Google takes media research

At the Media Research Group conference yesterday, Google told us how it’s going to be: unveiling a new GfK-powered planning and ROI tool that seems too good to be true, and challenging traditional research agencies to stop gawping and keep up.

The gawping is understandable. Researching audiences for planning, and campaign effectiveness have always been largely separate activities. TGI has been unchallenged for 40 years on target group planning data, while Millward Brown et al have established the standard for post-campaign evaluation. All that may be about to change. Following a successful joint venture with Google in Germany, GfK are set to launch a new UK research tool. It’s a panel, where 10,000 repondents’ usage of a full range of online and offline media is tracked, along with their purchasing behaviour.

The possibilities seem too good to be true – identifying a target audience of category users (like TGI), being able to do a cross-media R&F plan (like TouchPoints), measuring the behavioural or attitudinal response of the same target, and feeding back into multi-media campaign optimisation (like SuperPanel or trackers). This will strike a chord with advertisers, who haven’t stopped telling us for the last decade that they want integrated research and insights. Crucially, they may now be able to get them cheaper than the old siloed approach.

Intriguingly, Google haven’t declared a financial involvement in the venture: the UK market is much more wary of media owner-driven research than they are in Germany. I hope it works: it will raise everyone’s game.


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