Coming Down The Tracks

Back in 2016, when Route’s contract with Ipsos was renewed, it was agreed that we would evolve to improve a number of key elements of our measurement. The end goal was set to measure spot level ratings for digital out of home by the end of 2020.

We are starting to bear witness to some of these developments and they will start affecting the audience measurement data that we publish over the next few releases.

The result is that the data is going to:

– be even more accurate
– be more digitally sensitive
– be more reflective of seasonal patterns
– enable single frame analysis for OOH ads

Until these are all fully implemented, the audience data which users have been accustomed to, may experience a little more variance between releases than normal.

Below we set out a short reminder of the key developments that will impact on the Route audience numbers over the next 9 months.

  1. Upgrade of the Traffic Intensity Model.

The Traffic Intensity Model underpins the volumes of people and traffic moving around GB and hence those exposed to out of home advertising. It has undergone a revamp with refreshed data inputs including:

– New maps and geometry
– Creation of new smaller sub-links
– Inclusion of new speed data
– New vehicle and pedestrian counts

This has resulted in new road categorisations and led to more variety in average speeds being applied to the Route data. This in turn affects the time which people spend within visibility areas of ads and hence the realistic opportunity to see them, what you may call ‘exposure time’. This will directly affect campaign metrics. Beta testing indicates that this may have a positive effect on some audiences. All roadside, bus and taxi frames will be directly affected by this implementation which is scheduled for the R28 release in September.

  1. Introduction of new seasonality data

While a campaign currently planned on Route that is scheduled in January will have a different audience from the same one planned in July, this seasonality is driven by the hours of daylight per day and will not affect indoor frames. While this factor was developed using the best data available, it was not perfect. Subsequently more volumetric data has emerged. This enables the creation of a volume-based monthly seasonal factor which will be applied within the Route audience calculation. This will take into account different monthly traffic and pedestrian footfall patterns and should therefore help better represent audiences where there are notable seasonal uplifts – such as shopping centres in December, airports in August etc. This development is scheduled for inclusion from R28 in September.

  1. Introduction of single frame analysis and profiling

One of the most common frustrations with Route is that there is no defining rule as to the minimum number of frames which can be analysed robustly. This stems from the fact that different frames will have different levels of contacts with ads. The recommended ‘rule of thumb’ is to set the minimum campaign size to 100 frames, though it is acknowledged that in some instances smaller campaigns can work with confidence. However, in practice, single frame campaigns can and are being run, despite concerns about the statistical validity. This has been addressed through one of the main projects that Route and Ipsos have conducted. The work has been technical, it has been complicated and, pleasingly, it has been successful. The outcome is that from December (R29) we will be able to analyse and profile weekly impacts for all ads on a frame-by-frame basis.

  1. Evolution of digital campaign measurement

Also coming down the track is a revamp of how we measure digital campaigns (DOOH). Route currently provides a measure for DOOH. This is based on the share of time (%) for which a campaign is ‘on screen’ across a week. This approach was first devised for scrollers and then rolled out for digital frames. In this method it is assumed that each ad within the loop will receive the same ‘air time’ in proportion to the share of the loop. This does not currently account for the spot length and hence the frequency with which ads are played out. For example, an ad within a loop of 6 would be allocated a 17% share of voice. This would apply no matter whether the spots are 5 seconds long within a 30 second loop, or whether they are 30 seconds long within a three-minute loop. With the influx of digital inventory and the variety of creative options now available, this needs to be addressed. It’s vital that the currency more accurately reflects what the market offers. With this, our new method of measuring digital inventory is in the works. This will take into account different spot lengths and the length of the loop itself as well as the share of time each ad receives. The outcome will be an approach which is designed specifically with DOOH measurement in mind. This is still in development and is due for incorporation in the currency in R30 to be published in March 2019.

As you can see, the cogs continue turning behind the scenes here at Route HQ as we continue to strive forward towards our goal of delivering spot level ratings for out of home advertising by the end of 2020.

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