Insights from ARF Audience Measurement Conference

ARF Audience Measurement conference - NYC 2011

I spent the last two days (June 13-14th) attending the ARF Audience Measurement 6.O conference in NYC, particularly the social media insights panels. It was exciting to sit there and listen to how companies such as Cisco and Verizon are using social media, as well as how media planning and technology companies are testing findings to roll-out of various advertising methodologies. The following post focuses on some of the insights I got from some of the Key Note and panels I attended.

Perfect People Meter:

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, presented a keynote on how people use digital technology and how that makes audience measurement more complicated than in the past. Rainie  listed out three revolutions – the Internet, mobile and social media, and then proceeded to discuss each in detail.

We live in the age of the ‘Internet of things’, an environment filled of the various devices we use to interact and explore the internet. Given the diversity of the internet and the massive amount of data on it, we can begin moving away from locking/categorizing people by their traits, but rather understanding people by the context in which they are operating. Mobile is another great tool that is finding its place as a capable content and advertising platform, and location based services are providing it quite the boost. For instance, 6% of users use location based services, and 9% of users use social media check-in. Given that these services are still being used by early adopters, that is quite impressive for a relatively new technology.

This broadband revolution has brought about with it several changes – 3/4th of online users consume video, and 2/3rd of american teenagers create content. Just from my own experience I completely agree. My experience with the internet has seen me go from being a passive user to being an active (ok fairly active) content generator. That is where social media comes in. Social networks allow users to gather and filter informationevaluate and fact check (leveraging their networks to figure out if something is true) and figure out how much weight to place on data. Social networks almost act as gate keepers for most users. Most importantly users engage in social media due to FOMO – fear of missing out. This could be missing out on information, not being part of the crowd, trends, opportunities etc.

The concept of the people meter focused on three environments – streaming, attention and the psychographics dial.

Streaming is an immersive environment, and the user craves an uninterrupted and amplified experience, such as gaming. This environment is akin to particular types of research, particularly those exploratory in nature, such as health research.  Attention comprises of various databases that allow people to understand things better. It comprises interest data (active conversations, likes etc), location based data (where I am, where I frequent), content data (content consumption), and wildcard data (such as data on the types of apps used). The final component of the people meter is the psychographics dial, that encompasses the affordance and role of technology in their life as well as willingness to be surprised, and openness to new data and new media.

I especially liked the integration of privacy (a hot topic these days) via the Stalker meter. There seems to be a disconnect between Americans (and citizens of the online world) call for privacy and how much information they share online. So while people are worried about privacy, they are willing to share information provided they get something in return and are assured convenience, security and the benefit of growing their influence.

What are some of the points you find interesting about our/your interaction with digital technology? Chime in via the comments button.

Here are some additional links:

The NYT’s DavidBrooks keynote speech at ARFAM6 covered the unconscious mind and how emotions effect thinking.

Our new approach to Measuring Online Advertising – Nielsen

Check out the Twitter buzz about ARFAM6

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