What Traffic Congestion, Car Speeds Mean for Outdoor Ads
Are you likelier to pay attention to a billboard on the side of the road when you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic than if you’re driving at normal speed?
To better estimate how many people are actually looking at outdoor ads, the industry’s independent auditor, The Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement Inc., is releasing the first major revision to its out of home ratings system to include new data points such as traffic congestion and vehicle speed. As part of the new system, TAB will also for the first time measure individual spots on digital billboards as well as ads posted on buses and trains.
Rising competition from digital media has made it more important for traditional media to improve their audience measures, a point TAB CEO Joe Philport made in an interview.
“With mobile and digital, the need for accountability increases every day and the need to have numbers that align with the numbers that advertisers are using to assess other media increases,” Mr. Philport said.
Historically, the outdoor industry had relied on a metric known as “daily effective circulation,” which estimated the average number of people or cars that passed a billboard and were potentially exposed to its ad. TAB in 2010 released its own ratings system to more accurately estimate impressions, or how many people actually looked at an ad, an effort to help advertisers better gauge their return on investment on outdoor media.
The latest iteration of TAB’s out of home ratings incorporates traffic congestion data from big data company Inrix as well as additional eye-tracking field research that takes into account the amount of time it took to pass an ad and the amount of time the consumer was in contact with an ad to measure whether the ad was noticed or not. This expands upon the variety of data that TAB already employs in its metrics, including traffic volumes from transit authorities and research from earlier eye-tracking studies that assessed how an ad’s size and distance from the road affected the likelihood it would be seen.
“Out of home is still a relatively small medium and it presents measurement challenges because the inventory is dispersed,” Mr. Philport said. He noted that the outdoor category includes many different formats that require different types of measurement techniques.
The enhancements to TAB’s out of home ratings systems are meant to address ad movement, such as ads that rotate on digital billboards or move through other markets on buses. A digital billboard typically rotates between six and 10 ads at a time and those ads can be on screen for varying levels of time. TAB previously measured digital billboards as if the ad was static, but will now report ratings for each spot in rotation.
To measure transit ads – which include ads on the exterior of buses, on the interior of trains and at transit stations – TAB also incorporated traffic information around a bus’s route and counts of passengers and commuters on public transportation.
Outdoor’s “true potential has yet to be realized by many advertisers, they’re still thinking of it using an old paradigm of out of home instead of a contemporary one,” Mr. Philport said. One major selling point for billboards and other outdoor media is the ability to hyper-localize ads.
The outdoor advertising industry has posted single-digit growth rates in recent years – a contrast to the struggles of print advertising and other traditional media. Interpublic Group’s research and ad buying unit Magna Global projects outdoor advertising revenue to increase 4% this year, a rate similar to last year’s. Magna Global expects out-of-home media to maintain its 7% market share in the next five years.
Digital formats are an important part of the outdoor industry’s steady growth. Digital formats made up 10% of out of home revenues, including cinema, last year and Magna Global expects digital’s share of outdoor advertising to rise to 22% by 2019.
Vendor Platform Updates
Search by TAB ID
When building a proposal within ADstruc, and selecting “Add Existing Inventory,” you can now search by TAB ID in addition to searching by Unit ID. This way, if there’s ever a discrepancy in the way a unit is labeled, you can revert to using its independent TAB ID.
No longer are photos cropped when uploaded to display your units. Now your photos will be seen precisely as you intend, in the exact same format as the file you upload.
Simplified Media Grid categories
You’ll now notice an improved layout within ADstruc’s Media Grid. Changes have been made to better reflect the way vendors represent their media. For instance, the “Title” column has been relabeled “Location Description” and “Description” has been changed to “Description/Rationale,” and is no longer a required field.
ADstruc feature reminders
Did you know that ADstruc maps all units with lat/long coordinates so buyers see their exact location? Or that ADstruc’s TAB integration means impression data is automatically available for all audited units? Using ADstruc means never having to input this information manually into your proposals again!
If you want to know more about the new features — or have questions about ADstruc in general — please don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team by writing to email@example.com.
Our New Platform Updates Help You Build Smarter Media Plans
Market TRPs Summary
For TAB members, our TAB OOH Ratings integration ensures your outdoor campaigns target the right demographic. Our Market Summary pane now includes a market-by-market breakdown of your average weekly TRPs so you understand how effectively you’re reaching the folks buying your clients’ products and services.
CPM Data Now Available
Data enables you to make smarter buying decisions, and we’re committed to giving you what you need to build and execute a winning media plan. All TAB-audited media in ADstruc will now be accompanied by a CPM calculation to help you understand whether any given unit is a wise use of your client’s ad budget.
TAB Integration and Place-Based / DOOH Support
At ADstruc, we believe that software should support you. Today we’re announcing two upcoming changes to our advertiser and agency planning tools.
Back by popular demand, Group Select enables you to “like” and “hide” multiple units without clicking on individual checkboxes. It’s another victory in our war against carpal tunnel!
Traffic Audit Bureau Integration
Surprise! We integrated the TAB’s official OOH Ratings into ADstruc.
Starting next week, agencies will be able to target CBSAs & DMAs along with up to date OOH Ratings. TAB member agencies will also gain access to TRP, GRP, reach, frequency, and cost per point calculations. Direct brands will retain city targeting & zip code layers.
Place-Based Media and Digital OOH
Out of Home is more than just billboards and so we’re rebuilding our tools to better support Placed Based and DOOH media. We’re currently testing it out with operators, but email support to setup a hands-on preview!
Got 10 minutes to spend with us? We’d love to give you a demo of all our new features. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call your account manager at 347.881.3622 to schedule a one-on-one webinar.
How to Build Better Technology for OOH
Innovation and Efficiencies in the OOH industry
It is no secret that the OOH industry can benefit vastly from innovation, but it is important to define exactly what kind of innovation will deliver the best results. Recent ADstruc blog posts discussed the good and bad of utilizing external innovation technologies like QR codes and NFC. However, our post today, and ADstruc’s main focus, is on driving innovation from within the OOH industry. We believe that smart technology built by people solely focused on the OOH industry can best address the inefficiencies which exist in the industry today.
Communication and workflow are the two primary areas where innovation through technology can most benefit the OOH industry. First, technology improvements to the various channels of communication used by OOH buyers and sellers will enable everyone involved to conduct their business more efficiently. Secondly, the workflow behind the process of buying and selling outdoor advertising needs to be streamlined with the help of technology solutions.
At ADstruc, we built a company that consistently creates innovative and game-changing technology products for the OOH industry. We were the first to actually listen to the entire industry about its needs, rather than just trying to sell to the industry a product built on assumptions. We were the first to focus on educating the industry about technology solutions, rather than just trying to disrupt the industry with technology. By focusing on efficiencies the industry is asking for, we were the first to create a patent pending RFP automation system. Today, local and national operators, local and national businesses, and media planning/buying agencies throughout the country utilize our products because they were built as a solution to the issues the OOH industry asked to be solved.
Ideate. Develop. Deliver.
It is with our years of experience in building software and with outdoor advertising that we are able to consistently ideate, develop, and deliver quality products for the OOH industry. Our development process does not happen in a closed room. It has always been a transparent process with the entire industry, which enables us to gain insights from all stakeholders and rigorously test our products across large and small companies. This process enables us to deliver a comprehensive solution for both large and small buyers and sellers.
Innovation Cannot be Outsourced
Technology innovation for the OOH industry must come from within the industry. It cannot be outsourced. Engineers have to be passionate about the products they are building and even more passionate about the problems they are solving. Passion for building OOH products and solving OOH problems is rooted in OOH industry experience. ADstruc engineers are not just good; they are great! This is because not only are they some of the best engineers in the highly talented NYC developer community, but also because they eat, sleep and breathe outdoor advertising. ADstruc’s engineers attend client meetings with the business team; share and test products with our clients at every stage in the development process; and, most importantly, build relationships with our clients that facilitate seamless communication. Building the best OOH advertising products is their one and only job. They aren’t also working for other companies in other industries. They start and end every day with outdoor advertising.
Our team is our greatest asset and explains how we have been able to create such an innovative company within the OOH industry. However, that’s just part of it. Here is a brief overview of other key components to building innovation from within the OOH industry:
- Gaining first-hand knowledge of the domain by working in it.
- Making technology development a core competency and never outsourcing your core competencies.
- Hiring the best talent and challenging them constantly.
- Listening to advertisers, agencies, and operators so that you can incorporate their feedback into every product.
To paraphrase Steve Jobs, “innovation is what distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. We take pride in the fact that many companies have taken “inspiration” from our products, but have not been able to keep up with their evolution. Our products continuously evolve as the industry’s understanding of what it needs and how to get it evolves. Our product roadmap is thoughtfully planned out, yet flexible enough to support change.
Some of our competitors committed a cardinal business sin. They outsourced what should be their core competency – technology development. We experienced the problems associated with outsourcing technology development first hand 5 years ago when we started developing the idea behind ADstruc and outsourced the original product. It took 18 painstakingly long months to get our idea even looking like a product, and each iteration, each idea, each “move that button over there” took too long and was too expensive. It was a constant battle. New ideas drown as your outsourced tech team can’t move at the speed and evolution of those ideas and business needs. They will never sync. Development shops do not understand the challenges that the OOH industry face and have no long-term incentive to create quality products. Further, for an industry that has not been a great adopter of new technology in the past, one cannot hope to create the right product in the first iteration. A process of continual technological innovation needs to be followed in order to create a product that addresses all of the major and minor needs of the industry.
Being open to new ways of operating is the first big step. If, as an industry, we continue to focus on what we are good at, while understanding where we can improve, then we can become better at what we all do together. Creative agencies are good at creative. Media planning agencies are good at media planning. Media buying agencies are good at media buying. Technology companies are good at building technology. When we all work together, we learn together, and thereby drive innovation across the entire industry, together.
A New Look for Out of Home
Hello from the OAAA conference in Miami! ADstruc is live at booth #22, and there is big news in the air: The OAAA just launched a new repositioning campaign encouraging advertisers to take another look at Out of Home:
Advertising is constantly changing. With new platforms, converging technology, and increasing audience fragmentation, advertisers today are looking for innovative ways to engage and interact with consumers.
In response, out of home advertising has been changing, too. Today’s OOH offers new technologies, new formats, and more creative thinking to help advertisers take their message further. — OAAA brandbook
Congratulations to all the OAAA committees and contributors who worked on this project. Committing to innovation is an important step for the industry, and we’re excited to be part of it. We’ll be posting our full reaction and analysis later this week, but right now we have to get back to our booth!