Ask the Director: What’s an ‘HH’ profile?

Dear Humbled:

If there’s one thing people in the advertising business like better than giving each other awards, it’s creating industry jargon. In this case, “HH” is short for household – but “short” may not be the right term since it takes just as long to say and even longer to decode.

When they ask for your “HH profile,” the agency is really asking for demographic information about your audience. Knowing your audience can help an agency place ads that are likely to appeal to your readers.

Useful demographic information includes:

Age range (seniors are less interested in videogames, teens are less interested in dentures)
Socio-economic status (the rich can afford products that the poor cannot)
Gender (men and women sometimes use different products)
Family status (families with children need different products and services than singles)

You can gather this information by doing a survey of your audience. If you belong to a circulation monitoring service like the Alliance for Audited Media, they may offer to provide this data for a fee.

If you do your own survey, you might think about including questions that could provide information that would interest special classes of advertisers. Do your readers buy Christian books or Christian music? Are they politically active? Do they financially support certain kinds of ministries? Knowing how your readers spend their time and money can help you attract advertisers who can benefit from exposure in your publication.

--Former Director, Doug Trouten