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  • SKO and GfK renew TV Audience Measurement contract in the Netherlands
    • 11/09/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    SKO and GfK renew TV Audience Measurement contract in the Netherlands

    SKO has announced it is renewing its contract for Television Audience Measurement (TAM) with GfK for 2018. 

  • What will media currencies look like in 5 years’ time?
    • 11/08/17
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    What will media currencies look like in 5 years’ time?

    GfK held a roundtable discussion with leaders from across the media industry to debate this hot topic. Download our free white paper.to explore the findings. 

  • Welcome to the wild-west: Is this the future of media measurement?
    • 11/08/17
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    Welcome to the wild-west: Is this the future of media measurement?

    The future of media measurement is a very hot topic right now. So, in association with IAB Europe, we invited industry representatives from a wide range of companies to a Round Table discussion on how media measurement might look in five years’ time. Participants included: digital platforms Google, Facebook and Oath; global ad agencies Publicis and Dentsu; media owners from broadcast TV and digital; a programmatic audience platform; a national advertising association and a large national JIC (Joint Industry Committee).

    Media currencies form the cornerstone of media trading, they provide a value to the media inventory that is bought and sold across TV, digital and a plethora of other platforms.

    However, are traditional currency systems being replaced by automated bidding? Is the media planner being replaced by an algorithm? And in the process will target groups become “identity graphs” of attributes, sometimes down to the individual level?

    In the future will there still be a requirement for Joint Industry Committees (JICs) to provide trusted, standardized measurement for the advertising trade? Or will tech and data providers create a new world with scalable, cost efficient technologies which are faster, more flexible and more tightly targeted?

    Issues facing the media measurement industry

    Despite rapid advances in tech, the industry has been dogged by issues of trust, transparency, fraud and a high reliance on a few digital platform players with a lot of power. There have been calls for higher transparency and better orchestration in the data world, most notably by the P&G CMO Mark Pritchard. And more recently Martin Cass at Advertising Week.

    It is high time to pause for a moment and reflect. Is neutral arbitration in the media industry not needed any more due to disruptive technology and the rise of data? Will chaos, ruled by smart, quick but unregulated systems replace order? That’s the discussion we are having. As a leading media measurement company, our future is linked to the industry, so this goes to the core of what we and the industry are about.

    We created a white paper to summarize our roundtable discussion. You can read more here to discover more about three scenarios outlined for the future:

    1. The rise of the “Super JIC” as reinvigorated, neutral data arbiters
    2. Chaos replaces order, with data being controlled by different competing entities large and small
    3. Technological self-regulation of data, likely in the form of an adaptation of Blockchain technology

    We also discuss the role of media planner in these scenarios and ultimately what this will mean for consumers, who are likely to have more control and will expect to be paid for their data.

    The future of media currencies is still very much open, but one thing that is clear: the proliferation of many types of data means that media planning as we know it today will be enhanced and replaced. The question as to what will fill that void is answered by our group’s three possible future scenarios.

    “The way people are paying for consumption will change radically, be that by blockchain, or usage of a brand and delivery of content.”

    -Simon Halstead, Oath

    “In five years’ time, we need to look at why we are using Reach currencies. In essence, they are a compromise. Reach planning won’t exist, either, because Effect planning is already rising sharply, or it will be used less and less. Planning can certainly be done on Effect currencies.”

    -Walter Flaat, Dentsu

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  • European purchasing power climbs by a nominal 1.9 percent
    • 11/07/17
    • Press
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Global
    • English

    European purchasing power climbs by a nominal 1.9 percent

    Europeans have an average of €13,937 per person available for spending and saving in 2017. This is one of the many results of GfK's newly released study, "GfK Purchasing Power Europe 2017". The available net income among the researched 42 countries varies enormously: Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland have the highest average purchasing power, while Belarus, Moldova and the Ukraine have the lowest.

  • Beware the star player: Why category management is the ultimate team game
    • 11/07/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Beware the star player: Why category management is the ultimate team game

    Category management is the ultimate team sport. Smart retailers, just like good football club managers, know that it takes a range of skills to create a winning team. The secret to category growth and success lies in picking the best combination of SKUs to achieve the highest category penetration. So why do so many categories look like a jumble of products all individually vying for the shopper’s attention?

    Manufacturers need to face up to shrinking shelf space. Four key trends are converging to create a perfect storm, and the result is that some SKUs will be relegated to the bench. Discounters such as Aldi and Lidl are redefining the notion of convenience and enabling shoppers to save on their two most precious resources, time and money. Meanwhile “ambient categories” which don’t need to be hand selected are increasingly transitioning online. Barriers to new entrants have fallen meaning that existing brands are at risk of being squeezed out. And to cap it all, private label brands are growing both in volume and prominence.

    Teamwork is the key to success

    Against this backdrop, the need to create a winning team on the shelf is paramount. Every SKU needs to earn its place on the shelf– and to make a match-winning contribution. Tesco is currently playing an excellent game on their whiskey shelf with a hero area. The bottles displayed behind the wooden and glass cabinet are super-premium, and with a price tag to match. Old Pulteney, at an eye-watering £100 per bottle, is priced well beyond the average Tesco shopper. So what game is the retailer playing? Including Old Pulteney in the assortment achieves two important objectives. The listing is intended to attract a different shopper who probably wouldn’t visit the store otherwise. They are likely to be affluent with a higher spend per visit. Secondly, Tesco wants to frame the value of other products on the shelf. Having a price tier with an attractive product which is unaffordable to most often has the effect of making the other (still relatively high ticket) items appear more palatable. So, brands at opposite ends of the spectrum become teammates.

    Train for success

    But how can we test what is happening at the shelf? How can retailers and manufacturers be sure that they are fielding the right team? The answer lies in observing shopper behavior. Fundamentally, category managers need to understand which SKUs are substitutable (i.e. easily interchangeable), and which are incremental (unique to that buying occasion). The difference is crucial, and it is vital to understand the interplay between the two.

    Using a virtual store platform, we can identify shopper repertoires and establish which products they consider. We then ask shoppers to make product selections based on various versions of the shelf to establish which products consistently end up in the shopping basket.

    Creating a winning team

    Using this data, we can identify which combination of SKUs create the highest total penetration. As well as establishing the point of diminishing returns, we can identify the niche products that will deliver incremental sales. Armed with these insights, category managers can optimize their assortment, and create effective team sheets which can be adapted according to the channel to deliver a winning team every time.

    James LLewellyn is the UK Head of Shopper. Please email James.Llewellyn@gfk.com or leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

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  • In a crossmedia world, why are we still measuring audiences in silos?
    • 11/02/17
    • Media Measurement
    • Global
    • English

    In a crossmedia world, why are we still measuring audiences in silos?

    Think about the consumer! Now picture her or him. You see a woman or man with a smartphone in their hand, a cappuccino in the other hand, walking through a sunny city wearing a white top and a denim jacket. The cappuccino the consumer bought in a local coffee store, the denim jacket was bought in a brick and mortar shop in the city, while the smartphone he bought a while ago on the internet. The consumer has a credit card, health insurance, he participates in the apparel store’s cashback program, he has a data plan with his smartphone carrier and he has the coffee shop’s loyalty card. Every single interaction that the consumer does leaves traces in the digital world for us to analyze.

    A single customer view

    Today the industry operates in isolated marketing ecosystems where audiences are defined by the departments where they belong. The consumer is observed from different angles and perspectives in separation. E.g. he can be a store visitor, he can be a website visitor, he can be part of a media planning target group, he can be a prospect that needs to be converted into a shopper, he can be the member of a loyalty program, etc. But the consumers don’t care about channels or touchpoints or digital KPIs. They are humans who only care about their experience – i.e. their experience with the brands: The denim jacket brand, the coffee house brand, the smartphone brand and if we want to provide a seamless experience across all touchpoints, we have to move away from these silos.

    The siloed ecosystem is the most significant obstacle on the way to getting to a single customer view. Therefore, to get to a single consumer view, we need to integrate data from different data sources to harness its combined power and to develop profitable strategies. By saying “silos”, we don’t only mean data silos in terms of media channels, such as digital vs. traditional media. We also mean organizational silos – the integration of departments within companies who take care of different things for the same consumer.


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    Breaking down silos with a “scaled one-to-one impact”

    Even if we are not able to predict the consumer’s behavior, we can try to understand it. To do so, we need data and we need science. We need to analyze the data traces that the consumers leave behind with a single consumer view and we need to innovate the metrics that we use to do that.

    In the past media measurement was about reach and incremental reach across media channels. It was important to prove that the advertising had the desired reach within the desired target group with a certain frequency. Further, it was important to understand how different media channels complemented each other with regard to the campaign delivery and what the most efficient combination is.

    Then the industry moved to measuring the impact of advertising – i.e. how it changed attitudes toward brands and how it drove product sales and thereby proving the return on investment of advertising.

    Today we are moving into the next stage, which we call “Scaled one-to-one impact”.

    Visualizing crossmedia consumer behaviour

    Think 10 or 15 years back, when you had your local store where you would go several times per week. The shop owner knew about your product preferences, your socio-demographics, your wealth, your health problems, your relationship problems, your mortgage and many other things, based on conversations and observations. He had this information about you and about everyone else in the neighborhood, which gave him the opportunity to adjust his offering and assortment accordingly to yield the best profits. Today we are back to having the possibility of one-to-one impact based on the data traces that consumers leave in the digital world. Rather than planning advertising campaigns, we are orchestrating consumer journeys and the advertising delivery becomes consumer centric. We can again target each and every consumer to reach one-to-one impact, but this time at scale – “Scaled one-to-one impact”. The challenge is however to think crossmedia first and to break up silos with digital as the connector, as the data traces that the consumer leaves behind exist in the digital world.


    Integrating data from all sources in one platform, such as our Crossmedia Visualizer, allows us to connect the dots, to open up silos and support media planning, media buying and the post-hoc evaluation with metrics that matter. With these insights, you can identify your target audiences, determine the most relevant touchpoints to use to reach them and understand their media consumption and usage of digital devices to optimize your marketing strategy and media mix.

    If everyone is convinced about taking a crossmedia perspective, why are we still measuring audiences in silos? Well, we don’t. And you shouldn’t.

    Pawel Gershkovich is a Global Senior Product Manager at GfK. To share your thoughts, please email pawel.gershkovich@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

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  • Enticing shoppers to buy: Time to communicate the benefits to shoppers
    • 10/31/17
    • Retail
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Enticing shoppers to buy: Time to communicate the benefits to shoppers

    In a recent study, 62% of shoppers in a mature, low involvement category interacted with the shelf but failed to buy. Although this experiment featured a staple item which every household needs, featuring highly substitutable brands, almost two thirds walked away from the shelf. So, what’s the problem and, more importantly, how do we fix it?

    Give shoppers a reason to buy

    Supermarkets are notorious for failing to communicate the benefits of the products they sell. Often, categories within the store are unclear on the different types of products within the category and how these meet various needs and occasions. A buoyant economic climate until 2008 meant that retailers didn’t have to actively sell in stores. Marketing activity was confined to price promotions and volumes continued to rise. Things have changed, and the passive approach to category marketing is well and truly out of fashion. If you want shoppers to buy, you need to give them a reason to do so.

    Rethinking category marketing

    Retailers can help shoppers make the right decision – that is, to buy rather than walk away. When our client added point-of-sale material (POSM) to the category we described above, conversion significantly improved. This promotional activity succeeded in helping the shopper understand the choices available to them. By observing shoppers in situ, we have been able to demonstrate a clear link between proactive category marketing and increased sales.

    Virtual testing

    Testing campaigns in a virtual environment is one way to establish the effectiveness of a new strategy. Using a virtual store, we enable clients to test out new material to gauge its likely impact and to fine-tune before real store tests. For example, we worked with a client in the spirits category to reinvigorate a category experiencing low engagement in store. Our client needed to improve their “distant ID” and make the shelf more recognizable and appealing from a distance. A new planogram was created, together with a header-board on top of the shelf to entice shoppers. Virtual testing enabled us to refine the concept. The category achieved a significant lift in its ability to entice shoppers to the shelf – up from 24% to 39%.

    Ask the right questions

    To maximize their effectiveness, category stakeholders need to be able to answer three key questions:

    • Am I attracting traffic?

      • Is my category noticeable and understandable from a distance in store?

    • Are the different types of products available on the shelf clear to shoppers?

      • Are the sub-segments that meet different need states explained at the shelf?

    • Is my brand communicating the right message at the shelf?

      • Is on-shelf communication and pack design meeting consumer goals?

    The answers to these lie in understanding how shoppers behave in a store. By replicating shopper behavior in an agile, risk free environment, virtual testing offers a highly cost effective and time efficient way to maximize the effectiveness of category marketing. Combining behavioral and survey data enables us to connect with what people buy and why. Only when we have answers to these questions will we be able to stop consumers walking away from the shelf empty handed. Category marketing is changing. If you don’t give shoppers a reason to buy, someone else will.

    James LLewellyn is the UK Head of Shopper. Please email James.Llewellyn@gfk.com or leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

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  • UK Consumer Confidence down one point in October
    • 10/31/17
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Consumer Goods
    • Consumer Life
    • Global
    • English

    UK Consumer Confidence down one point in October

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index slipped by one point to -10 in October.

    • 10/30/17
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    It’s time to listen to the voice of the customer

    Almost every major brand now has a Voice of the Customer (VoC) programme. And in recent years talk of CEM or VoC has increasingly been replaced with “customer-centricity”.

    However, the reality is that many VoC programmes actually seek to serve a business objective of monitoring a KPI such as NPS, and to justify decisions already taken. Rather than listening to the voice of the customer, instead we still all too often ask our customers to spend their precious time answering multiple rating scales that the customer doesn’t even care about. Is this really customer-centric?

    Many VoC programmes are not customer-centric

    A recent visit to my car dealership for a service implored me to score a 9 or 10 on a survey I had been given, as I was clearly told anything other than this score would result in negative consequences for the salesman in question. How, I wondered, did my experience become all about them? And how does this help improve the experience in the future?

    Let’s take another example. After a recent flight I was asked to give my feedback, only to be asked to rate multiple aspects of the experience. 15 minutes of questions about every conceivable aspect of the flight. What I really wanted to say was that the cabin service was really good, but after 10 minutes of answering about anything and everything other than this, I’d frankly lost the will to continue further and just wanted the whole experience to end. Again, the feeling persists that I was filling in a series of scorecards that suited the airline rather than feeling they genuinely wanted my feedback. Not exactly “customer-centric”.

    This old way of working is neither customer-centric nor sustainable into the future. We must change now or have change forced upon us.

    To be sustainable and relevant in the future, this must change

    Why? Firstly, in a world of big data and multiple screens, consumers have ever increasing demands upon their time, and a decreasing attention span. For researchers, this translates as lower response rates and a marked reduction in willingness to conduct longer surveys.

    To continue receiving meaningful feedback, brands need to demonstrate the relevance of doing so to the customers and engage with them. Working with your own clients can also provide a platform to take this further and start co-creating with them.

    You can start by stripping back questionnaires, relinquishing control and letting the customer control the agenda far more than they do currently. However, this doesn’t mean that VoC programmes should be about producing less useful information for the business, in fact the end outcome will be more beneficial to the business; more focused, more relevant insight, and at a lower cost.

    New technologies now enable a more customer-centric approach

    Using text and voice analytics, we are now able to really uncover what matters to the consumer, instead of inferring this from analysis of multiple questions. From these responses, we can recreate categorizations for analysis, add sentiment to our understanding, and understand customers at a really granular level. And we know everything said is relevant and important, because it has been volunteered and not forced, from the customer.

    Not only that, but as consumer expectations change in the face of an ever-evolving environment, this will appear in the unstructured data analysis. New themes can be tracked and measured, and retrospective trend analysis applied. Companies can see these changes and be more proactive in addressing them.

    A truly customer-centric approach is also more cost effective

    Finally, such an approach has substantial cost savings. Asking fewer questions reduces costs, and being able to analyze unstructured data also helps eliminate the need for ad-hoc research to dig deeper into changes in KPIs.

    With social media providing consumers with a platform to amplify good and bad experiences, listening to the voice of the customer has never been more important.

    It’s time we started to really listen.

    Take concept validation to the next level. Find out more about voice analytics with this interactive content.

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  • Meet GfK at the 2017 asi International Radio & Audio and Television & Video Conferences
    • 10/27/17
    • Global
    • English

    11/08/17 - 11/10/17
    Meet GfK at the 2017 asi International Radio & Audio and Television & Video Conferences

    asi is the most prestigious audience measurement conference in Europe and we will be attending and contributing to the conversion with 3 sessions.

    • 10/27/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Top factors for consumers in deciding what to eat or drink

    Low-sugar and GMO-free are top factors when deciding what to eat or drink, according to the results of our international online survey of 23,000 consumers.  Asked how important certain factors are when deciding what to eat or drink, nearly half of the study’s participants (48%) responded that “low sugar or sugar-free“ and “free from GMO ingredients“ are very or extremely important factors.

    These factors ranked as the highest in importance from a given list, followed by “low-sodium, low-salt“ products (45%). Also listed as very or extremely important were products that are organic, products that are low fat or no-fat, and products that are fortified with vitamins or minerals (44%).  Rounding out the list were products that are made locally or use local ingredients (38%), products that contain pre- or probiotics (35%) and products that are gluten-free (26%).

    Differentiators among survey respondents

    Age played a significant role in the results, with food and drink shoppers aged 30-39 years old being the most selective amongst all age groups, and those under 40 years old placing more importance on organic, probiotic, fortified and gluten-free products.

    When looking at income, people from high income households set consistently higher importance on all the factors, especially products that are GMO-free (55%), low sugar or sugar-free (54%) and low sodium or low salt (52%).  Low income households ranked the factors in a similar order of very or extremely important, but at a significantly lower percentage.

    Out of 17 countries surveyed, China was the most selective on what to eat and drink, with the highest number of respondents for top levels of importance on eight out of nine decision factors.  The below chart shows the top five countries per factor, with China giving way to Italy only in importance of food and beverage products that are “made locally or uses local ingredients”.

    With access to this kind of wide-ranging survey data, food and beverage brands are able to truly listen to the consumer and understand their individual market needs.  By combining these self-reported insights with data from areas such as point of sales tracking, consumer panels and geo-marketing, we can begin to see the full picture around what consumers do, say, and think on their trip to the grocery store or the vending machine.

    About the study

    The survey question asked, “When deciding which food or beverage product to eat or drink, how important are the following in making your decision?”, with options listed as It is organic or made from organic ingredients; It is made locally or uses local ingredients; It is a low-sugar or sugar-free product; It is low fat or no fat; It is a low-sodium, low-salt product; It is fortified with vitamins or minerals; It contains pre- or probiotics; It is free from GMO (genetically-modified) ingredients; It is gluten-free. GfK interviewed 23,000 consumers online in 17 countries in the summer 2017. Data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15+ in each market. The global average given in this release is weighted, based on the size of each country proportional to the other countries. Countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA.

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    • 10/26/17
    • Consumer Goods
    • Global
    • English

    Online vs. offline: Where should grocery brands invest?

    We get more and more signals that grocery brands are shifting marketing spends to digital solutions; digital campaigns to build your brand and trade investments in digital POS material and digital coupons for sales activation. Budgets are getting squeezed between online and offline initiatives since stores want brand owners to help them create even greater store experiences at the same time as online opens up new and exciting opportunities for marketers.

    The “digital-first movement” is evolving rapidly. Leading edge consumers frequently search for food inspiration online and use mobile apps when shopping, which gives us a hint on how we all will act in the future. Grocery chains in the forefront try out different hybrid shopping solutions where lines are becoming blurred between online and offline shopping. We have evidence that the campaigns and brand building you invest in online will also affect in-store sales in the long run since online shoppers are in fact also the most valuable ones offline. With this in mind we understand brand owners would like to invest accordingly.

    Budgets are getting squeezed and online investments still insecure and unstable

    At the same time you ask yourself how efficient your online investments are and some even chose to continue the “safe” traditional offline investment while waiting for more insights. Digital banners and ads on websites are quite expensive and ROI is insecure and unstable. You can also pay online grocery chains to make your product appear on the first page for your category to increase sales, but will you be able to do so for a longer period of time?

    One way of driving long term conversion on online grocery stores without investing in expensive inserts or promotions can be to improve your product’s keywords to better match your shoppers’ search terms. To know what keywords to use for your products, you need to know what shoppers search for in your category. Knowing that will help you to make the right decisions and ensure your products to be ranked among the top items, creating sales opportunities and driving higher conversion rates.

    Determining the search terms for your category on grocery sites key to improve conversion

    40 percent of those using search terms at grocery sites uses brand names but what do the others write in the free search field? How do you determine what search terms consumers are using to find products in your category?

    Replicas of e-commerce sites in market research allow grocery brand owners to do pre-tests of all their investments online and are a great way to find your products’ high-value search terms. This is a rather simple way of improving your conversion online before spending money.

    Contact us for more information on how to find the search terms for your category online.