APN Outdoor recently commissioned research consultancy Millward Brown to undertake what has been called the “largest outdoor media study” of its kind in the Australasian market.
“The … study marks the first time an outdoor company has specifically invested in finding out about New Zealand consumers,” said APN Outdoor’s general manager Phil Clemas in a release. “It was devised to assist our clients when planning their media campaigns and with this in mind, we ensured the study wasn’t limited to just outdoor, but instead put outdoor in context to all other mediums.”
The study, which has been dubbed the ‘Attention Economy’, is comparable to those that are intermittently conducted by TV, radio and online industries and aims to show the levels of engagement that Kiwis have with outdoor advertising.
“Attention is especially important in marketing and advertising,” says Clemas. “Because of the sheer volume of advertisements people see and hear and in an increasingly fragmented media landscape – attention is something that is becoming scarce.”
And while the findings of such studies do at times seem self-serving in the sense that the data would probably not be released to the public if it told a negative story, they do give the outdoor industry the ability to consolidate claims with concrete evidence acquired by a discrete source.
Over the course of the study, Millward Brown surveyed 6,600 participants across nine major metropolitan markets—including 1,200 people in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington—with the aim of determining how effective outdoor advertising is when compared to other channels.
“This is not the be all and end all in terms of the effectiveness of outdoor marketing; it’s a crucial first step,” said Millward Brown spokesperson Alasdair Allen when presenting the results of the study at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre in Auckland in early September. “The Attention Economy is specifically about which channels and formats are getting the attention, how much attention they’re receiving and what’s the quality of that attention.”
Broadly, the study found outdoor advertising scored reasonably well in each of these categories. It found those surveyed spent around 18 hours outdoors (excluding work and study) per week, compared with 21 hours spent online and 28 hours watching television.
And while outdoor lagged behind in terms of cumulative weekly exposure, the channel performed particularly well when it came to ad recall. Millward Brown found that outdoor and television advertising were the best performers in this category, with 83 percent of respondents saying they recalled seeing ads in these channels. Interestingly, despite various studies showing its ineffectiveness, online advertising placed third with a recall rate of around 82 percent.
“Though not surprised, we are very happy with the results the Attention Economy delivered because they validate our industry’s claim that Outdoor is right up there with TV and Online in terms of performance,” said Clemas. “We are very pleased to be taking our findings to market and look forward to building on the Attention Economy as it is set to become an ongoing component of our research and insights.”
In addition to this, the study determined that 60 percent Kiwis were typically outside their homes between 8am and 5pm. Given that these times are the converse of the times Kiwis were most likely to watch TV, Allen says that the TV and outdoor channels tend to be quite complementary and provide marketers with an opportunity to reach the target market across the course of the day.
“It’s fair to say a lot of this [study] was validation [of what we already know]… what we didn’t know was the complementary and importantly the increasing value of outdoor in the media mix. Nor the conversion factor of outdoor – same recall factor as TV (83 percent) but hours spent with outdoor in an average week is 18.2 vs 28.3 for TV (bigger bang for buck).”
Following APN’s win of the Auckland Airport account recently, Clemas also says that the study will assist in determining how the display advertising at the venue will be updated.
“The study will give our advertising clients more insight about the high value audiences the airport environment attracts, audiences that are keen to embrace messages, that are alert, inclined and more easily engaged,” he says. “The size, position and quality of the assets we are developing will help significantly to maintain their attention.”