer significant questions about the new multimedia landscape, adding greatly to what its users already describe as an invaluable tool.

According to Denise Turner, director of insight and effectiveness at MPG, IPA TouchPoints has proved "revolutionary" for the agency, used for clients such as the BBC. She says: "The BBC really needs to justify any money it spends on off-air marketing. IPA TouchPoints has made us far more rigorous about the recommendations we make and it has instilled a more questioning mentality."

MPG uses IPA TouchPoints in conjunction with data from TGI and with its own proprietary tools. A typical project might use the Hub Survey for insight, followed by budget allocation by media using a proprietary tool. The planned campaign can then be fed into the IPA TouchPoints database to look at what reach it will deliver.

"IPA TouchPoints is at its most powerful if you are using it at the right point in the process," says Turner, adding that MPG has placed great emphasis on internal training to make sure its planners are up to speed with the system.

Rosie Faulkner, client director at MindShare, says TouchPoints database figures are now mandatory on all the agency's plans. Faulkner believes IPA TouchPoints' measurement of mood, whether people are laid back, alert, or concentrating at particular times of day, sets it apart from other surveys. "We're still mining a lot of that information and coming up with some fascinating insights," she says.

Dave McEvoy, marketing director of JCDecaux - so far the only out-of-home media owner to sign up to IPA TouchPoints - says his sales team uses IPA TouchPoints every day and it has proved invaluable when talking to clients about how OOH can work within a media schedule.

"We could demonstrate, for example, that the OOH audience shop online once they get to work," he explains. "Before booking a holiday or shopping for groceries online, the last thing the target audience will do is look at a poster."

JCDecaux has also used IPA TouchPoints in conjunction with other data, for example, using the TNS Worldpanel research to analyse shopping habits. "You could take light TV viewers and ask them about their purchasing habits of breakfast cereals, and then cross-reference that with the brand's market share," adds McEvoy.

Future plans
The IPA's ultimate aim is to evolve IPA TouchPoints into a continuous survey, releasing results every six months to keep up with the ever-changing media landscape. Clients are firmly in favour. As JCDecaux's McEvoy points out: "Once the data is constantly being updated, it will allow us to identify trends. More users will begin to customise IPA TouchPoints and combine it with their own tools, and this will also drive usage."

The IPA also plans to extend its integrations with other measurement systems and to develop currency for other media such as search, direct mail and mobile.

Meanwhile, international tie-ups are also starting to emerge - the IPA is finalising a licensing partnership with a consortium of US companies, to be announced next week.

36.4% of 15 to 24-year-olds have visited a social network in the past 24 hours

59.1% of adults agree that the London Olympics in 2012 is good for Britain

8.8% of adults prefer to get their national newspaper online


  • Adults spend 3.69 hours a day watching TV on an average weekday, down from 3.71 hours
  • Adults spend 4.29 hours a day watching TV at the weekend, up from 4.02 hours
  • A typical 15 to 24-year-old spends 3.14 hours a day watching TV during the week (up from 2.79 hours) and 3.70 hours a day watching TV at the weekend (up from 3.16 hours)
  • Adults spend 2.06 hours listening to the radio on an average weekday, down from 2.11 hours
  • Over-65s have increased their radio consumption on an average weekday to 1.84 hours, up from from 1.78 hours
  • Adults' newspaper readership on an average weekday is virtually unchanged at 0.37 hours, down slightly from 0.38 hours
  • At the weekend, adults spend 0.46 hours reading a newspaper, down from 0.48 hours
  • Adults' internet activity on an average weekday has increased to 1.07 hours a day (up from 0.75 hours), while at the weekend activity has increased to 0.59 hours a day (up from 0.48 hours)
  • Internet activity among 15 to 24-year-olds on an average weekday has increased to 1.42 hours a day (up from 1.16 hours), while at the weekend, activity has increased to 1.00 hours a day (up from 0.74 hours)
  • Video and DVD viewing among 15 to 24-year-olds on an average weekday has declined from 0.57 hours to 0.34 hours
  • More than a quarter (26%) of internet users had accessed a terrestrial television website in the past four weeks, and 21% had accessed a radio station website in the same period

Source: IPA TouchPoints2 * "Adults" refers to all adults aged 15+


Stuart McDonald - head of advertising insight, News International

"TouchPoints is one of the few projects that has worked across every single department in the business, from editorial to marketing. For the first time, we could look at our readership by day-parts. We can tailor our marketing messages appropriately to promote our brands or we can go to The Sun's editor and say: 'This is a day in the life of an average Sun reader.'"

Martin Greenbank - performance director, Arena BLM

"The methodology - using a PDA to record daily activity for a week - means that you have a sense of the reality of what is going on in someone's life. If you want to isolate an audience and examine and analyse how that audience consumes media, then TouchPoints captures every single activity in a way that no other survey does. It also asks the same questions across all media in the same level of detail."

Dave McEvoy - marketing director, JCDecaux

"TouchPoints has allowed us to put outdoor into context against other media - something we had never been able to do before. For the first time, we can really demonstrate to clients how OOH can complement a TV schedule - for example, a combination could expand a campaign's reach to 90% of the population."

Rosie Faulkner - client director, MindShare

"To have genuine data is a godsend, so TouchPoints' integrated planning database figures are mandatory on all our plans. Planners' intuition is a fine tool, but we're finding instances where TouchPoints is throwing up stuff that challenges our preconceptions."

Denise Turner - director of insight and effectiveness, MPG

"TouchPoints was something the industry was crying out for. It gives a much fuller picture of what clients are actually getting out of each campaign and shows what multimedia coverage actually achieves. For the first time, we can put a line at the bottom of each media plan and demonstrate what it actually delivers."

92% of adults say the core reason for watching TV is entertainment

85% of adults live in multichannel homes

30.1% of over-65s do not understand what digital switchover means

56% of adults name BBC1 as their favourite TV channel

NEWS INTERNATIONAL - TouchPoints backs up three major commercial projects

News International, one of the founding partners of TouchPoints, has used it across three major commercial projects - to boost advertising in the News of the World, to launch thelondonpaper and to cross-promote The Times and Times Online.

In 2006, retail advertising in the News of the World had been falling, with advertisers concentrating on Thursday, Friday and Saturday papers to influence weekend shopping, which they believed to be consigned to Saturday afternoons.

TouchPoints data revealed that while 63% of Saturday Sun readers went shopping on Saturdays, 41% of News of the World readers shopped on Sundays, demonstrating that Sunday is still an important day for retail.

It also showed that 42% of NoW readers had read the paper by 11.30am on Sunday, before heading out to the shops within two hours.

And it backed up NI's own internal research, which found that Sunday scored higher as a day for "considered" purchases, which often included commitment from the whole family.

The research helped to persuade large-spending retail clients, such as DFS and Land of Leather, to consider adding or upweighting their Sunday activity with the News of the World, while IKEA signed up as a new advertiser, using full-colour pages each week.

When planning the launch of its London freesheet, thelondonpaper, News International used TouchPoints to track its key audience of 18 to 35-year-old working Londoners. The data showed that 60% of commuters were reading a newspaper during the commuting peak of 6am-9.30am.

In contrast, only 36% read a newspaper during the evening rush hour between 4.30pm and 7.30pm. TouchPoints also revealed that commuters were more relaxed in the evening, thinking about entertainment and leisure rather than work, whereas in the morning they were more focused and in a routine. This backed up NI's decision to develop a product to match that mood - it launched thelondonpaper as a lighter evening read, with shorter image-led features and entertainment at its heart.

NI also used TouchPoints to research the relationship that visitors to Times Online had with the print newspaper. Data revealed that readers tended to look at the paper in the morning, the website in the afternoon and both in the evening.

The timings helped The Times tailor its content throughout the day to cater for the demands of business readers. It introduced a business round-up e-mail in the morning, followed by online breaking content in the afternoon and another roundup at 5pm, all complemented by business alerts to readers' mobiles at any time.


To keep up to date - 72
For news and current affairs - 67
For entertainment - 34
To provide something to talk about - 21
To help form opinions - 21
To relax/escapism - 20
For celebrity news/gossip - 20
To stimulate imagination - 17
For education/information - 17
For comment/analysis - 15.

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