Using Media Research

Media research has a language all of its own and can be difficult to interpret at first. This section of the user guide is designed to help advertisers understand the main research principles they may encounter in international media, from interpreting survey results to understanding some of the jargon used in research.

Reading Survey Results: The Crosstab

A crosstab (short for cross-tabulation) is a standard way of displaying survey data. It allows advertisers to compare responses from different questions asked within a survey. Crosstabs are typically used in media research to spot patterns in media and lifestyle choices, for example. These patterns can then be used to understand consumer behaviours, build target audiences and select the appropriate media channels to communicate with those targets.

Example Crosstab

In the example below, we will use some survey data to look at the relative strengths of two international TV channels – Channel A and Channel B. We are interested in two target audiences; individuals with an annual income of €60,000 and individuals who have taken 6 or more business trips by plane in the past year.

Click on an underlined item to see a description…

Rows ColumnsAll RespondentsIncome €60,000+ per YearBusiness Air Trips: 6+ in Past Year
All RespondentsAudience (000)39,58210,0671,493
Respondents24,0948,4081,315
%Col100100100
%Row10025.43.8
Index100100100
Channel AAudience (000)1,098384103
Viewed last weekRespondents9,7374,2911,008
%Col2.83.86.9
%Row100359.4
Index100137.5249.7
Channel BAudience (000)2,105730169
Viewed last weekRespondents13,5155,6741,138
%Col5.37.211.3
%Row10034.78
Index100136.3213.3

Jargon buster

Audience: the average number of individuals watching a TV channel in a given timeframe.
Target audience: a group of individuals, usually defined by their economic, social or behavioural characteristics, to whom an advertisement or piece of content is aimed.
Profile: the percentage of the target audience compared to the total audience.
Share: the percentage of the audience watching one particular TV channel compared to the total number of people watching TV in the same period.
Reach: the number of individuals exposed to a piece of content or an advertising message. These individuals may be exposed to an advertisement through one or more TV channels or media in a particular period of time.
Impacts: the number of times an individual is exposed to an advertising campaign.
Frequency: the ratio between reach and impacts, i.e. the average number of times a viewer was exposed to an ad campaign.
CPT (Cost Per Thousand, also known as CPM): the cost of reaching 1,000 people in a target audience. This can be used as a rate on which to purchase TV advertising. It may also be used to demonstrate the relative cost of a campaign on one channel compared to another.
GRP (gross ratings point): GRPs are used to measure the potential strength of an advertising campaign. To calculate GRPs, the number of impacts of an advertising campaign is compared with the number of people in the target audience.
Estimated Reach & Frequency: a report provided to an advertiser in advance (or after transmission) of an advertising campaign. It contains many of the above measures for the total audience and any target audiences, including Reach, Impacts Frequency, CPT, GRPs, cost per GRP, etc.
Visit: A session of activity undertaken by a person on a website. Measures are undertaken by web analytics software to ensure that automated traffic from other sources is not counted.
Unique visitor (or ‘unique user’): in web analytics, the number of individuals who visit a website at least once in a defined period of time.
Page view: recorded when a user requests to load an HTML file (generally a web page).
Ad impression: used to measure when an ad has been displayed on a website.
CPT or CPM (Cost per mille – ‘mille’ means ‘thousand’): The cost to an advertiser for each set of a thousand ad impressions. This is equivalent to ‘impacts’ for TV.
Click-through rate (CTR): how many people are actively responding to ads, generally by clicking on them, compared to the number of ad impressions delivered.
Cost per click (CPC): how much advertising costs based on the number of clicks compared to the total ad impressions delivered.