When it comes to media usage behavior, the following applies: Don't make assumptions about others

What do you think, do people from the marketing and media industry, so-called Ad People (to which the author of this article also belongs), have a different media usage behavior than the rest of the Swiss population? If so, do the ad people therefore even misjudge general usage behavior? We wanted to know exactly and, together with the IGEM and in cooperation with the WEMF, conducted the "Media Bias" study on the media usage of ad people and their assessment of general media usage behavior (study available for download at the bottom of the article).

But before we go into the study results, we would like to test your estimation accuracy on general media usage here. To do so, first answer the question for yourself and then click on the respective video:

What percentage of people use Facebook, LinkedIn or TikTok?

What do people tend to watch: linear or time-shifted TV?

Classic radio or Spotify, which do people listen to more?

So, you guessed right? Then congratulations! If not, don't worry, you're not alone. In the survey for the study, the ad people were off by an average of 10 percentage points with their estimate. What doesn't sound like that much at first can make a whole lot of difference to the individual medium. Siri Fischer, Managing Director of IGEM, agrees:

Take a look at the differences in print, for example (chart 1). Ad people not only use print significantly less, they underestimate usage among the population by a full 39 percentage points for magazines and 35 percentage points for newspapers. Based on the population, one could say that the professionals underestimate print usage by about 2.6 million users. Radio usage is underestimated by around 1.7 million users (25 percentage points) and TV usage by around 1.1 million (17 percentage points).

Figure 1: Usage and estimation - classic media

User shares in %

Studie Ad People_Grafik1.png

The opposite picture emerges for newer media (chart 2). You may have felt the same way about your estimate above, but the ad people in the study overestimated general social media usage in virtually all cases. For TikTok, it's 19 percentage points (about 1 million users); for Instagram, 15 percentage points (1 million); and for LinkedIn, 9 percentage points (about 600,000). Particularly striking here: Ad People not only overestimate the general use of Facebook and Co. but also use these offerings significantly more than the general population.

Graph 2: Usage and estimation - social media

User shares in %

Studie Ad People_Grafik2.png

These results inevitably lead to the following conclusion: due to different media usage compared to the overall population, ad people arrive at a distorted estimate of general media usage. Our CMO, Guido Trevisan, says about this in an interview with Persönlich.com:

Now, you could say, "So what if the professionals are a little off the mark with their assessment. You could, but you shouldn't. Because this "wrong" assessment may lead to unfavorable decisions in media planning. And that is precisely the reason why we conducted this study. The results underline once again that it is worthwhile to conduct media usage research and to use the data for marketing decisions.

Are you interested in the complete study with all results? Simply download here:

About the study

  • Conducted by Goldbach Media and IGEM in cooperation with WEMF
  • The media usage of marketing and media professionals and their assessment of the media usage behavior of the Swiss population was surveyed
  • Total 657 participants from German and French-speaking Switzerland
  • Media queried (excerpt): print, radio, TV, Internet, TV, video, music streaming services, social media, messenger services, video conferencing tools, smartwatch, smart speaker
  • The IGEM Digimonitor 2021 is used for comparison with the actual use of the electronic media surveyed. For print, the data is taken from the MA Strategy 2020.
  • Survey period: August/September 2021
  • Method: Online survey (CAWI)