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Data in OOH aren’t just programmatic

Data in OOH aren’t just programmatic

At the risk of turning Mediatel Newsline into some kind of out of home-centric Points of View, (Points of Viooh – if you will), I feel compelled to respond to a data pedlar pontificating in a misinformed manner about the failings of the industry.

It would be wrong to suggest that I entirely disagree with everything which Conrad Poulsen wrote in his recent piece ‘Data in out-of-home doesn’t have to mean programmatic’, but there were a few fundamentals that do need to be addressed.

It’s nice to be nice, so, let’s start with where we agree.

The title

No arguments here. Not all OOH inventory is digital, nor will it be anytime soon. Therefore, the data which measure OOH audiences need to work equally for posters and screens. As an aside, we know that 98% of measured OOH sites are posters. How do we know this? Stay tuned, we’ll get to that in a moment…

The strength of OOH is in the reach

Again, this is absolutely on point. Out of home media are right there for all to see. They offer advertisers anything from the widest broadcast to a physical presence in locations of contextual relevance, close to the point of purchase. It’s a medium that can reach any demographic. In fact, it’s the widest reaching broadcast medium in GB reaching more than TV, radio or press. Digital OOH screens now offer greater weekly cover (63%) than Magazines (49%).

But where do these numbers come from I hear you ask? Patience my friends, patience, please, we still have another point upon which we agree.

It is possible to target in OOH

I absolutely concur again. Through a bit of crafty data analysis, it is entirely possible to optimise campaigns and to plan them so as to skew towards advertisers’ chosen target audiences. This here, is what specialists do. They plan campaigns, not (always) through witchcraft and gut feel, but rather through taking data-driven decisions about the reach and frequency of their target audiences.

This then gets us to the place where we start to diverge…

There is no measurement for OOH advertising

There is a fundamental flaw in Conrad’s assertion that “the challenge lies in qualifying those audiences. We can make semi-informed assumptions about who they are likely to be, but until all sites become ‘smart’ there is still an element of doubt”. Suggesting that there is no means of measuring out of home ads is plainly untrue. Route has been doing this in GB since 2013.

Route is a Joint Industry Currency, meaning that it is independently governed and owned by both the buyers and sellers of the ads. In this sense it is akin to the other Joint Industry Currencies in GB: ABC, BARB, JICPOPS, JICREG, JICWEBS, PAMCO and RAJAR.

Route exists to provide the best measurement of out of home audiences and it is used as the trading currency. Our data are objective, accountable and transparent.

We measure 382,331 out of home ads – either digital screens or paper posters – in any public space. Currently 2% of the inventory measured are digital screens.

Route uses a state-of-the-art multi-sensor tracking device to help inform where people move around and come into contact with OOH ads. The meters work whether they are inside, outside, underground, overground or wombling free. These contain ten different sensors each capturing data on a continuous second by second basis.

To give you an idea of the level of detail and precision, you could re-read what happened when we ‘stalked’ Dominic Mills last year, (in a non-creepy, friendly way) in a demonstration for Mediatel.

Additional to this, Route speaks with real live humans. Working with partners at Ipsos, we recruit samples of people so that our data are representative of the GB population in terms of age, gender, working status and social grade within region. We do this offline, in the real world. We ask them real questions and they agree to participate and carry our meters around for a two-week period.

This process goes on throughout the year, meaning we are always in the field. It means we actually know who these people are and we’re not making any black-box assumptions about them. All the questions which they answer can then be used as profiling variables in building specific and niche target audiences to plan against.

Together, this takes Route far away from any systems scraping sporadic GPS locations from ads served in apps, or the less precise cell tower triangulations which you’d get from mobile data.

Route is continuously developing and evolving. Our next goal is to offer spot level ratings for digital ads by the end of 2020. We’re well on track to do this.

Euan Mackay is general manager at Route Research

Adwanted UK is the trusted delivery partner for three essential services which deliver accountability, standardisation, and audience data for the out-of-home industry. Playout is Outsmart’s new system to centralise and standardise playout reporting data across all outdoor media owners in the UK. SPACE is the industry’s comprehensive inventory database delivered through a collaboration between IPAO and Outsmart. The RouteAPI is a SaaS solution which delivers the ooh industry’s audience data quickly and simply into clients’ systems. Contact us for more information on SPACE, J-ET, Audiotrack or our data engines.
ConradPoulson, CEO, Huq Industries, on 26 Jul 2018
“I agree there’s no question that Route and its international counterparts are quite rightly the measurement currencies that underpin OOH media. However, I would suggest that the digitisation of OOH brings with it new requirements where additional data sets can provide valuable ways to augment the existing currencies. I’m sure we agree that what advertisers expect from the digitisation of OOH is not simply a good looking screen but, more importantly, some of the powerful capabilities that they have come to expect from other forms of digital media - such as attributing audience behaviour post exposure, or reacting to real-time changes in audience behaviour. Data clearly plays a key part in enabling the industry to deliver against these types of requirements and, as in other areas of digital advertising, this will require the combination and co-operation of multiple ‘data peddlers’ to deliver the best possible solutions.”
NickDrew, CEO, Fuse Insights, on 24 Jul 2018
“The problem here is one of personal relevance, and whose responsibility it is. When an industry stakeholder says "there isn't measurement for x", they don't mean "there is empirically no system of measurement in place" (which is what you're rebutting). They mean "there isn't measurement that works for me", where 'works for me' can be 'that I know of', 'that does what I need it to' or 'that I find credible or relevant'. None of these is wrong, per se - people's reality is what they perceive, so it falls to the measurement org to work out how better to present this so that people can see the "works for me" in it.
All of which to say (at least in this column) Route has fallen into the easy trap of saying "we exist, therefore you're incorrect", rather than "you don't get what we do, therefore we're talking about it wrong". Route's far from the only industry measurement body to make this mistake though...”

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