We’ve come sooo far

1st December 2023

They say that the best way to experience life is to travel and this year I have realised that the best way to gain the most knowledge about OOH is also to travel.   Sitting in my motel room in Eugene Oregon, USA whilst I write this article, I have come to the realisation that whether in Prague, Lisbon or Eugene, OOH offers exactly the same unique properties around the world.   Media Owners and advertisers alike are all out there trying to sell a product or service to whoever takes notice.

Perhaps that’s the common demoninator – “notice” – the largest of large billboards or the digital faces advertising a hotel room, they are all fighting for awareness and impact in the eyes of the consumer.

What I have however also realised is that I am probably the most aware consumer when it comes to OOH.  I take notice of every billboard, small, large, static or digital, because I want to understand why it’s positioned where it is, which advertisers are using the space, what they are advertising and most importantly will people notice the billboard.  Generalising audience awareness and reach is impossible and there is absolutely no way that one can assume who is travelling in a car or a bus and if they have even glanced in the direction of the billboard.   The key however is that if you are in the market for a product, you will notice every small sign, every logo, every advertising message, and anything remotely related to whatever it is you are considering buying or looking for.

In reviewing any media research, TV, Print, Radio and even OOH, every brand manager wants to know the potential audience to be reached.   I have to play devil’s advocate here though – why do you want to know a potential audience when you actually want to know the probable audience?   Wouldn’t you rather know the smaller number of audience who will notice and react to your message than the wider audience who will perhaps just see your advertising message?  The difference will be those that purchase your product, eat, drink or choose to spend the night in your motel.

The motel I am staying in is right next to a main route highway. On average they run on a 70% occupancy level Monday – Thursday and a 100% occupancy level Friday – Sunday.  They are part of a franchise group with another motel situated 8 kms up the road.   Who are their target market?   It’s a no brainer, any traveller who needs a bed for a night (or a South African who has a tight budget and needs a bed for a couple of nights!)    How do they advertise?    Online of course, but they also have this really simple billboard outside.   A large portion of their clientele are travellers who just stop in because they have seen the sign.

The other motel is also located on a highway however is 3 times larger in terms of bed numbers and they are rarely 100% full. There is also more advertising clutter around that motel as it is close to a retail strip mall and fast-food outlets.   This information has been shared by the owners of the motel so I am not divulging confidential information here.

The above proves my point really well.    This motel has less clutter and has higher visibility in a non cluttered environment.    Their occupancy levels are much higher than their sister motel up the road because it is easier to notice them from the road.   Their probable reach is also higher in that the travellers have unobstructed views of the billboard.   If I was able to get audience figures for this billboard, I have no doubt too that the VAC (visibility adjusted contact) would be smaller than the other motel, BUT the probable audience is more realistic and results in a much better ROI for marketing analysis.

All other media types in South Africa continue to aspire to getting to the point where we in OOH find ourselves – wanting to get to attention based audiences and not just generalised opportunities to reach.

We, as the OMC and our members, have caused waves in the industry with our new currency, however we embrace our change 100% and we love being the forerunners in the VAC offering. 

VACs give an advertiser a much better advantage when it comes to ensuring filling inventory and reaching objectives.   Why wouldn’t you want to run a full motel all the time?   Why wouldn’t you want to know what your probable audience is?

Believing in our currency will ensure that your media reporting is one step closer to being comparable with the rest of the world. Our move to PROBABLE audience figures for OOH bringing marketers and direct advertisers much closer to understanding how many people they are reaching rather than the POSSIBLE audiences offered by other media types.  The latter, yes, the possible audience figures of OTS (opportunities to see) and OTH (opportunities to hear) is the, dare I say, old media metric reporting platform and who wants to be old in this day and age?  Don’t get left behind when you’re planning any OOH exposure.   Our members, of which there are now 44, all have VAC information for their inventory.

The Inventory Delivery System software is available free of charge to all media agencies and clients.   Please contact me on trish@omcsa.org.za for more details.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top