Mobile and online marketing are not the only segments where deciphering audience location and predicting their movement matters. Nonprofit organization Geopath, previously known as the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, today announced it will use software from Citilabs to power an audience location measurement solution for out-of-home advertisers.
This category of ad media includes signage such as billboards along highways, advertisements on the exterior of buses and on top of taxis, signs inside subways, kiosks in malls and on the street, and ads in waiting rooms. Out-of-home ads can be digital as well as print signs, and are put in places expected to get the highest visibility with the public when they move about.
Tracking and understanding the reach of this type of marketing has been Geopath’s bread-and-butter since its formation in 1933. In the digital age, where targeted ads can be sent to consumers’ devices, the out-of-home ad market might be construed by some as a bit behind the times. However, this type of media gets directly in front of the public while they are on the go, especially in cities such as New York where signage and kiosks can be found almost anywhere.
Scott Fiaschetti, Geopath’s senior vice president of strategy and development, says with the rebranding last year the organization has been evolving. Geopath is heavily invested in geospatial sciences and making sense of data, and now the organization is accessing audience location information from mobile sources.
Out-of-home marketing, Fiaschetti says, can be local yet also have national scope. Such campaigns obviously hit the street level, but can be seeded across country by marketers. Knowing where consumers are going and how often they cross paths with these ads can better frame the effectiveness of this media. “That’s what the power of this data,” he says. “It will help us better understand reach.” Over the next 12 to 15 months, Geopath plans to develop tools with solutions from Citilabs, he says, with features and aspects to be rolled out to the organization’s members.
The collaborative move, Fiaschetti says, uses anonymous aggregated data from the Streetlytics software product, developed by Citilabs. This intel is gathered from mobile devices, connected cars, and GPS to figure out where consumers are heading, regardless of how they travel. Using Streetlytics is expected to provide Geopath a new understanding of traffic and movement patterns for the out-of-home advertising industry.
Fiaschetti says this move, and the changes within Geopath, reflect the granularity of the data available now that can be leveraged to better understand audience impressions and audience location. “It’s a real strategic shift for the industry to have this type of information to understand audience,” he says.
The level of detail on audience reach and movement that can now be accessed, Fiaschetti says, puts the industry on closer footing with the kind of tracking that has been available to digital, mobile marketers. With more data sources, Geopath is not beholden to any one outlet for figuring out how effective out-of-home ads are. “It helps our advertisers and agency partners better optimize their planning, and assess campaign performance and deliver the most impactful messages,” he says.
Using such data and Streetlytics should help out-of-home marketers understand and target consumers in comparable ways to other media such as Facebook, Fiaschetti says. Geopath expects this will reveal demographics on who inventory reaches and offer the sector more ways to demonstrate its effectiveness. “It is a leap forward for the industry and gives it a seat at the table alongside other channels,” he says.
Joao-Pierre Ruth is a Street Fight contributor.