iSite Media has invested heavily in its own measurement and planning tools over the past few years, with its efforts to provide better targeting and planning tools for buses in 2013 earning it a host of awards and some new customers. And now it's applying a similar model to billboards.
In an era where accountability is demanded, measurement has been seen as one of the outdoor sector's weaknesses. A measurement system for the entire sector has long been discussed (and it already exists in Australia), but iSite took the initiative and invested in its own. And it says this new planning tool for billboards represents "the latest milestone in a three-year audience measurement journey". So is it any different from the transit tools?
"The billboard audience solution required a greater investment and insight in understanding individual journeys," says iSite's Rupert Fenton. "At the heart of our model are 290 million data points that supplement our view derived from the bus model. Each billboard has a unique audience while within our bus product we measure audience at a depot level, not individual bus level. Billboard audience data is granular, and we have some really insightful marketing information that will make our customers' campaigns a lot more effective. We think it’s very powerful."
Historically, he says billboard operators have used council data to measure the volume of traffic passing a billboard site, but each billboard operator used slightly different methodologies and the agency base was struggling to compare the apples to apples.
"In 2013 iSite led the industry to adopt a single source of traffic data and a consistent application. The billboard industry calls this DTV (daily traffic visuals). This is a robust, independently verified source of data and remains a foundation dataset for our reach and frequency measurement insight."
And with the resource pumped into offering better targeting and measurement opportunities, Fenton believes iSite has reaped the benefits, as evidenced by the fact that iSite won the 2015 media brand of the year at the CAANZ Beacon Awards, three TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards and five gold NZDM Awards.
"We’ve worked hard in this area for a number of years and have achieved an audience view across our core product range, bus, billboard and airport media. We believe we’re making inroads to advertisers that require greater accountability to support an intuitive buying decision. We’ve seen a range of new advertisers on bus media that we know are driven by our data. We hope to replicate this in the billboard space [it has recently launched the country's biggest digital billboard in the Auckland CBD]."
Another common gripe about the outdoor industry from agencies was that booking a national campaign was too complicated. But there has been plenty of consolidation in recent years. So has that smoothed the waters and helped the outdoor sector's growth?
"Media agencies have been a major force in driving consolidation. They want to deal with fewer suppliers to build an efficient media campaign and it’s allowed iSite the scale to drive initiatives like measurement and digital that are in turn driving growth in the sector."
This data also offers advertisers better targeting opportunities and Wayne Chapman, iSite’s chief executive, says understanding who consumers are and how they move around their environment when out of home is a guiding principle in its quest to develop deeper insight and better-informed decision making.
"Having done the heavy lifting in pioneering a transit measurement system last year, it is a logical progression to expand the capability to include our billboard inventory. This supports our vision of changing the conversation from panels to people.”