Out-of-home advertising on U.S. public transport networks should be boosted by the adoption of a national standard for audience measurement, as Barnaby Page reports.
A study conducted by Canadian audience research firm Peoplecount for the Transportation Research Board, a U.S. nonprofit body, found that advertising agencies want better metrics and more precise targeting for their campaigns. It covered ads inside and outside buses and trains as well as at stations, and provided a raft of recommendations for a national metrics scheme.
And now the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) has been appointed to co-ordinate such a scheme. It will be based on the Out of Home Ratings system from TAB, previously known as Eyes On, which measures not only the number of people potentially exposed to each advertising site, but also the probability that they will actually notice an ad ??? determined by applying a Visibility Adjustment Index (VAI) calculated from eye-tracking tests.
Data from top ten markets is expected to be available shortly, with others to follow.
Currently, transit inventory is sold for around $1bn annually, delivering about half of that sum to transit operators. But although media buyers do ???choose transit advertising for the mass reach, lack of traditional outdoor in the area and ability to target geographically or demographically???, the Peoplecount researchers found that they are are unhappy with the accuracy of audience measurement, desire better demographic and geographic targeting abilities, and in particular would like to see Out of Home Ratings used.
With improved audience metrics, preferably compatible with existing media planning software such as that from Arbitron, IMS, Nielsen or Telmar so that transit can easily be compared with other media in general and alternative out-of-home media in particular, planners would be likely to recommend more use of transit media, they said.
They just won???t listen
Troublingly, however, sellers of transit media did not appear to understand planners??? problems. They believed that ???lack of knowledge or familiarity with the medium??? were the main obstacles to developing business, and actively preferred not to allow planners to select particular locations for their ads, wanting instead to make mass sales across a whole transit system.
And, the report warned, the data that is currently supplied may often be unreliable: ???Because there is no prevailing method many sales organisations resort to ???guesstimating??? audience exposures for premium route vehicles such as historic vehicles, tourist lines, etc. Impressions are often extrapolated from circulation data at fixed points on the route, or other available sources. Unfortunately none of these methods follow an accepted protocol and accuracy varies widely.
???The outdoor advertising industry (through TAB) has been rigorous about audit compliance and requires each display to be certified. There is no comparable audience measurement certification for bus or rail media, so even if the data are from independent third-party sources, it appears to be self- reported, thereby diminishing its value as an accepted currency.???
The implementation of the new national standard should address that problem. But it also emerges from the Peoplecount report that producing reliable transit metrics is no small task.
The researchers identified the problems faced by schemes in a number of other countries ??? Australia, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
The process of gathering accurate, usable data is a ???huge challenge???, they concluded, and particular attention needs to be given to understanding the paths that passengers take through a transit system in order to assess the value of individual advertising locations. Like the U.S. media planners, the foreign audience measurement schemes also recognised the importance of developing a system that can compare transit with other out-of-home media.
It will be important to get as many transit systems as possible to participate in the new metrics programme as it is rolled out over a one-to-three-year period, according to the report???s authors, who suggested that when appointing sales houses the transit operators should stipulate that the new audience measurement system must be used.
As well as the Out of Home Audience Ratings which will form the basis of the new metrics, the measurement guidelines from the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association (DPAA) were also recognised as appropriate for ???digital displays in closed systems such as bus and train interiors and bus or train stations???, although the researchers noted that the guidelines don???t specify in detail how measurements should be made.
But where digital signage is concerned, measurement may be even more complicated than for static signage, although that may also promote its benefits.
The researchers pointed out that not only would the duration of each advertisement in a playlist have to be considered, but also ??? in the case of displays visible from outside the vehicle ??? both its average speed and that of passing cars, factors affecting the duration of a screen???s actual visibility. ???Given the number of potential variables and the relative rarity of this type of digital signage, it would be best to customise these calculations for each particular transit system???s exterior mobile digital signage installations,??? the researchers advised.
They also suggested that although most ???basic in-station posters??? could be treated as identical within a given station, more differentiation might be necessary at ???very large and complex stations???. This implies that giant concourse screens at major terminals, for example, could require individual measurement ??? almost certainly underlining their attention-grabbing capability.
High-profile digital installations covered by the new metrics are likely to include CBS Outdoor???s displays on the Atlanta subway, Titan???s in Philadelphia, and the bus-borne digital signage that Titan operates in Chicago ??? where the same company is now also adding screens to subway stations under a new contract ??? as well as station screens from a range of major outdoor players.
If you are thinking of expanding your business beyond the North American borders, or even if you simply are interested in what is happening in Digital Out-of-Home worldwide, there is one session you cannot miss on February 26, the pre-exhibit educational day of #dse360.
For the second year, DSE and DailyDOOH have joined in creating a half-day international conference with the goal of providing technology providers, systems integrators, network operators, advertising agency executives and others an overview of the opportunities, challenges and achievements in the use of digital signage and digital out-of-home networks around the world.
The event, which this year will cover Eastern Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America ??? with speakers representing Poland, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and Brazil ??? will provide an ideal opportunity for anyone looking to network and do business outside their current region.
One of the speakers that we re keen to hear is Bing Kimpo, CEO, Bing Kimpo Medis/Communications. Kimpo has worked in and around media and communications for 18 years, in broadcasting, advertising, public relations and now out-of-home.
He has deployed, managed and sold ads on networks in transit, office and retail environments. Kimpo now also consults for foreign companies entering the Philippine market in the mobile and OOH spaces. He is a founding director of the Outdoor Media Advocacy Group, and was previously on the board of the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines. He has also been active the Digital Signage World Asia conferences.
???Asia remains on the radar for business,??? Kimpo tells us. ???While China and India continue to be the obvious targets, the region???s emerging markets have become increasingly attractive as well. My talk will focus on Southeast Asia.
???These emerging markets represent new opportunities: a burgeoning middle-class consumer segment, a growing OOH advertising sector, and an openness to digital. Yet, along with the opportunities, there certainly are obstacles.???
Kimpo???s talk will offer a snapshot of where the emerging markets in Asia are vis a vis DOOH, with insights culled from media owners, agencies, vendors and advertisers. And we???re sure that he???ll be happy to answer any and all questions.
To hear Kimpo and the other speakers during this half-day event (9 a.m. ??? 12:30 p.m.) titled Digital Signage 360: A Global Perspective, you can register here.
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For the second year, Digital Signage Expo and DailyDOOH have joined in creating an unprecedented half-day international conference with the goal of providing technology providers, systems integrators, network operators, advertising agency executives and others an overview of the opportunities, challenges and achievements in the use of digital signage and digital out-of-home networks around the world.
The 2013 event covers Eastern Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America (with speakers representing Poland, Japan, Australia, the Philippines and Brazil), will provide an ideal opportunity for anyone looking to network and do business outside their current region.
- 8:00am Registration
- 9:00am Welcome
- 9:30am The Key Digital Signage Players in Japan and Their Thoughts on the Market
- 10:15am Obstacles and Opportunities: An Overview of Emerging Asian DOOH Markets
- 10:45am Opportunity and Risk ??? Digital Signage Market in Poland and Other Central East Europe Countries
- 11:30am Brazil and Latin America DOOH: Opportunities to Grow UP!!!
- 12:00pm ONLINE or REAL TIME ??? The Challenges of Managing Over 20,000 Screens in Different Environments and With Different Content
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, DSE has grown to attract attendees from not only all 50 states but also from more than 60 foreign countries. Over the years, DSE has increasingly become a meeting place for the international community to see and display new technology and share the knowledge necessary for business success.
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on Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 at 18:04 @794
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The way agency search is practiced now is too slow for a marketing world that runs at the speed of light, and it is too expensive for companies (and agencies) that need to prevent harmful waste. It can take 5 or 6 months, or even a year, at the cost of diverted attention from the company???s business, and the expense significant executive time. Instead, with an improved protocol, a well managed agency search can be concluded in five to six weeks, without hurting the quality of results. In fact, a revised process will lead to a more informed pick, and a stable, long-term relationship with the agency.
Part of the problem with today???s commonly practiced agency search process is that agencies and marketers have different objectives from the get-go. Marketers are looking for a long-term relationship with an agency. Agencies, on the other hand, are more mercenary: initially, they are looking for a transaction, not a deep relationship. They are simply looking to win the pitch.
The traditional approach to selecting an agency that has been practiced by pitch consultants since the early 1970???s, is completely out-of-date. It is complex and selection is determined by a superficial context. This leads to growing instability in client/agency relationships, and accelerates turnover in agency rosters and eventually hurts brands and their equities. Relationships, which used to last 15 or 20 years now break down in less than 3 years, on average.
A contemporary process needs to be streamlined and optimize interaction between marketers and the agencies under consideration. Here are areas of improvement that I???ve drawn from my personal experience in agency search over the last 30 years:
1. Do Away With The RFP: Most consultants start by contacting 15 or 20 agencies and sending them an RFP. However, RFPs are generic and provide very little useful information. So the first two or three months of the search process, perhaps more, are wasted sorting through redundant responses from the agencies. Instead, an independent consultant who has in-depth knowledge of agencies and their capabilities should be able to shortlist the best 4 or 5 contenders, depending on what the marketer???s brief is.
2. Workshops Instead Of A ???Pitch???: The traditional agency search process is more of a ???beauty contest??? that revolves around the ???pitch meeting.??? The risk in these beauty contests is that agencies are much better at them than marketers. Agencies pitch all the time and are very good at ???presenting??? and showmanship. Instead, facilitating a number of workshops with each of the contenders gives the marketer an opportunity to evaluate how well they develop strategy and creative work, how they think, their ability to work fast, and just how passionate the agency team is.
Unlike a traditional pitch process, this approach mirrors exactly how marketers and agencies work in real life, and depicts a much more unvarnished view of the contenting agencies, their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Hire An Agency???s Future, Not Its Past: And that future, while somewhat informed by the past, is more likely to be a reflection of the agency???s vision, and its willingness to embrace what???s coming rather than preserve what???s been. Did the agency adjust to the new communications model, which shifted away from interruptive messages, and did it adopt technologies and platforms that make listening more important than messaging?
4. Hire Their Criteria For Hiring People: Talent rules. Nothing is more important than people. You certainly want collaborative people working on your business, but you may also want to know what qualities the agency looks for when hiring ??? curiosity? courage? optimism? persistence?
5. Hire For All The Screens: Advertising is no longer about just the 30-second spots, although many agencies are still stuck in the old model. One of the most critical things to find out during the workshops is their adaptability with technology, developing apps and utilities, digital, mobile, social, branded content, building platforms.
6. Hire For Culture And Ethics: Marketers often look at culture in terms of the agency???s creative standards. However, its core values, work ethic, and commitment to partnership will foretell the kind of relationship you are likely to have.
Marketing is one of the biggest expenses for most companies, and hiring the right agency is one of the most important decisions a CMO can make. It is time to innovate a failing agency selection process, now in its fifth decade, and adapt it to marketers??? needs in the 21st Century.
Avi Dan is the founder of Avidan Strategies, a marketing consulting firm that specializes in business and marketing advice, agency search, compensation, and advertising strategy. He spent 30 years in senior account management and business development positions with leading global agencies.
I tend to agree. The whole pitching process now seems hard put to keep up with the marketing communications landscape of today.
It doesn’t cost much for a brand to polish its image and generate lots of positive media attention. In fact, $11.50 will get you a ton of it. That’s the amount Charles, the manager of a Red Robin restaurant in Apex, N.C., recently comped a very pregnant customer (she was actually overdue) when she stopped in for a meal with her husband and 2-year-old son. Charles deducted that amount and added the note “MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC” to the bill. The atrocious grammar and spelling just enhance the “Awww” factor. Charles tells Consumerist that the way to make customers happy is to “listen to them, and make sure they leave feeling appreciated and valued. If our guests know we welcome their feedback, I think they’ll talk with us and speak up ??? to say they had a positive and satisfying experience with us, and hopefully also to say they’ll be back again soon.” All the attention seems a bit overdone, but in these cynical times, when restaurant workers most often generate headlines for defiling salads and sandwiches, Charles’s tale resonates, especially since it was a genuinely kind act, not some rah-rah commercial. Maybe the woman will name the kid “Robin.” Works for a girl or boy. Bet she’d have a few more free meals coming her way.