Continuous Interviewing versus Dipsticks

Advertising tracking studies may be conducted continuously (a few interviews every day), or as a series of surveys, referred to as dipsticks (or pulsed interviews) that dip into the market over time (e.g. pre- and post-advertising).

Continuous interviewing offers a number of advantages over dipsticks. Like a video, it provides an uninterrupted record of measurements with no gaps or missing time periods in the data, capturing all trends and changes in the market. And unlike dipsticks, which tend to be biased to the media schedule of the company’s own brands, continuous tracking is better suited for monitoring competitive activity. It is appropriate too for analysing multimedia campaigns.

Continuous tracking data also blends well with other continuous data streams such as GRPs or advertising expenditure, and sales, and can be used for developing market response models. Metrics derived from models such as Millward Brown’s awareness index, provide an assessment of the effectiveness of advertising.

To contain costs, continuous tracking is reported on a 4-weekly or 8-weekly rolling data basis. If, for example, the required sample size for reporting is 300, then for reporting on basis of 4-weekly moving average, 75 interviews need to be conducted each week.

Dipsticks are like images or snapshots in time. Their prime advantage is that they are less expensive than continuous tracking, and can be concentrated into a short time interval to provide more accurate pre- and post-measurements for a particular advertising campaign.

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