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New out-of-home research model launched for South Africa

Ask Afrika and Spanish out-of-home research company, Cuende Infometrics, have released a new out-of-home research model as a pilot, with an industry launch planned for 2015.
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Described as an OOH research model that is not only cost effective, but one of the most advanced methodologies globally, it makes space for an annual audit of the methodology and data to ensure a fair and unbiased currency. The current drive is for industry buy in and endorsement of the methodology and resultant currency research.

Lyn Jones from Continental Outdoor Media and Terry Murphy from Primedia Outdoor were mandated by the OOH industry to build the OOH JIC and to find a research model and providers that would increase OOH's advertising market share and allow it to compete with other media on an equal footing.

The OOH currency had to deliver reach, frequency, GRPs, duplication factors, impacts and cost per thousand (CPT). The research needed to be comparable to other media and provide an OOH rating with audience figures per OOH site per day, replacing traffic counts. It had to allow for the building and evaluation of networks and be linked into branded data to facilitate sale to advertisers for subscribing clients.

Improving South African research

The OOH industry in South Africa has never really had viable research at its disposal. Through the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF), it had a few survey questions about OOH that were attached to the All Media Products Survey (AMPS). The new research will reportedly give media owners accurate audience measurement and provide media strategists with an insightful and user-friendly way to plan OOH campaigns.

According to the ESOMAR global guidelines for OOH research, "The measurement of OOH audiences in most countries relies on a combination of survey data and mobility modelling to enable the audience for all panels to be estimated sufficiently accurately for the market to operate, whilst keeping the cost of measurement to an acceptable level."

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Ask Afrika will provide the demographics (including brand awareness and media consumption), a commuter and pedestrian profile from the its travel survey, informing the traffic model. Cuende will provide traffic flow data from GPS services (independent and installed navigation systems such as TomTom and Garmin and apps on iPhone and Android devices such as Google Maps).

"Media owners will load their inventories and panels onto a map and a visibility zone of each site will be defined. At present, it only measures fixed outdoor features such as billboards, but other OOH media will be added in future. Contacts with each panel will be modelled and frequency and reach calculated. Audience and panel network metrics will be available and users can experiment with potential panel and network sites so that they can see exactly what will give them the best impact, for specifically defined target markets," says Amelia Richards, Client Service Director at Ask Afrika.

"The research will be available through mapping software with which one can locate every single billboard, with orientation, audience estimation, GPS data, impact, profile and demographics. We calculate this on the fly, so one does not have to wait for three months for results. One can play with orientation and groupings of billboards, look at brand data and create a new offering very quickly," says Daniel Cuende, Innovation Manager of Cuende Infometrics.

Participating media owners will have access to a continuous live tracking system, a live trading currency, with exclusive access to the Ask Afrika travel survey data and OOH ratings in a single database, with target audience metrics per panel and per network. Media agencies will be provided with a standard demographic planning dataset; they will get a package plan with a panel-by-panel geographic information system (GIS) that is updated monthly.

"This is a major positive step for our industry as a whole. The reality is that little was achieved in this process over the last four years. We believe that the only way to get started is for the OOH media owners that can afford it put up the financial guarantees to start the process and then urge as many others as possible to join. We have made every effort to ensure this is a world class, unbiased, and fair piece of research," says Dave Roberts, CEO of Primedia Outdoor.

OOH media owners can select from a four-tiered funding model that is size and cost proportionate. This model makes the research accessible to big and small OOH players alike; each owner will be able to decide at which level it wishes to participate. The research will initially cover roadside OOH formats, however the structure of the research allows for the phased inclusion of commuter media, and thereafter the measurement of indoor OOH media for example malls, airports etc.
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