Use Cases and Best Practices for TURF Analysis

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Posted May 19, 2021
Tiffany Mullin

As ambitious as a business may be, it cannot provide every product, service, and feature under the sun. Keeping this business challenge in mind, organizations must be strategic in the products and services they market to customers. 

For this reason, many brands rely on TURF analysis and consumer research to optimize their portfolio of products. In this blog post, aytm will dive deeper into this statistical technique by showcasing TURF analysis with examples.

What Is TURF Analysis?

TURF analysis stands for Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency. It is a statistical technique commonly used in market research to rank a combination of products and services.

A TURF report showcases the percentage of audience reached by a limited number of product variants. In other words, the TURF algorithm identifies the market potential for different product combinations a business plans to offer.

To learn more, read our blog post TURF for Beginners.

What business objectives does TURF Analysis answer?

When first introduced, TURF analysis was a common tool for the analysis of marketing and advertising campaigns. As the statistical technique grows in popularity, it is now often applied to various business objectives and industries. 

The possibilities of TURF analysis are endless. Here are a few business decisions answered with this research method:

  • What market share can we expect if our brand launches a new flavor? And will that new flavor cannibalize existing flavors or reach new consumers?
  • What is the optimal product line a brand can offer that will maximize reach in the market in the most efficient way?
  • What is the best combination of messaging components to appeal to the broadest range of consumers?
  • What are the best channels to reach new consumers with our brand or product messaging?

With products and services regularly introduced to new markets, it becomes imperative to leave no question left unanswered. An analysis through TURF will be your best bet for a successful product or new market launch.

Where is TURF Analysis Best Used?

The best use for TURF analysis is when a business is developing or introducing something new to its audience. Perhaps it's a new store location, a new menu item, or a new target market altogether. TURF optimization assists companies in making data-driven decisions for these new business ventures.

Say, for example, you are the owner of a sports bar. In the coming months, you plan to add pizza to the menu. However, limited resources and budget only allow for two different types of pizza. 

You conduct a customer survey to identify which types of pizza are most appealing. A quick summary of the results shows that "Sausage" and "Pepperoni" are the most popular toppings. Although after using TURF analysis, the data tells a different story. 

The TURF report shows that "Pepperoni" and "Hawaiian" pizza will offer the most significant reach among your target customers. The original data point did not consider that "Sausage" and "Pepperoni" are preferred by the same type of customers. On the other hand, "Hawaiian" pizza would open the door for a new audience, offering a greater return on investment.

How does the TURF Analysis algorithm work?

You might be thinking this type of analysis has a lot of complex math and logic behind the TURF algorithm. It must be a complicated formula that is only understood by statisticians, right?

Thankfully, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Again, the underlying idea is to achieve the maximum audience reach with the desired number of options.

TURF analysis tests every possible combination of products to see which combination includes the highest percentage of total respondents.

Let’s say you are testing the appeal of Products A, B, C, D, and E. You want to know which two products are liked by the most possible customers. An analysis through TURF will check the appeal of Product A paired with the appeal of Products B, C, D, or E.  Simultaneously, the analysis will check each possible pairing for Products B, C, D, and E.

The TURF algorithm will then provide you with a list of all possible pairs and their corresponding reach. You can then definitively say which combination (or combinations) of which two products are liked by the highest number of unique customers.

Output from TURF Analysis

A TURF report identifies the overlaps in consumer preferences and measures the unduplicated reach percentage for every product category tested in a survey. It is an excellent addition to market research studies because it provides a more comprehensive analysis of the market potential.

The outcomes of TURF analysis provide organizations with options they may have overlooked with a typical survey. For instance, in the sports bar scenario, choosing a pizza topping based on the highest percentage choice would be ineffective. 

Using the additional statistical technique, the sports bar can look beyond those percentages and see more profitable combinations for new menu items.

Custom TURF Simulator Options

For TURF needs that go beyond what the automated export supports, aytm’s services team offers custom TURF simulators.

Key features of custom simulators include:

  • Support for data filters to explore multiple subgroups within one file
  • Support for multiple Reach definitions toggled via dropdown (e.g., Top Box and Top 2 Box)
  • No limits on set sizes based on the number of items tested
  • Preview for “next best” addition, by Reach and Frequency, to existing simulated set
  • Template for building a chart of Reach incrementality, often called elbow or whale’s tail

*Separate view(s) of top combinations per set size available upon request.

Best Practices for designing a TURF study

The critical first step in designing a study for TURF analysis is to pick the right question type. To ensure the analysis is performed correctly, you must set up your survey with a multi-select question in mind for TURF.

Also sometimes referred to as checkbox questions, these questions allow respondents to select as many options as applicable. For example, if you are asking about the appeal, respondents may indicate they find multiple products appealing from the list.

Running a TURF analysis on a single choice question would be easy because you could simply add the percentages of each tested option to calculate the reach. However, this isn’t a true TURF analysis because respondents are limited to selecting only one option. 

Another best practice for TURF analysis is to create clear differentiation between the options in your multi-select question. Including multiple options that are too similar to one another will likely add little to the insights in the end. 

When you are reviewing the results from the TURF report, also be sure to view the best combinations with additional context. Other factors like product price or supply logistics will be key to making your final business decision. You can even use a demographic question elsewhere in your survey to view the TURF analysis results broken out by segments.

Use Cases for TURF Analysis 

Wondering how you might actually use a TURF analysis? Check out these three common use cases below for some ideas.

  • Maximizing Your Marketing Spend Through TURF Analysis
  • A great way to apply TURF analysis to marketing is by identifying the channels with the most reach. Learn which combinations of social media ads, online ads, television, radio, billboards, etc. are most viewed or preferred by your audience. 
  • You can also ask which ad copy options are most appealing to your target market. Ask respondents about several potential ads to determine which combinations might offer you the most impressions or conversions.
  • Optimize product portfolios using TURF
  • Refining your product lines through TURF analysis has many benefits. You can minimize market share cannibalization by offering products that appeal to different audiences. You can also cut down on costs by narrowing your product lines to offerings with the highest individual impact.
  • Using TURF Analysis to Define a Short List of Features
  • Let’s say you are struggling to pick the right features for your product because of the limitations of your resources or the product itself. TURF optimization can reveal the handful of features that will attract the most potential users.

Ready to design your own TURF study? Contact us.

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