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New Measurement System Offers Audience Data To Advertisers

An integrated audience measurement system, the first of its kind able to report real commercial data on the number of people likely to see a given ad, has been developed by the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB).

The new system, being implemented in phases, will provide comprehensive measures of both pedestrian and vehicular audiences with a complete rollout scheduled by third quarter 2008.

Despite being the oldest form of media, outdoor is changing with the times, and is one of only two media (the other being the Internet) currently exhibiting growth at a time when questions are being raised about the measurement of audience delivery in other media.

Until now, researchers have been limited to reporting on a person's opportunity to see a certain ad, but this latest approach employs visibility, or “eyes on,” tracking to give advertisers a much more accurate assessment.

It may assess how many people are likely to see their message, be it driving by a giant billboard or walking past a transit shelter. The system will also report on audience demographics for outdoor advertising in over 200 markets.

“This is a change we have actively been working on for some time,” said TAB President & CEO Joe Philport. “We sprang into action amidst concerns that existing outdoor measurement methods needed upgrading to keep pace with the demand for greater accountability. We are surpassing all other media...with a comprehensive system that provides a solid foundation for future measurement.”

As part of the first phase that is now under way, the TAB has contracted with MediaMark Research (MRI) to initiate 4,200 detailed travel surveys in five markets—Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas and San Francisco—using face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews.

MRI will also conduct nearly 50,000 surveys to collect information about general travel patterns in a total of 15 markets. These high-quality techniques will be used to gather comprehensive trip information, including routes taken, mode of transportation, and purpose of each trip. This study will also incorporate a viable approach to measurement of pedestrian audiences.

Following a competitive search process that included proposals from several leading companies from around the world, MRI, Telmar, GfK Custom Research, and Transearch were among those selected to work with the TAB on this project.

MRI will design and execute the travel surveys, while GfK Custom Research North America will conduct the research, Telmar will provide modeling and analytic expertise, and Transearch will be responsible for conducting the pedestrian component of the study.