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Measuring up: how out-of-home is getting to know its audience

When NZ Marketing checked in with New Zealand's out of home industry in its 2017 Media issue, it posited that perhaps the biggest challenge was audience measurement, with little progress having been made in introducing an industry-wide standard to measuring viewership, as Australia did in 2018. How has this changed? Graham Medcalf finds out.

June 14, 2018 | news

Media icon Derek Lindsay, former chair of the CAANZ Media Committee, was employed in 2017 as general manager at OMANZ (Outdoor Media Association of New Zealand) with the express brief of getting the ball rolling on the measurement front. With a couple of decades experience in leading roles as an industry business leader delivering profitable growth to both previously established and initial start-up businesses in the communication and media sector, it was hoped Lindsay could make some rapid progress in an area seen to be holding back the outdoor sector.

Lindsay’s brief was to re-invigorate the OMANZ operation with a key focus of developing and introducing an industry audience measurement system in conjunction with the OMANZ members.

In recent discussions with NZ Marketing, Lindsay says that as part of his representation of the outdoor industry, he has spent a significant amount of time researching the best approach and the key issues surrounding the development of an industry audience measurement system (AMS). 

And while Lindsay has been developing an industry audience measurement system, others have not been slow in developing their own. 

APNO billboard

Adshel has always been very supportive of a unified approach and is working closely with OMANZ, and in 2017 APNO developed and launched Calibre, an audience measurement tool. At the same time, VMO (Val Morgan Outdoor) introduced DART, Digital-outdoor Audiences in Real Time, to the New Zealand market.

By using AMD’s (Audience Measurement Devices), DART offers anonymous audience analytics that demonstrate who has actually viewed a campaign and how long they are engaged. It's VMO’s exclusive real-time audience measurement system and measures more than 15,000 New Zealand viewers on a weekly basis.

To ensure DART’s accuracy, VMO commissioned PwC to independently conduct procedures to assess DART's ability to accurately calculate certain metrics data contained in VMO’s DART insight reporting.

The procedures were undertaken and described in a report of factual findings issued by PwC and indicated that for a sample of campaigns, the engagement score was being calculated correctly.

"The procedures independently performed by PwC provides VMO with comfort over DART's ability to accurately calculate engagement ratios reported on campaigns,” says Megan Brownlow, partner at PwC.

Advertisers have also enthusiastically embraced oOh!Media’s audience measurement system, CRAFT, as it gives them the ability to measure their campaign reach and frequency across the retail environment against multiple demographic groups for the first time.

Khyer, night, Prime

With this as a backdrop, Lindsay is continuing his work and says essentially what OMANZ wants to do is to provide customers, the agencies and advertisers, with a currency audience measure for each out-of- home billboard sites - all sites are measured on the same basis and can be directly compared with each other.

“From this we can supply a reach and frequency measure for a campaign across different billboard sites no matter the size, location and ownership.”

This will provide a true measurement comparison versus other main media. According to Lindsay, the currency data is likely to include:

  • Travel data per site format

  • Daily Traffic Visuals data previously developed

  • Vehicular and pedestrian traffic

  • Geo location data

  • Base demographics (age / sex / income / household size / occupation / media usage) in line with accepted media industry segmentation

  • Specific factors which take account of the differing levels of visibility for each site and format, including the modelling to support multiple advertisers

Lindsay adds that at this stage, it’s anticipated that the currency data will not include third-party data sources (such as private bank data and advertiser data), which can be included in each OMANZ members’ proprietary audience profiling solution.

Having analysed the existing audience measurements in a few different countries, Lindsay determined that OMANZ has a number of options moving forward. Firstly, to replicate the measurement systems developed in either the UK or the USA; introduce the Australian currency called MOVE or develop something locally.

“Eventually, we determined that our approach was to combine all of our own New Zealand expertise and thinking into a ‘Best of the Best’ strategy – essentially merging some of the existing databases held by each OMANZ member and develop a new OMANZ integrated data hub.”

This would combine data from sources such as GPS data, mobile data, census, household expenditure survey and specific travel surveys amongst others.

“We propose extracting all the data sets from the individual data hubs to then form a new OMANZ Data Integration Hub (DIH),” advises Lindsay. “This new aggregated hub should allow us to access data more easily, cheaper, faster and tidier. Using some of the existing data analyst talent (from the existing data aggregators) we can access the best options and thinking from what has already been developed.”

To do so, it will need to develop new proprietary algorithms for the new Data Integration Hub covering individual site data and, more importantly, visibility factors to ensure that all sites are being compared on an apples-with-apples basis. Lindsay says this approach keeps proprietary models with the individual members but some of that thinking is used for the greater good (specific models won’t be applied but techniques and thinking is applied).

“Again, using some of the existing resource, which has developed some of the front-end interfaces to date, we would develop a new OMANZ interface for all data output; additionally we would need to ensure that the database has APIs to allow industry participants to access industry outputs directly from their own systems.”

So now, in the first quarter of 2018, OMANZ members have agreed and signed off the key principles and structure of the industry audience measurement system and are now going through the process of appointing an independent data management company, who will be the key partner to help them manage, coordinate and develop their preferred outcome.

Importantly, during the development process, a Technical Committee will be appointed from the existing OMANZ members who will provide a strong technical consistency along with representatives from the Commercial Communications Council (CCC) Media Committee, who will also provide regular customer feedback.

“Assuming we are able to progress consistently well across all stages of development, we are currently anticipating that we will have something in market for the middle of 2019,” predicts Lindsay.

VMO, Rialto Centre

Agency spend on out-of-home was up 18.4 percent in 2017, with $136.3 million being spent on the category across the year according to SMI. Compared to all major media,
it sits below TV and digital in terms of spend, but achieved the greatest growth of 2017.

SMI managing director for Australia and New Zealand Jane Ractliffe explains that momentum comes off the back of innovation in the industry. She says as long as outdoor companies continue to digitise their inventory, the category will continue to grow.

oOh!Media is one of those OMANZ members contributing to that upward trend and general manager of oOh! New Zealand told NZ Marketing CRAFT is New Zealand’s only retail audience measurement tool and has been important in demonstrating how its retail network delivers a strong, national reach of more than 1.6 million people every two weeks.

“While we can’t divulge specific client information, we have successfully deployed CRAFT to help advertisers deliver more targeted retail campaigns by being able to define and reach more specific audience groups, using a fusion of multiple data sets.”

CRAFT has been a powerful tool in quantifying the additional reach advertisers can obtain as oOh!Media’s National Retail Network expands. For example, CRAFT shows that the recent addition of Coastlands Shopping Centre has expanded its reach to an additional 22,000 shoppers in Wellington over two weeks.

New innovations such as oOh!Media’s Excite interactive panels have resulted in a number of creative campaigns being rolled out. The Nutella campaign, for which the advertising image on the Excite panels changed according to the facial expressions of shoppers who passed by, is one example. Shoppers further engaged with the adverts by taking their photograph with an image of a giant Nutella jar, named after their mood, and then shared the photo across their social networks. The creative treatment made use of facial detection to determine what a person’s mood was and generated a name for their jar accordingly. 

Another great example of innovation was the Jockey campaign, that used 18 of oOh!Media’s ShopaLive retail panels, to deliver a live broadcast to select shopping centres of the All Blacks strutting their stuff on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week.

Back in March 2016, Australian digital-outdoor business Val Morgan Outdoor launched in New Zealand, trading as VMO with a completely new look and introducing VMO Work – a new product to the local market. VMO now has screens in 57 locations in New Zealand that reach a cumulative audience of 547,200 weekly.

The vision is for the company to be a world leader in digital out-of- home using world-class technology and innovation. In a global first, VMO launched a programmatic out-of-home product in New Zealand in May 2017 that allows advertisers to target specific demographics in real time across its out-of-home networks.

This was made possible by using DART to detect up to 18 different demographic profiles.

LUMO, East Imperial

According to VMO, DART’s ability to recognise when a majority of a target demographic is present is redefining out-of-home targeting. It is this intelligence that allows VMO to target ads in real time to the right audience.

VMO managing director Anthony Deeble said at the time that using DART ensures it’s delivering the client’s creative dynamically at the right time to the right audience – a giant leap forward in effectively targeting audiences in out-of-home environments.

“The benefit to the advertiser is simple; less wastage,” he says.

The first partner to trial programmatic out-of-home in the New Zealand market was global fast-food group Subway, with its agency partner Ikon Communicatins. Each time a majority of the target audience is detected across the VMO Work network, the Subway creative is advertised.

Ikon client service director Vanessa Williams says it looked at ways to target some of the more challenging to reach audiences.

“The programmatic offering from VMO gives us the ability to minimise wastage and ensure we are delivering the right message at the right time to our audience. Our client is excited to be the first in New Zealand to test the product.”

The technology and methodologies have been rigorously tested and importantly deployed to market. The opportunity for advertisers is enormous. All of a sudden they can have multiple pieces of creative each designed for different demographics sitting in a cloud ready to be served when the majority of that audience is present. It is changing the way out-of-home is able to engage, truly targeting the right audience with accuracy and relevance.

Adshel has always been very supportive of a unified approach and is working closely with OMANZ. However, significant as it is, audience measurement is only one part of driving the sector forward says Elaine Gibbons, Adshel’s head of marketing and partnerships New Zealand.

“We are continually looking to the future, taking learnings from overseas and other media channels, such as digital, as topics like automation, programmatic and unbundling become more and more prominent. We are exploring the convergence of out-of-home and digital media and the benefits that can be delivered to advertisers.”

oOh! Retail special built, L'oreal, LynnMall

In answer to this, Adshel has recently launched Adshel Day Buying, allowing agencies and advertisers the exibility to buy all 223 of its digital screens by the day. This opens up a whole new world of dialogue not previously privy to the out-of-home sector. With the introduction of day buying across the Adshel Live digital roadside network, advertisers can now effectively communicate time sensitive messaging reaching a large-scale audience within a short period. Advertisers who hadn’t considered out- of-home as a tactical medium before are now embracing the flexibility and benefit that day buying can offer.

Mike Watkins, general manager of APN Outdoor New Zealand, offers a note of caution regarding the move to digital. “As we look forward we will continue to see the digitisation of sites, however, as an industry we must be careful how deep this goes to ensure that we do not over saturate the market and commoditise the products,” he warns.

“The emphasis will move towards the data we collect from our sites and how that can be commercialised. We are, after all, selling audiences, not media space. With this, will come the introduction of retargeting and attribution which will bring a whole new layer to the power of outdoor.”

APN Outdoor’s Calibre uses a combination of cell tower data, mobile data, mosaics, DTVs and marketview purchasing data to deliver an accurate and accountable measure on each site in the company’s portfolio. It combines industry standard traffic data with aggregated and anonymised mobile location data to determine total reach of each out-of-home asset, and the frequency of visits. The traffic data takes into account traffic direction and billboard orientation, while a 12-month history of mobile device locations from two different sources are blended and balanced to represent the total New Zealand population. The mobile data measures 40 percent of the New Zealand mobile market and gives a more accurate indicator of where the Kiwi consumer spends their time. Accurate mobile GPS data gives rich information about audience distribution at each out- of-home media site. The mobile data is then enriched by powerful segmentation data from Experian’s Mosaic tool, purchasing behaviour from electronic banking data via Marketview and census data.

“With outdoor in New Zealand being one of the few media without a rigorous measurement system, we wanted to change that and deliver a robust system that agencies and clients could rely upon,” says Watkins.

Calibre has both an agency and media partner interface and is now also being used by GoMedia and Media5, further validating the accuracy of the tool. 

Nutella EXCITE

Phil Clemas, CEO of Lumo Digital, advises that research shows good billboard creative has a shelf life of around seven to 10 days with the impact and power quickly diminishing over the month. However, digital billboards can extend its value proposition well beyond these fundamental similarities by offering real- time dynamic content changes, consumer interactivity, and integration with mobile and social media along with much shorter media cycles to improve the overall value exchange.

“This is why the perceived importance of solus billboard advertising is quickly becoming far less and limited to a very small selection of ‘spectacular’ billboards to perform a very specific job – to really stand out from the crowd,” he says.

LUMO, Green Party

Ad spend in digital out-of-home continues to grow strongly (double digit figures) in younger markets like New Zealand and Australia, which are currently covering up the declines in traditional static billboards. The cost of technology is reducing rapidly and digital out-of-home offers the benefits of traditional out-of-home with the added strengths and capabilities of online.

“Think of a digital billboard as another screen, albeit thousands of times larger than your iPhone,” says Clemas. But he believes that other than a handful of good examples, most advertisers on digital billboards have yet to take advantage of the creative and dynamic capabilities digital screens have to offer.

“When the penny drops, and it will, there will be another wave of growth in digital outdoor. We estimate there to be around 2000 roadside billboards in New Zealand that are 18sqm or larger. As of the end of 2017, approximately 65-70 were digital billboards, less than four percent of all billboards. We anticipate this to grow to between 100 and 110 by the end of 2018.”

Opportunity indeed!

This story was originally published in the 2018 Agency issue of NZ Marketing. To subscribe, click here.

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