The most important thing to Out-of-Home advertising is none other than the audience as well as environment. Basically, a poster’s greatest asset includes the location which is the environment and the audience it delivers to the advertiser or the brand. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the acclaimed hardest working medium of our time to be concerned about the environment and audience.
Out-of Home advertising environment can be categorized under these three major headings; Roadside, transit and destination. These environments help the medium to deliver such audience as drivers and pedestrians, travelers and frequent flyers and shoppers, students and fun lovers.
Obviously, the responsibility of caring for the environment cannot be over emphasized for outdoor media owners. The roadside with various formats of billboards needs to be kept neat and tidy. Landscaping of the immediate surroundings of any billboard is an essential salesmanship for any visionary outdoor media owner as such helps to draw attention of the target audience to the poster. It is pertinent to appreciate the financial commitment expected from outdoor media owners ranging from landlord’s rent, permit fee, concession royalty and other statutory taxes. The roadside billboard serves as canvass on the street and adds to the aesthetics of the environment with its ubiquitous nature.
Permitting the use of various formats that can be erected on setbacks, within fence of any property; the roadside marks the origin of posters. Little wonder why many state government in Nigeria seeks to regulate outdoor advertising as oppose to the allowing it remain with the local government according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Apparently, above the commitment to the environment is a higher one to the audience. As much as the former is a means to the later, it is important to keep the focus on the audience. Perhaps, one would not be wrong to conclude that there had been less attention given to the out-of-home media audience in our part of the world. We simply run on assumption about the audience of the medium by relying on the environment or better put, the location. It is good enough to know that a good location provides an environmental platform to showcase advertisement but much is required to account for the audience to be delivered or being delivered.
More often than not, we pay lips service to this critical area of the out-of-home business. Our counterpart in the western world knows how powerful it is to be committed to the audience. As such, they focus more on the audience not necessarily above the environment because the two are actually inseparable. They have continually dedicated efforts to out-of-home media audience measurement systems. Different markets have come up with various audience measurement technologies to provide the needed justification for outdoor advertising within such markets.
Movement of Outdoor Visibility and Exposure (MOVE) was launched in Australia covering all major formats included in one system including transit, indoor retail and airports while Canada launched Navigator Indoor and Outdoor through the Canadian Out-of-Home Measurement Bureau (COMB) covering third-party audited Out-of-Home circulations and reach-frequency model based on multiple “opportunity-to-see” factors. Indoor networks employ site specific empirical model.
The United Kingdom launched Poster Audience Research (Poster) under Postar covering 10,000 GPS sample, visibility adjustment to include movement & illumination measures  and United States of America launched Eyes On via Traffic Audit Bureau for media measurement (TAB) looking into board by board Eyes On Impressions, R&F in 200 markets, 1000+ demographics and video simulation eyes on adjustment.
South Africa is leading the pack in Africa with the launch of Out-of-Home Media Survey (OHMS) by South Africa Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) with the GPS Tracking (Nielsen NPod) based. Do I hear someone asking, “What are we doing in Nigeria?”
My candid response is simply that our market has so far placed little value to the audience of Outdoor advertising. The outdoor media owner is ignorantly satisfied with the rate card while the advertiser has refused to demand for audience measurement perhaps for fear of paying more for the hardest working medium that remains under priced in our market. It is not surprising that global brands like Procter & Gamble would not patronize or use outdoor advertising in Nigeria. Your guess is as good as mine, yet we can only keenly wait for the birth of audience measurement movement in Nigeria.
By BABS Fagade
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