The past two years have been a period of massive transformation for the OMC. From our previous ROAD currency to our brand new audience data ROAD 2.0, with our new methodology and software partner MGE Data, the OMC have certainly hit the FAST FORWARD button. It is safe to say that the changes have been worth the stress and the long wait for both our members and the industry at large.
Having an industry measurement is significant to say the least but making a tremendous change in your partners after a mere seven years, plus compounded with the fact that this took place too just a short time after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, has been nothing short of remarkable. With the assistance of Kuper Research, the changeover has been monitored judiciously to ensure that every frame that was uploaded on the earlier software has been pulled across to the new MGE Data software systems, IMS (Inventory Management System) and IDS (Inventory Delivery System). Each and every frame had to be checked that it was uploaded, that it was correct, and every new result had to be scrutinised. The changeover has not been one where it is “more of the same”. In true research fashion, our new research is very different in that the new results are the product of far more sophisticated methodology layers than our previous data.
ROAD 2.0 offers the industry one of the first in the South African market with attention-based audience results. What does this mean to advertisers? We all know that not all media types offer the same environments, and they are certainly not equal either. By using high-quality, uncluttered, contextually-relevant environments and high-impact ad spaces, rather than a traditional reach-and-frequency approach, it is now possible to work out the potential attention which is achieved for campaigns that are running on roadside OOH billboards for a specific length of time with a specific budget. Attention can predict the audience’s brand choice a lot more effectively compared to the historical viewability data. This would be something that the advertiser could research utilising our ROAD 2.0 data.
It goes without saying that this is ground breaking in our industry and brings a whole new layer of understanding to our media research landscape and will hopefully assist media agencies and clients with obtaining more realistic ROI for their media spends.
Our move to our new partners MGE Data, will also assist media owners, agencies and clients with their DOOH and pDOOH planning. Our previous research did not include digital algorithms in the software but now, our new software does include these algorithms and, in addition, there are plans in the pipeline that there will be an add on opportunity to get specific data requirements for pDOOH planning. This will take out the always present human error concerns and will assist with digital multiplier standardisation for all members when dealing with the likes of Broadsign and Hivestack.
Whilst this all may sound like a lot of research jargon to confuse the industry, it certainly is a reflection of where we have moved from where we initially were proud to be able to offer the standard media metrics of reach, average frequency, opportunities to see (OTS), gross rating points (GRPs), cost per thousands (CPTs) and Impacts for specific OOH billboard faces or a specific campaign. As mentioned, our previous software calculated static and digital frames all as static frames and a manual excel spreadsheet was introduced to then calculate the digital results however not all elements were included in the this spreadsheet.
The following table shows results for a digital campaign over a ten week period against a specific target market based on the previous ROAD data and software.
Refer to Fig 1 below.
Black Males, aged 25+, LSM 8-10
Number of Panels and time period
11 digital panels for 10 weeks
10 404 186
With the incredible speed that OOH itself has moved and continues to move; it has been important for us to ensure that our research can keep up with the requirements of our members.
Our move to ROAD 2.0 would naturally bring with it changes to the currency to allow us to get the new Visibility Adjusted Contact data (VACs) which is more granular than the previous OTS. What does this mean and how does it play out? The industry is used to being quoted and getting OTS figures. This would be the largest potential impacts/impressions that your ad campaign would achieve, in this case on a billboard (which we refer to as a frame).
Each frame is plotted according to its co-ordinates and orientation to the road. The system automatically generates a ‘Cone of Visibility’, based on the maximum distance from which the frame is visible and the furthest angle from which it can be seen. Any permanent obstacles (such as buildings and the width of the street) are considered in re-sizing the Cone to a realistic one, within which the frame can be seen.
The step down from an OTS is a ROTS (Realistic Opportunity To See). ROTS take into account that not everybody passing a frame would be exposed to the creative campaign. This could be for a number of reasons. The angle of the face to the road, viewing obstructions or part obstructions, the direction of the vehicle/pedestrians etc. The ROTS therefore include those that are travelling within the Cone of Vision and are travelling in the direction of the frame.
The third step down are VACs and it is here that MGE Data factor in additional layers of data to get a much more accurate and realistic sense of who actually can view the frame. Within the VAC analysis, factors such as traffic speeds, dwell time in front of the frame, illumination, and frame height, are all taken into account as well as other layers of information to which MGE Data have access. A VAC provides the most accurate an estimate of the possible actual viewability of a panel and not just a number of people passing a frame.
Refer to Fig 2 below.
Each layer of information that is factored into the calculation adjusts and reduces the estimated number of contacts which ultimately provide us with the VACs that we use for our analyses. These are the most realistic Impacts/Impressions that the frame will actually deliver and are absolutely comparable with Digital/Online Impressions. The one great difference though, is that VACs are designed to provide an attention based metric which is not evident in digital/online impressions.
Fig 2: The progression from OTS to ROTS to VACs
Being able to present the most realistic Impact/Impressions that a frame or a package of frames would deliver is a huge jump for us and we are beyond happy with the outcome of ROAD 2.0.
We understand that these massive changes to our data now comes with its own unique set of challenges. Having to train our members and the industry on our new methodology, our new improved results and of course new software and terminology post Covid when people are working remotely and have moved provinces along with many other operational changes, has been interesting to say the least.
We have, to a certain extent, thrown 80% of the baby’s bath water out of the tub in that nobody can compare previous individual frame results with our new ROAD 2.0 results. It simply is just not advisable to compare frame by frame, or a package of frames, however for purposes of this article and for understanding of the changes, we have done a comparison. Whilst we have learnt that as soon as we advised people of this fact, the first thing that they have done is make comparisons on a frame by frame basis. Go figure – we are after all creatures of habit. We all hate change. We all want our frames that were achieving the highest audiences to continue to have these enormous, and may I say unrealistic audiences. We therefore have implored our members and the industry to not make comparisons but rather to embrace the new software and the new results and work with our more sophisticated data.
So how does our new ROAD 2.0 research with our new VACs look if we are saying that our VACs are so much more realistic? Well, quite simply, when looking at the same package as we did in figure 1 above, do these Impacts/Impressions now look more realistic to you taking into consideration that they are now based on a 5” ad in a 60” loop?
Refer to fig. 3 below.
Black Males, aged 25+, LSM 8-10
Number of Panels:
11 digital panels over 10 weeks
NB: Digital panels as 5” in a 60” loop
1 376 530
Source: ROAD 2.0
The OMC takes a number of leads from the international OOH members of the World Out of Home Organisation (WOO) and we ensure that our data is of the highest standard possible. The OMC and Kuper Research were part of the committee involved in the setting of the WOO Digital Guidelines during 2022 which were presented at the conference in Toronto.
The FAST FORWARD button has definitely been released. OOH is moving at a tremendously fast pace and the OMC has already embarked on our next journey where we are working on our next JIC. There are an additional five JICS that will be introduced over the foreseeable future and we will of course continue to make improvements to our ROAD 2.0 data.
About the Outdoor Measurement Council
The OMC (Out of Home Measurement Council) is a non-profit Joint Industry Committee that has been incorporated to provide buyers of Out of Home Media with a currency and survey that allows for efficient and accurate OOH planning. It produces consolidated, inclusive and representative research covering the key OOH formats, commencing with Static Roadside panels in South Africa including the panels from all