How out-of-home advertisers are looking to solve the audience measurement dilemma

Earlier this year, NZ Marketing magazine asked marketers to share their thoughts on the different advertising platforms and rate them, with the information collated in the Media Momentum Index, published in July. It revealed of all the platforms, out-of-home received one of the lowest score for measurement, just four out of 10, which was supported by comments suggesting accurate and realistic data is a weakness of the industry.

And while it received high scores for its adaptability buoyancy and cut through, marketers across the industry are increasingly demanding accurate metrics on who their ads reach.

The good news is that the out-of-home players aren’t just ignoring the issue and are looking at ways to give marketers the numbers they’re looking for. 

Val Morgan Outdoor

Responding to the digitisation of OOH, Val Morgan Outdoor (VMO) has unveiled its DART 2.0 (Digital-outdoor Audience in Real Time) audience measurement system across New Zealand and Australia.

Marketing director Nicolette Onsley says traditional systems aren’t designed for digital outdoor, and DART 2.0 moves OOH measurement away from “dated and subjective measures” to a “new, more valuable and relevant metric”—viewer engagement.

In real time, DART 2.0, reports on the age and gender of those viewing a campaign with such detail, it can identify facial features such as glasses, beards and moustaches as well as the viewer’s mood. It also reports when it was viewed and how many people viewed it across the campaign period.

Managing director Anthony Deeble says viewer engagement is a “more prized metric” and provides agencies and marketers with more meaningful data than ever before.

DART 2.0 follows DART, which was launched by VMO in 2014 and into the New Zealand market earlier this year, to report demographics with greater precision. Onsley says it thought the first version was “ground breaking”, but this version is enabling it to do much more and identifies 18 demographic profiles.

Live audience insights allows content to be delivered programmatically to the right audience at the right time and Deeble says this is a “giant leap in effectively targeting audiences in out of home environments”.

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

oOh! Media

oOh! Media has also recently unveiled a new tool called CRAFT (or Connected Reach and Frequency Targeting for New Zealand), which it’s championing as “New Zealand’s first retail audience measurement system”.

It’s based on multiple data sources that will give advertisers better insights to help generate effective campaign planning.

CRAFT provides unique reach, average frequency and total contact metrics for retail campaigns across various durations and demographics. Advertisers will be able to see the total number of people exposed to a campaign, the number of times the average person is exposed to it and the overall number of exposures the campaign achieves.

General manager Adam McGregor says understanding the demographic distribution of people who use shopping centres across a city gives media buyers and advertisers a powerful and robust tool to make accurate decisions and employ effective strategies.

“We believe CRAFT is an important milestone for accountability in out of home and demonstrates the powerful national reach that retail media can provide,” he says.

Image from oOh! Media.

CRAFT uses geo-mapping and visualisation capability and builds a picture of the lives of consumers by fusing data from 35 sources, including a range of New Zealand shopping centre-specific data sets, National Bureau of Statistics data and proprietary data. oOh! Media has spent the last three years developing it with analytics agency The Demographer’s Workshop.

For oOh! Media, CRAFT has been able to demonstrate that its digital retail network has a unique reach of 79 percent of the population in its nine media regions of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.

“This is particularly exciting for us as it demonstrates that we can fulfill two crucial roles for advertisers, the traditional path to purchase presence and now strong national broadcast reach,” McGregor says.


QMS insights director Rupert Fenton says New Zealand’s OOH advertising sector is having a record year, with overall industry volume up 25 percent year on year. Because of this, he says measurement and accountability are increasingly vital components to its customers’ intuitive decision-making process.

“A key enabler to the industry growth has been the development of measurement and insight that make our campaigns more effective. Sophisticated spatial analysis of out-of-home media is a challenge, though advances in technology and big data have enabled the sector to embrace the challenge.”

And while he adds a unified industry account hasn’t been created, market pioneers have taken significant steps to give its clients accountable targeted campaigns.

QMS’s response to measurement has been in Datalab, a function of the business dedicated to measurement, insight and accountability. It’s been developed over a number of years in partnership with big data company Datamine.

Datalab incorporates smart data sets with over a billion data points from rigorous sources including census, banking data and mobile phone insight. These proprietary sources enable QMS to model how New Zealanders travel on a daily basis and how each individual trip intersects with its national portfolio of assets.

“We can quantify audience, profile audience, visually map audiences and optimize campaigns to maximize our client’s ROI,” Fenton says.

More recently, it’s added Roy Morgan Helix Personas to Datalab’s tools, allowing it to target campaigns based on psychographic profiling and be incredibly granular.

“For example we can tell you how many unique people with a pre-disposition to our client’s brand will be reached when running a QMS campaign. This gives our sales teams the insight to make a compelling campaign,” Fenton says.


In its response to OOH measurement, Adhsel says there is no doubt that the New Zealand sector is behind other markets, however, it wouldn’t necessarily say this has challenged the sector (the recent SMI ad spend figures, showing massive growth in spend for outdoor advertising, backs this argument).

General manager Nick Vile commends the investment into innovation and technology across the sector that has delivered solutions to advertisers that were not previously available, saying it’s a major contributing factor to the growth profile OOH is currently experiencing.

However, he says a unified approach from the sector to an audience measurement solution has to be the next priority and is something that has been agreed at OMANZ level.

“We are 100 percent behind the industry solution led by OMANZ,” Vile says.

“This will provide an industry standard and the only way of accurately measuring audiences across the New Zealand outdoor group.”

He says it knows that markets where there is a unified approach to measurement prosper at a faster rate than those with a more disparate approach to measurement.

“There are obvious advantages to advertisers having a singular audience metric source, versus multiple proprietary measurement tools,” he says.

In the interim, Adshel is actively working on a number of initiatives to deliver clarity on the audiences advertisers can potentially reach via its network of street furniture advertising solutions.

Soon, it will be launching a range of audience targeting products under the brand Adshel Street Smart, which maps third party data across all its street furniture locations to allow advertisers to better understand the role it can fulfill in meeting campaign objectives.

“Campaign effectiveness will be delivered by mapping the Adshel sites that best deliver on a campaign’s audience brief”, Vile says, “not only ensuring the audience is delivered efficiently but that the creative message is on point to be contextually relevant to the audience, in the specific location”.

It’s also utilising Roy Morgan’s Helix Personas to good effect and launched an “ethhnic targeting tool“. Vile says it will be overlaying it with further complimentary data sets under the umbrella of Adshel Street Smart, which will add value to its traditional proximity targeting tools and provide advertisers with other options to reach and engage audiences at street level.

“We refer to it as having the scale to be precise,” he says.

Image from Adshel.

But most significantly, he says it has subscribed to Daily Traffic Visuals (DTVs), a billboard audience measurement methodology developed by independent geo-spatial experts Critchlow Associates. It was initially launched by major billboard operators in 2014.

Vile says DVTs provide an “opportunity to see” based on vehicle traffic count overlaid with a series of rules which, when applied, ensures a consistent audience outputs across all OOH vendors.

Returning to Adshel’s ambition for a unified and independently verified audience measurement solution, Vile says DTVs offer some confidence to advertisers that there is a consistent, independently verified methodology for applying variables such as billboard orientation, traffic flow and effective viewing distance across multiple vendors and formats.

While it’s not a true reach and frequency metric, Vile says, it gives advertisers an independently verified per day “opportunity to see” count for each Adshel site.

One for all?

While Adshel believes a unified approach from the sector to an audience measurement solution has to be the next priority, McGregor says because each OOH format works in a different way, comparing various formats like for like is always a challenge.

“Out-of-home is a complex medium with multiple formats across a wide range of different environments, each one reaching audiences in a different way,” he says.

“Developing a system that can fairly measure all these different formats and deliver a uniform audience score is obviously a challenge.”

He acknowledges the project by OMANZ to establish how the industry could develop an audience measurement system for New Zealand, but says while a significant amount of work has been undertaken, more is needed to establish the best solution for the industry here.

However, at the end of the day, McGregor says “the various measurement systems in place across the industry are helping build confidence in the medium”.

“The significant investments made in the area to date provide a major improvement in out of home audience data over what was available before and a great step towards any industry system developed in the future,” he says.

But he does add that investment in the various systems will impact how suppliers are compared.

Fenton also acknowledges advertisers would like the clarity of a single source of data insight, and expects at some point QMS’ investment will be part of a consideration set for how the industry moved forward in a collaborative manner.

He does, however, point out that OOH isn’t unique in the media sector for its multi-company measurement approach and says to date, there’s little evidence that the sector is being held back by a lack of a single source of data insight.

For now, Fenton says QMS is focused on ensuring that whatever measurement and insight it creates will add value to the outdoor sector and position the medium for further growth.

Onsley also points out the impact on suppliers is that each offering isn’t like for like, but is confident in VMO’s custom DART 2.0 measurement system. She says it fits its 8500 screens, and growing, in Australia and New Zealand across different environments.

“The challenge to marketers and media is to understand what meaningful insights the measurement system is able to offer their brand,” Onsley says.

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