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With change comes more refined results

By Trish Guilford, General Manager OMC (Out of Home Measurement Council)

With change comes uncertainty and we all know that nobody likes nor adapts to change all that easily. The OMCs change to a new partner and new software is one that will no doubt get even the most doubtful of people excited.

With new fused data covering 2017 through to 2022, boasting a sample of over 55 000 different individuals means a greater number of trips and a greater spider web of journeys, what is there not to look forward to?

Let us start off with explaining the easier changes that we have implemented in our Travel Survey.

Improvements to our Travel Survey

Ask Afrika (AA) remains our research data collection partner conducting interviews to capture the diverse mobility habits of South Africans. Historically they have conducted two waves of 7 500 interviews each year to give us the unique travel behaviour of 15 000 individuals over a 7-day period. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we only interviewed just over 2 700 people before we were slammed into hard lockdown in 2020.

To be fair to all parties, it would have been irresponsible to continue our interviews until such time as it was safe to do so.  Whilst we had this down time, Ask Afrika, Kuper Research and the OMC commenced work on an online questionnaire for our Travel Survey for a portion of the sample. Understanding that it has become extremely difficult to get into gated communities and other high-end areas, it was imperative that we found a workable solution.

After testing and piloting the questionnaire and making numerous tweaks to make it as easy and uncomplicated as possible, we finally had a workable first rendition to put into field.  At the end of January 2022, it was considered safe to resume with face-to-face interviews and we were back in field. We included 750 online interviews into the sample to be conducted in the more difficult to access areas and the response was more than pleasing.

The quality of reporting was incredibly detailed and accurate. Dr Ariane Neethling, Professional Statistical consultant & Sampling specialist, worked with AA in assuring that the sampling and results of the online portion met the accuracy and quality required for the Travel Survey.

By the end of May, Ask Afrika had completed our face to face and online interviews.  The results of 2020 and 2022 have now been added to the last 3-year fused set of data to give us our largest sample to date.

Going forward MGEDATA has introduced us to its trip tracking device and software, which will allow us to capture even better and more accurate trip information at the time of the interview. Ask Afrika is in discussions with MGEDATA and we are investigating how we can incorporate these devices into the fieldwork for our next Travel Survey.

Our new look software and data

Reviewing our new look data and software, we assure you it is leaps and bounds from where we were.  The software, being Windows based, is quicker to work with but more importantly has more bells and whistles that will make users look incredibly clever. For instance, the software has over 1 500 points of interest already loaded!   Do you have a client that wants to be within a 500m zone of every Checkers?  Of pharmacies or hospitals? Or perhaps not within 2kms of schools?  No problem!  You will be able to plan with these parameters in your set up.

But here is where the big change comes in.  The industry is used to planning OOH with the standard media metrics of reach, impacts, CPT, GRPs and of course OTS (opportunities to see)

Following the international audience measurement guidelines for out of home, which were presented at the World Out of Home (WOO) conference in Canada in May this year, attention-based audiences is what the world is moving to.  Our new software takes this into account so we are definitely following the pack.

Before we explain this, we believe it is important to clarify the difference, or the similarities of Impacts and Impressions.  These two words are often interchanged across the board and the OMC believe it’s time to put a stake in the ground.

The definition of a media impression/ Impressions, broadly defined, are any interaction with a piece of content and an audience member. For example, when you drive past a billboard on a highway, that counts as an impression.

We all know too that digital media use impressions as their measurement and as we have digital billboards, going forward we will be using impressions and not impacts. So, having made this decision, how are these impressions worked out?

Historically we have always reported on OTS (opportunity to see) or ROTS (real opportunity to see).  An OTS translates to anybody who has any percentage of viewability of the panel/face/TV commercial/print ad is counted as a contact.  We can then take this down to ROTS. ROTS, from an out of home perspective, equates to anybody that passes within the cone of visibility that the billboard face size creates, and is facing in the correct direction, will be counted as a contact. Last but not least, although the most accurate and therefore the narrowest are VACs  – Visibility Adjusted Contacts.

VACS not only take into account that the audience must be at the right angle to see the face, it also takes into account a variety of relevant variables to calculate the highest probability that the billboard will be seen, these include the speed that the contact would be traveling at, as well as the dwell time in front of the billboard face, the height of the panel, whether it is illuminated or not, road capacity and so on.  VACs therefore provide the most accurate probable impacts and we are happy to confirm that we shall be utilising VACs for OOH going forward.

As always, we look forward to sharing the impacts of the above changes and more in the not too distant future.

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