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About TouchPoints

What it is and why the industry is able to produce more realistic media strategies and plans.

What is TouchPoints?

IPA TouchPoints is a unique, consumer-focused, multi-media database which has been produced in response to the needs of the communications industry, specifically to provide insights into how people use all media.


TouchPoints provides two distinct databases: the first, the Hub Survey, provides a detailed view of ‘a week in the life’ of consumer behaviour. Respondents record their activities for every waking half hour over a seven day period, giving a unique view of people's daily lives and how their media usage fits into these patterns.


The second database, the TouchPoints Channel Planner is the only industry available, multimedia channel planner. It has been created by integrating the industry media currencies onto the Hub Survey.

In addition, users can integrate their own databases or proprietary tools to build a more complete picture of their company, clients and brands.  

The IPA TouchPoints remit is:


  • to provide a single source survey and multi-channel planning system
  • to deliver new and fresh insights
  • to act as a gateway across data sources
  • to enable the industry to better integrate consumer reality into its planning approaches
  • to encourage and support best practice in communication research and strategy
  • to provide a new planning standard and practical planning system for "every day" use


How it all started:

IPA TouchPoints arose out of the demand by agencies for a multi-media planning tool which would enable them to produce more realistic media strategies and plans.


This demand was driven by changes in the media landscape:

  • an increase in the number of media available and the channels available within each medium
  • the increasing control by consumers of the media they consume
  • the need for an industry-led, media-neutral approach
  • the need of a broad platform which could be used as a base to integrate the increasing number of proprietary research studies onto


Who is it for?

The IPA TouchPoints databases provide unique value to a broad range of interests across the communications industry. For any brand particularly in a time-sensitive market they offer a primary market reference and a hook into existing brand knowledge. 

  • For agencies, TouchPoints is highly relevant across the campaign planning phases, from pre-brief work to the writing of a brief, in strategy development itself and critically in providing budget and channel mix rationale.
  • For creative agencies, TouchPoints provides added insights into the 'who', the 'how', the 'where' and 'when' of consumer behaviour to inform both idea development and the brief.
  • For media owners, it offers a more complete understanding of their audiences and has value for editorial / programming and marketing teams alike.
  • For direct / integrated specialists, the Survey provides a macro context and connector data to the micro details of customer databases. For example data could be integrated onto a retailer’s database to provide a multimedia perspective.
  • For those focusing on media, TouchPoints enhances their existing targeting approaches and helps define the most relevant channel mix. The Survey’s extensive digital data provide a broader context for the impact of digital recommendations and a rationale for investment.


How we do it?

There are two key constituents that make up the IPA TouchPoints Databases:

  1. The  Hub Survey – a unique and original survey of c.5,500 adults, producing information gathered through individuals' e.Diaries and self-completion questionnaires
  2. The  TouchPoints Channel Planner - the second stage uses this Hub Survey as a base onto which all the industry currencies are incorporated to produce the first industry available cross media channel planning tool


The Hub Survey:

The Hub Survey is based on a representative sample of c.5,500 adults aged 15+, living in Great Britain.

Each respondent is asked to:

    • keep an e.Diary , detailing their activities on a half hourly basis over a seven day period


    • a self-completion paper questionnaire covering attitudes, product ownership, shopping and media behaviour etc.


          iii. allow a passive app to be downloaded onto their smart phone which monitords all usage of the phone over a 4 week period (New for TP5 on a sub sample only)

Data collection periods:

               IPA TouchPoints5: July- November 2013


      IPA TouchPoints4: July - December 2011


      IPA TouchPoints3: September 2009 - February 2010


      IPA TouchPoints2: September 2007 - February 2008 


      IPA TouchPoints1: April - November 2005

Sample source:

               IPA TouchPoints5: NRS / RAJAR Recontact Sample plus Access Panel


      IPA TouchPoints4: NRS / RAJAR Recontact Sample plus Access Panel


      IPA TouchPoints3: NRS / RAJAR Recontact Sample plus IPSOS Access Panel


      IPA TouchPoints2: RDD &TNS Access Panels


      IPA TouchPoints1: TNS Access Panels


      Telephone Recruitment with postal placement and return for E.diaries completed on a PDA and with a paper SCQ. Electronic delivery and data return for app based e.diaries and online SCQ's 

Respondent Incentive:

      £20 - £35


      £2,500 prize draw

Research Contractors: 

      TouchPoints3,4 and 4.


      Ipsos Media CT (Hub Survey) 


      RSMB (Integration)



      records information:



By half hour:
Where were you?
Who were you with?
What were you doing? If travelling, mode of travel and reasons for travel. 
Media consumption by device
Shopping in person or online and amount spent
What mood were you in?
Were you alert or relaxed? 
See the TouchPoints4 e.Diary demonstration.

The self completion questionnaire
asks respondents for their attitudes and habits in the following areas:

SMS text and picture messaging
Event and broadcast sponsorship (selected events)
Direct Marketing
Word of Mouth
Technology Ownership

See the TouchPoints4 self completion questionnaire.

The TouchPoints Channel Planner:

The expansion of the TouchPoints Hub and creation of the TouchPoints Channel Planner is conducted by RSMB, and has two stages:

      • The first stage of the process is to expand the Hub Survey onto the BARB Establishment Survey. This effectively creates an average of nine clones for every TouchPoints Hub Survey respondent, delivering an operational sample size of approximately 50,000. Whilst not increasing the effective sample size, the expansion allows all industry media currency respondents to be used in the integration process. This technique substantially strengthens the match of media research currencies to TouchPoints.


      • Stage two involves 'fusing' media currency data onto the expanded 50,000 TouchPoints database. A series of hooks across the media are pre-defined within the self-completion and e.diary, these include demographic and household composition descriptors, but crucially also the media patterns of consumption. The combinations of these hooks allowed TouchPoints respondents to 'receive' media currency data from the most relevant currency respondents. See also Ken Baker's TouchPoints Integration Methodology Appraisal


      In the case of media for which there are no industry-approved trading currencies such as Search, SMS text and direct mail, contact probabilities from within TouchPoints have been created to enable them to be included in multi-media schedules.

      To enable you to get maximum value from the Channel Planner, you will need the specialist analysis software provided by companies such as IMS, KMR and Telmar who have been key partners throughout this initiative. These user-friendly systems enable users to create combined coverage and frequency across the channels out of the personal contact probabilities created in the integration process and the cross-media coverage inter-relationships which were carried across from the Hub. In combination, this data allows 'currency level' coverage and frequencies for individual and combined media channels to be calculated for the user defined target markets. Users are able to input planning criteria according to a medium's own conventions but outputting as common measurements showing total GRPs, coverage and frequency.

      The currency periods used for each Channel Planner can be found




Contact the TouchPoints team



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