Outdoor measurement disaster

A crucial failing of the South African Advertising Research Foundation has left the out-of-home advertising industry seriously disadvantaged. Ken  Varejes, CEO of Primedia Unlimited, discusses the consequences.

Without accurate measurement, advertising is useless, he writes. You need to know in advance how many of your target market you are likely to find geographically, by interest or by media consumption. For example, how many BMW owners live in Sandton and play golf? That’s valuable information.

Advertisers, strategists, planners and marketers want proof of advertising effectiveness, which makes accurate measurement that much more important. Take the shopping mall space and washroom environments for example, foot counters offer indisputable numbers for foot traffic and till slips provide black and white proof of an out of home (OOH), or in-mall campaign closing the sale. Out-of-home is also loosely referred to as outdoor advertising.

OOH Wi-fi hotspots allow for measurable returns which can be pinpointed to time and place and independent research backs up all aspects of spontaneous and prompted recall of any advertising message.

According to Adex, the total advertising out of home spend is 4.6% — but that figure is far from accurate when taking into account that this number does not include sales figures from every OOH company out there. When all OOH companies’ spend is considered, the actual number is 11.8%. That’s a fair chunk of ad spend, around R2.4 billion not accounted for. The real number in Adex terms is over R4 billion.

The fact is that we just haven’t had the opportunity to compare apples with apples when it comes to just how much of the total ad spend goes to the OOH sector, and seemingly there has been little action on Adex’s part to get it right.

Also important to note is that OHMSA have incorrectly supplied their adspend figures from rate cards net of agency commission whereas media types like TV, radio and print supply their figures inclusive of agency commission.

OHMSA should have ensured that the comparisons were correct just for the OOH companies that are supplying the numbers to Adex and that are members of their association (which the vast majority of OOH spend is not). So where to from here?

As the largest grouping of OOH companies, we know the importance of this media type. No matter where you reside or work, at some stage in your day you will experience an OOH zone (an O-Zone).

So in reality, there is no doubt that we need some reporting commonality in the OOH space to ensure that this environment gets its fair share of spend allocated and a body that can ensure that we have a strong marketing arm to counter the spend into traditional media.

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About Tony

Tony Koenderman is a seasoned journalist who has spent the last 28 years concentrating on writing about marketing and advertising. He is associate editor of Finweek, to which he contributes a weekly section on the marketing business. He is also editor and co-publisher of Tony Koenderman’s AdReview, an annual review of the current conditions and state of advertising and marketing in South Africa.

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