Nieman Foundation at Harvard
Would you pay to be able to quit TikTok and Instagram? You’d be surprised how many would
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June 9, 2014, 2:23 p.m.
Business Models

If you’ve ever wondered what, exactly, media marketers were thinking, there’s a (web) app for that.


Nielsen collaborated with YuMe, a “multi-screen video advertising platform” based in California, on a Reach Calculator, which if nothing else is a fun excuse to LARP the life of an ad executive. First, you pick the size of your budget, which cannot be lower than $250,000. (Sorry Mom, sorry Pop.) Then, you decide how much of your budget you want to shift to digital — a figure that, somewhat ironically, cannot exceed 30 percent. Then you choose your target demographic — male, female, or both, and an age range. From there, you get to determine how you want to distribute your digital budget across mobile, computer (i.e. desktop), tablet and CTV (connected or smart TV).

The data for the calculator comes from a YuMe household survey as well as the use of “connected devices.” From a YuMe press release:

Client reactions to the calculator, which was recently presented at YuMe’s global research roadshow as part of a larger Nielsen-powered research study, ranged from ‘very useful’ to ‘I can’t wait to begin using this’. The study that spurred the calculator was comprised of two different studies — an online media survey and an in-person media lab. The results include findings for advertisers around US connected device ownership and how to more accurately plan reaching their target audience across digital video screens.

Using the calculator can be frustrating as you try to nudge your market reach upward, toggling back and forth between tablets and mobile, trying to figure out who — if anyone — is watching smart TVs. Mobile seems like a strong bet across demographics. For example, if I spend along a relatively even distribution (10 percent mobile, 10 percent computer, 5 percent tablet and 5 percent CTV), I can reach 24.7 percent of 25- to 54-year-olds. If I spend my entire digital budget on mobile — a full thirty percent of my total $8,000,000 budget — I can reach 29.9 percent of that group. Meanwhile, the best way to increase my reach among 35 to 54 year olds is to spend it all on tablets — with max digital spending, I nudged just over 30 percent reach only by eliminating all non-tablet spending.

The point of the calculator is to show (rather than tell) media companies that investing in digital platforms will increase their audience. If I spend my whole digital budget on mobile for 18- to 34-year-olds, I reach 78.9 percent of them, compared to 55.6 percent if I just spent my money on regular TV. But the biggest takeaway for me is that it’s not easy to manage a budget. Do I do whatever it takes to reach the most people? Should I pay attention to what percentage of my audience I’m reaching in relation to what percentage of my budget I’m spending? And how many impressions am I getting? It takes a lot of fiddling, and I’m still not sure who’s watching smart TVs. (They seem to be most popular with people over 55.)

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