Outdoor industry eyes Route to long-term health

The outdoor advertising industry is looking to its newly re-branded research body Route, with its database of over 19 billion digitally-gathered data sets, to present out-of-home as the most accountable channel.

Route provides new system for measuring outdoor effectiveness.

Formerly known as Postar, Route was unveiled yesterday (Feb 26) including a mapped inventory of every outdoor ad frame in Great Britain plus GPS travel survey data tracking footfall from over 28,000 people.

Route has used this database plus GPS user data to devise new measurement metrics using a Traffic Intensity Model (TIM), to calculate the likelihood of people to see an ad frame in certain positions.

Among the new metrics devised using the data are: realistic opportunity to see (ROTS) and likelihood to see (LTS), a metric devised using its eye-tracking technology.
Sources tell Marketing Week the increased metrics will help align outdoor and digital ad spend, the two of the best-performing media of 2012 by ad spend according to the latest Warc figures.

Despite UK outdoor ad budgets enjoying a 24.5 per cent annual leap in Q3 2012, primarily due to the Olympics, spend on the medium is forecast to dip by almost 1.5 per cent in 2013 according to Warc figures (see chart).


James Whitmore, managing director of Route, argues its enhanced metrics and inventory mapping system (IMS) will help advertisers better judge where best to spend their budgets.

“We now know how fast someone approaches an ad frame and whether or not it’s a digital or static ad unit… this greatly enhances advertisers’ ability to spend their budgets more effectively,” he says.

Audience data can be further broken down into typologies including: age, class, lifestyle, shopping habits, etc. This information is then used by advertisers as the currency for planning, trading and evaluating advertising investment in the medium.

Glen Wilson, managing director of Posterscope, says TIM can help advertisers identify new opportunities to “hunt out undiscovered value” adding the data points now available via Route are 30 times more than radio’s RAJAR and 700 times bigger than print’s National Readership Survey.

“This lets advertisers identify new opportunities to hunt out audiences in different areas [where they may not have before],” he says.

“For instance, most would assume the best way to reach a business person using outdoor advertising was between 9-5 or during commuter hours during the week but Route shows that this audience can also be reached [using outdoor] during 4-7pm at a weekend too,” adds Wilson.

CBS Outdoor UK country director Jason Cotterrell, believes enhanced metrics such as Route will immediately help begin to arrest the overall predicted decline in outdoor budgets for 2013.

He adds this can primarily take place by advertisers aligning their digital and outdoor strategies, and budgets, especially as mobile comes to the fore.

“For instance, you’ve got things like QR codes and NFC,” he says. “A lot of advertisers are looking to know how they can align traditional and digital media.”

Meanwhile, CBS Outdoor UK marketing director Simon Harrington, predicts Route will have a modest effect on outdoor ad spend in the immediate period although is also hopeful it will provide a longer term boon.

“I don’t think we’re going to suddenly see the needle for out of home revenues leap forward but we will begin to see improvements,” he says.
The £19m research study, conducted by Ipsos MediaCT and MGE Data, initially revealed an average person will make eye contact with circa 27 roadside posters and 14 bus ads each day, plus every time they make a tube journey this is likely to increase to an average of 74 ads.

Route replaces the earlier system for calculating outdoor audiences, Postar which was in place since 1996, and uses GPS travel data sourced from participants to ensure its data is “people-focused”.

This makes it possible to plan by town, or bespoke geography choosing from 24 conurbations, or 14 BARB areas, as subscribers can now know which audience is travelling where, how, when and at what speed.

Speaking at Route’s launch event, Richard Silman, IPSOS MediaCT, CEO, told attendees the companies have also used TIM to devise the audience reach and frequency of ad units in GPS black spots, namely underground rail stations, in an industry first.

“Using the GPS level data we can improve any diary and recall weaknesses from respondents,” he says adding this “passive” layer of GPS data means advertisers can cross-reference with other information sources to further improve accuracy.



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