For out of home, time to measure up
In 2012, TAB outlined plans for new transit ratings
December 20, 2012
Out of home had another strong year in 2012. It appears to have fully recovered from the recession, and its growth rate remains one of the strongest of any traditional media.
But media people do have one big concern heading into 2013, and that is improved measurement for out of home.
It has always been an issue for media buyers and planners. Clients want to know how many people are seeing their ad messages, whether they are billboards, alternative media campaigns or posters at a local diner.
Though some strides have been made in this area over the past five years, most notably the 2009 rollout of the TAB Out of Home Ratings, then called Eyes On, the OOH metrics being delivered are well below what media people desire.
“I think the overall rationale and reasoning behind the TAB ratings are solid, but it needs improvement,” says the president of one out-of-home agency.
“It’s not there for every media form yet. From the buying side, when you’re doing an evaluation for a client, it might be there for the billboards and certain elements of transit, but it’s not there for malls, airports, etc.”
Movements are being made in that direction, but measurement systems require lengthy development periods. It took some five years for the TAB ratings to finally be released, and it’s reasonable to expect that other ratings will have similar timelines because of their complexity.
Indeed, TAB announced earlier this year that it is expanding its ratings to include buses, subways, commuter trains, bus and rail exteriors, station platforms and concourses, in response to requests from media buyers and planners.
The new ratings were tested for a year in four markets and a full rollout into the top 50 DMAs is slated for next year.
“We’re still a few years away from TAB ratings being used every day in every way, but I applaud their efforts,” says the agency president. “You have to start somewhere.”
The lack of measurement certainly hasn’t hurt OOH’s growth the past few years. Ad spending grew 4.3 percent in 2012, according to ZenithOptimedia, to $7.6 billion.
Next year spending will grow 5 percent, the agency predicts, to just under $8 billion, and by 2015 ad revenue will reach $8.8 billion.
Though OOH is still considered traditional media, new media elements are growing all the time. Most outdoor campaigns now have some sort of new media element, whether it’s including a hashtag on a billboard or a QR code on a transit ad.
Digital screens are rampant, whether on billboards, at gas stations or in doctor’s offices.
And while it still accounts for a small slice of out of home spending, alternative media campaigns are increasingly being sought out by clients who want to earn big buzz.
“We have a lot of marketing people moving quicker now. They’re part of a generational difference; they want to make a name for themselves and their new company or agency, and they want to do something cool and out of the box,” notes the agency president.
Tags: 2013, 2013 forecasts, 2103 ad trends, ad forecasts, ad spending, billboards, campaigns, media, media people, out of home, out of home advertising, out of home year end, people, ratings, tab, time, year end outdoor
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