4As: New Research Tracks Viewer Voting Patterns

Some new research was unveiled at the American Association of Advertising Agencies Transformation conference in Los Angeles.

During a session on Tuesday, Bruce Goerlich, chief research officer of Rentrak said that the company had found that it could target viewers by their political orientation and correlate what they watched with how they voted.

To determine the political orientation of viewers, it looked at what shows they watched. People who spent a lot of time viewing The Daily Show or Rachel Maddow on MSNBC skew Liberal, while people who watch NASCAR and Fox News Channel shows like The O'Reilly Factor leaned right.

Rentrak looked at the viewers who tuned into the Presidential Debates in South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Ohio, and at the election results on a county by county basis, and saw that the results followed the viewership patters

In Florida, for example, more conservative viewers watched the debates and those same conservatives turned out to vote for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"Viewing by political segments then tied into data," said Goerlich, noting that it makes its segmentation approach to buying political ads available to all candidates.

Goerlich said Rentrak could use its data, which comes from 8 million homes, to provide advanced targeting for other industries as well.

"This is the tip of the iceberg of what we can do in a myriad of areas," he said, ticking off autos, packaged goods, financial services and theatrical as categories where the company could apply similar techniques for marketers.

Goerlich was followed by Gary Reisman, co-founder of NewMediaMetrics, who said that alternative viewing had forced his company to make changes in its ability to predict ratings and rankings of TV Shows.

TV has changed from "a marketplace where we can push product and media to consumers to one where consumers pull toward them the products and media that are most important to them," Reisman said.

Now it looks at the new platforms, whether its viewing on streaming websites or tablets in order to measure engagement, which remains important to advertisers, because engage viewers are 40% more likely to pay attention to an ad, three times more likely to buy and 43% more likely to comment.

Also during the session, Amy Shea, executive VP and global director of brand development at Brand Keys, and John Roberts, chief strategy officer of Partners and Napier, showed the results of research that tracked and correlated the brand drivers for nearly 598 product categories with use of digital media platforms. The object is to know what marketers should say when consumers are engaged with digital media.

For example, in packaged coffee, taste and aroma are usually the key attributes of a brand, but with heavy users of social network are interested in talking about values, both what a brand stands for and whether it's a good value for the money.

Similarly with tablets, the general population is most interested in customer service and warranties, while highly engaged digital consumer are more interested in innovation.

With the data, "we can now better customize a digital strategy for different audiences in a category," Roberts said, adding we can also "now better understand the role of digital to deliver critical emotional and rational drivers."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.