Continuous Interviewing versus Dipsticks

Advertising tracking studies may be conducted continuously, with 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 several advantages over dipsticks. It provides an uninterrupted record of measurements, capturing all trends and changes in the market with no gaps or missing time periods in the data. Unlike dipsticks, which are often biased toward the media schedule of a company’s own brands, continuous tracking is better suited for monitoring competitive activity and analysing multimedia campaigns.

Continuous tracking data can also be easily integrated with other continuous data streams such as gross rating points (GRPs) or advertising expenditure, as well as sales data, to develop market response models. Metrics derived from such models, like Millward Brown’s awareness index, can provide an accurate assessment of advertising effectiveness.

To manage costs, continuous tracking is usually reported on a 4-weekly or 8-weekly rolling data basis. For example, if a sample size of 300 is required for reporting, then 75 interviews must be conducted each week for reporting on a 4-weekly moving average basis.

On the other hand, dipsticks are like snapshots in time, providing more accurate pre- and post-measurements for a specific advertising campaign in a shorter time interval. Their primary advantage is their lower cost compared to continuous tracking.

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