Association rolls out tempting stats on OOH impact

Out-of-home agency execs consider stats that show women 'see' more than men, Internet tops TV in exposure time, and OOH ads, more often that not, tend to get a second look

The Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada (OMAC) is releasing new research showcasing the power of the medium during OOH Day events across the country this month. The new stats are based on OMAC’s study, A Day in the Life of Urban Canadians, which surveyed 2,590 people over the age of 12 in Canadian CMA markets with help from Toronto-based marketing research firm TSN Canadian Facts. The OOH Day also showcases successful OOH campaigns and results from an on-the-road eye-tracking study by Toronto-based Visiontrack that quantifies how drivers and passengers react to the ads passing by outside.

According to OMAC’s study averages, urban Canadians spend 9.3 hours out-of-home on weekdays and 6.2 hours on weekends, with exposure to OOH advertising for 3.8 hours on weekdays and 4.7 hours on weekends. Internet exposure came close to those marks on weekdays, at 3.6 hours, but fell far below on weekends, at 2.5 hours. Television hit the same level exposure for weekdays, at 3.8 hours, and fell slightly to 3.1 hours on weekends. Radio hit a high of 2.2 hours on the average weekday and fell to 1.2 hours on weekends. Newspapers stayed consistent at 5.5 hours on both weekdays and weekends, while magazines took the lowest exposure numbers, hitting less than half an hour in both categories.

On the impact of OOH advertising, the study found the following results in respondents, based on a three-month period: 30% visited a website after seeing it promoted; 25% visited a store after seeing it (or its products) promoted; 17% sought more information or bought a product; 17% attended an event; 18% became interested in a new brand, 14% visited a specific restaurant; and 4% sent a text message.

Another highlight of OMAC’s cross-country presentations is the result of studies conducted last year by Visiontrack on how drivers and passengers view OOH ads. The results are being touted for being more accurate than previous results from Europe and the U.S. because Visiontrack tested 27 drivers and passengers in real driving situations, rather than simulations. On specifically-designed routes in Ottawa and Montreal, participants (who did not know they were participating in a study specific to advertising) were outfitted with a headband-like video recorder that tracked eye movement for later analysis. For participants to ‘see’ an ad, their eye had to rest in a state of fixation on it for at least 200 milliseconds. The average study route saw participants on the road for an hour to an hour and a half, with exposure to a possible 535 outdoor impressions (with 36 outdoor units marked for specific analysis). At the end of each ride, questionnaires were filled out. In total, 2,010 minutes of eye-tracking video were analysed.

According to the Visiontrack study, 53% of the OOH ads were seen on the first pass. On average, participants looked at each ad twice. Women were more likely to see the ads (at 57%) than men (53%). Passengers saw the ads 73% of the time, while drivers saw them 52% of the time, but drivers looked at each ad more often (2.1 times) than passengers (1.9 times).

‘This really is a first in the world,’ says Michele Erskine, CBS Outdoor director of marketing, who presented the data in Toronto with Pattison Outdoor VP of business development Mary Falbo. CBS, Pattison and Astral Media Outdoor commissioned the study from Visiontrack. ‘This is going to have a huge impact on the design of outdoor creative.’

OMAC formed in 2005 as a joint effort by Astral Media Outdoor, CBS Outdoor, NEWAD, Pattison Outdoor, and Zoom Media to promote the medium and pump up its share of ad dollars. The cross-country OOH Days campaign was launched on Oct. 5 in Montreal, followed by an Oct 17 presentation in Toronto. Other presentations were scheduled for Calgary (Oct. 18) and Vancouver (Oct. 19).