Advertising Message Strategy Effects Survey

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This past week, I completed a study for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication through the SOMA system of the University of Minnesota. The study looked at the effects of television advertisements on purchasing behavior of brands, asking the survey respondents Likert Scale questions about how they perceived the commercial and the product being sold in the message. The questions varied from general feelings about the product being advertised, to future purchasing behavior and personification of the brand.

Taking this study made me think about how best to present a survey, given the circumstances and factors related to the topic. Clearly, the email format of this survey is the best for the study's given needs. The survey utilized three separate videos which the participants of the study needed to view before advancing onto the questions. The videos were about a minute and a half long in length and reflected advertisements that would be viewed on a television screen at home. Without the email survey format, the videos would not be readily available for respondents, making the survey extremely more difficult to complete. Additionally, the email format of the survey allows the researcher the opportunity to analyze survey results in real time. This is extremely helpful in a long term study. Finally, the email survey was easy to navigate and complete with its likert scale questions on the online platform. A mail survey or ad hoc survey of the same kind would be time consuming given the scales. The online format clearly laid out the questions for smooth answers an transitioning.

Overall, the survey experience that I had was positive. There was no inherent bias in the study and I felt like my responses had a purpose. The only questions in the survey that I would have eliminated had to do with personification of a brand. I would not apply human qualities to a brand, before or after viewing an advertisement. I felt like the questions were a bit silly and unnecessary. Outside of these questions, the survey flowed well and was extremely pleasant to complete.

New Jersey voter confidence in Christie.

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A new poll by Quinnipiac University shows that voters believe in New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, an believe that he will be reelected. According to the poll, "two-thirds of registered voters in New Jersey believe that Christie should be reelected in November of 2013. Christie is said to have a 53% to 35% lead over his main opponent, Newark mayor Cory Booker. New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states\ to hold elections this upcoming year.

Christie's approval ratings have largely been soaring on account of his actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey coastline, leaving many homes in shambles and forcing much of the state to rebuild from scratch. Christie has been proactive in relief efforts, making it clear that he wishes to help the people of New Jersey in any way possible. Because of this, Christie is seeing sky-high approval ratings, one's that are far beyond any of his previous ratings.

The survey drawn by Quinnipiac University was conducted from November 19-25. 1,664 registered New Jersey voters were questioned via telephone. Sampling error was recorded at plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

In looking at the poll, I wonder how the registered voters were selected. There is no information from CNN about a random digit dialing technique or convenience structure. Clearly, the results of the study are thought to be representative of all New Jersey voters. There must be some element of random response generated. Additionally, I wonder how questions in the survey were structured. Were the questions structured in a way that Christie's actions as a result of Hurricane Sandy were brought up? Was the poll solely about the election or Christie's approval as well? Knowing more details about the study could provide better insight and make the results seem credible and valid beyond the scope of the article.

CNN Article -

The Nature of Black Friday Shoppers

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Black Friday Poll.gif
A new National poll from Gallup shows that less people are shopping on Black Friday, and that most of those shoppers are young. Fewer than one in five Americans plan to shop the sales from the day after Thanksgiving. Of those one in five, more than a third of the bargain shoppers reported being within the age range of 18 to 29. Older shoppers drop in their intention to purchase.

The recent Gallup poll was the first of its kind from the company. While 18 percent of Americans reporting that they plan to shop for the deals of Black Friday may seem low, there is no range of comparison for Gallup. The poll also shows that woman, nonwhite citizens, those from the Midwest, and those making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year in household income are more likely to go shopping for Black Friday deals. Most people shopping report that their main shopping intentions arise from their belief that prices on Black Friday are cheaper than a regular business day.

Gallups methods are as follows: "Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 15-18, 2012, with a random sample of 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points."

The Gallup Poll possibly provides insight into the shopping patterns of Americans. For all of the media attention and store promotion that comes from Black Friday each year, only a small percentage of the population devotes their time and money towards the deals of Black Friday. Additionally, younger Americans are more likely to withstand the weather and crowds of Black Friday in search of shopping deals. Perhaps this poll goes to show that marketing attention on Black Friday should shift towards the nation's young in order to maximize profit.

American Satisfaction

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While Americans may not place much trust in the media and government, their satisfaction is beginning to grow. According to a new poll conducted by polling agency Gallup, American satisfaction with the United States is at 31 percent. This is only the third time since 2009 that United States satisfaction has gone above 30 percent.

According to Gallup, the rise in satisfaction can be attributed to the increasing satisfaction of Democrats. Since the Democratic Convention, more support has been thrown in the direction of President Barack Obama, rejuvenating the spirits of the party that has grown with Americans. With this being said, Democrats are much more optimistic about the country's future, with 51 percent of those affiliated with the party saying that they are satisfied with the country as opposed to the 9 percent of satisfaction among Republicans.

The poll was conducted through random phone surveys of over 1000 Americans, 18 and over, from each of the 50 states and Washington D.C. The confidence Level stood at 95 percent with a margin of error of 4 percent.Gallup 1.gif


According to a national survey administered by polling Nielsen, more Americans are would be willing to serve up a thanksgiving dinner to New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow than President Barack Obama. The poll shows that 23 percent of Americans would enjoy having Tebow at dinner, while only 5 percent would wish for Obama.

The poll clearly aimed to have fun with the American public, as little to no information was given on polling methods or techniques. This survey was simply an enjoyable bit of information for the pleasure of Americans. Obama was also beaten out in the survey by Lady Gaga and Sesame Street character Big Bird.

Article in the New York Post -

How Reliable is Market Research to the Public?

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In Journalism 3251 class, we have often discussed reliability versus validity. A study could be extremely valid (evaluating and answering what it means to answer), but have little reliability (similar results with promising insights time after time. Consistency.) An interesting question that arises out of this is, when Americans look at the research world around them on a consistent basis, do they deem the studies to be reliable?

This question was posed by market researcher Greg Deinzer in his article "Is Market Research Reliable". Throughout the article, Deinzer notes a study conducted by Morpace in which 1,019 Americans were surveyed on their media perceptions. The article notes the findings, saying, "When asked about perception of market research results overall, 24% answered 6 or 7 on a 7-point scale (where 1 means very unreliable and 7 means very reliable) (Deinzer). Additionally, when research is credited to a well known source, such as a scientific journal, perceived reliability rises.

I find these finding a bit shocking. Americans seem to place an uneven amount of trust in market research. This strictly contradicts the recent Gallup poll presented in class, showing that Americans deem the media to be untrustworthy and unreliable. In a sense, there is little reliability in the two survey results, as a high amount of trust in a media source is contradicted by low perceived reliability. I know on a personal level, I am skeptical of all surveys or research studies until I read of the methods conducted and background information. I wonder what specific questions were asked in the Morpace survey to elicit answers from the public. Perhaps the surveys led respondents towards the reliability answer or impacted the net results. Perhaps there was question as to what reliability truly meant within the population. I don't believe that the Morpace study was a valid one simply because there is not enough information about survey methods in order to show the results.

CNN Exit Polls

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CNN conducted exit polls during the election day throughout the country. The polls asked Americans, beyond who they voted for, what issues remained at the top of their minds when thinking about the country. In terms of general issues, those polled said that the economy was the top issue facing the COUNTRY. However, when CNN questioned using wording like "people like you", 38% said unemployment was the top issue, 37% said rising prices, 14% said taxes and 8% said it was the housing market facing them. According to CNN, "Of those who voted Tuesday, 25% said they were doing better today compared with four years ago, 32% said they were doing worse and 42% said they were doing about the same."

While all of these insights are interesting, I question the precise questions asked, the methods of the polls, and how generalizable the results were. CNN fails to give much information relating to question wording, outside of the "people like you" question. Wording of questions can play a critical role on responses. How did CNN select their exit poll respondents? Did they use a systematic approach or a convenience sample? Was the poll based on response or nonresponse. None of this information was listed within the exit poll article. Without this information, we can't know if the results are generalizable to the entire nation or if they are even relevant. The data simply looks at public opinion at one point in time; the answers can't be generalized within the entire population. CNN should give more detail on their sampling methods to gain credibility.

Exit Poll Article -

Social Networks in Market Research

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How do individuals act on social networks? What drives them to interact with brands within their networks?

These questions and more are addressed in Mark Earls' new book, "I'll have what She's Having". Within the novel, Earls and his colleagues dive deep into what drives human behavior on social issues. Two key discoveries of the group are extremely notable:

1. "Brands and marketing content are not important on their own. What matters most is what people (e.g. staff, customers and non-customers) do with them and how they interact with other people in their networks. The scale and structure of social networks will influence how your brand is adopted and evolves as a social entity."

This point was extremely interesting to me. With all the work that brands such as NIKE, McDonalds, and Anheiser Busch have put into their social media, the results of their work will ultimately be decided by what the users do with the content. In other words, it is not about what a company does in building a social media structure, it is about cultivating enough interest to force user interaction. Interaction is what drives a media campaign, not passive viewing. Media organizations must create an environment for interaction rather than forcing content on users.

2. " We are more likely to be influenced by the actions of others in our network. Thus to understand the spread of ideas and innovation we need to pay more attention to the characteristics of our social networks."

Brands should look more into the ability of one person's influence over another rather than marketing equally to all subjects. Perhaps creating "Brand Leaders" in developing campaigns and targeting very specific groups could be positive, as the leaders will then interact within their social groups to spread word on a product.

Survey on Football and Referees

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This past week, I was approached by a University of Minnesota student asking me to take a survey for a research class. The survey was on Football and feelings towards penalties and referees within the games. The methods of the survey had both benefits and flaws that led me to look at the survey with a critical eye, given what I have learned in the Journalism 3251 class.

Starting with the negatives, the researchers methods of selecting participants were majorly flawed. The researcher would not be able to generalize their information because the sample is not random. The sample was a form of convenience sampling to the researcher, as they first began to recruit students by standing at a corner and handing surveys to the first students that walked by. As we learned in class, this is not a random sample. The population can't be generalized, as students are selected based on their presence to the researcher. All of these students could have similar opinions, as they may all come from one class. Then, the researcher began to ask if those walking by were football fans and if so, they should take the survey. This is extremely flawed; football fans will have an inherent bias against the NFL replacement referees after following the first few weeks of the sport.

On the positive side, the researchers questions, in questionnaire format, stayed objective and clear. None of the questions led the respondents one way or the other. All questions stood on general likert scales, except for basic demographic information. The scales effectively gauged one's knowledge of football and their opinions, giving a no confidence section for those not knowledgeable. The questions asked about opinions related to NFL referees and fines given in the NFL. The survey did a fine job gaining insights, but those insights will not be generalizable

Twitter Teaming Up with Nielsen?

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Where is the world of research heading going into the future? How integrated will social media become with research analytics?

These two questions perhaps gained some clarity at the beginning of the month with the announcement of the newly formed partnership between Twitter and Nielsen. This partnership could have huge ramifications on the media world. The partnership seeks to add research polls and "Twitter Surveys" under the promoted tweets section on the Twitter website. The partnership has benefits for both companies, as Twitter will gain slotted revenues by meditating research information and Nielsen will build new structures for research results on social media.

While the partnership is a win-win for the two companies, is it a win for the public? I question whether those on Twitter will actively participate in the surveys. There is little incentive to participate in the surveys outside of the pure interest of the public. Even then, respondents may have a concentrated interest in the studies and therefore sway the results. This would additionally deprive the surveys of the ability to generalize, as only the opinionated would respond.

To be successful, I believe that the surveys and polls not only have to provide incentive for completion, but also must be aware of the respondents. The surveys will fail if they don't generate interest from the wide public. While the partnership between Nielsen and Twitter has potential to build a strong future in the research world, I will need to see the initial results of the research before declaring this a main direction of research going into the future.