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SAARF goes outdoors in 2006

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) has undertaken an electronic outdoor media survey. The first results will be released in SAARF AMPS 2006. Chief Technical Officer Piet Smit discusses the motivation for an electronic outdoor survey and its advantages.

Aiming to bring outdoor advertising measurement on a par with television, a South African pilot project was run with Nielsen Media Research in 2002 using a 'car meter'. The success of this project led to the launch of electronic outdoor measurement by SAARF as part of AMPS 2006.

Smit says the project will roll out to achieve national coverage over three years: "For the first year, the project will run in Gauteng and KwaZulu/Natal while the other provinces will be covered in 2007 and in 2008. The sample size for next year will be 2 230 respondents, 1 972 in urban areas and 258 in rural areas."

Respondents will be required to carry a tracking device called the Npod (Nielsen Personal Outdoor Device), which was developed from the initial 'car meter'. The Npod communicates with satellites and if three satellites can identify simultaneously, the global position of the Npod can be determined within 50cm.

Using an Npod, SAARF will be able to track the exact movements of these respondents and when overlaying this with a Geographic Information System (GIS) map showing the position of outdoor sites, it will be possible to identify which sites each respondent has passed. For the first time this will give media owners, advertising agencies and advertisers data that can be used for campaign planning.

GPS technology is also used by SAARF for sampling in rural areas for SAARF AMPS and will in future be used to extend the SAARF TAMS into rural areas.

Once collated, the data will be loaded onto the computer bureaux, Telmar and IMS to provide media planning software. The new method determines the reach and frequency of each site by demographics.

Smit says: "Estimates of reach and frequency, gross rating points (GRPs) and cost per thousand will be on a par with TV as measured by the peoplemeters."

The introduction of this electronic outdoor survey allows for comparison with other media reach and frequency estimates. The survey will create a sales prospecting tool to generate outdoor's rightful share of media spend.

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