The global trend for digitalization affected all channels of communication with the consumer. It could not bypass the traditional channel, such as outdoor advertising. With all these new technologies coming up, there is a feeling that you can measure and evaluate the effectiveness of everything, but the "outdoor" space is still far from this level of transparency. To help you understand the existing solutions in the market of outdoor advertising Sostav.ru asked Roman Postnikov, CEO of oneFactor, which in 2016 introduced an innovative service for targeting and managing the placement of outdoor advertising. Today, the company's platform is also used to plan omnichannel campaigns throughout Russia.
- If a couple of years ago there was one generally recognized media monitor in the market of "outdoor advertising", today there are more and more players offering their measurement technology. What is the reason for this boom?
Historically, monitoring of outdoor advertising was conducted in a format of visual inspection of advertising structures. Information about the content and parameters of the advertising layout was fixed, as well as the location of advertising carriers on city maps. The data for media measurements was collected by employees who periodically went out into the street and counted people alongside a separate construction with "clicks", then the measurements were extrapolated. Naturally, such a methodology had a high error. About measurements of the real coverage of the advertising campaign, consisting of several advertising designs, traffic changes during the day, month and year or profiling the audience, we didn’t so much as discuss.
The averaged data obtained on the basis of a dedicated reference group could not in any way ensure the accuracy of measurements and federal coverage. Moreover, the research was conducted only in the largest cities of Russia. As an additional source, information was used on the Rosstat population census, which also contains significant errors due to the methodology of data collection. As a result, there was an opinion that the "outside" is a purely out-of-the-box tool, its effectiveness can not be accurately calculated, the influence on sales is not appreciated and it is extremely poorly targeted. Of course, outdoor advertising began to lose to other types of media, and money began to be redistributed into other, more manageable and predictable channels with rich targeting.
With the development of big data and artificial intelligence, it became clear that their scope is not limited to high-tech markets. On the contrary, new technologies used in the stagnating outdoor advertising market can radically change its development vector and bring about a revolution. When the whole industry is tired of living in the old paradigms by the standards of the 20th century, players began to appear, offering effective solutions with the use of large data to measure audiences with additional capabilities.
In fact, new media metrics have become a kind of foundation, a marketplace for a large set of services to optimize marketing activities based on big data. For advertising agencies, such a tool is a differentiator in a competitive market, for advertisers - a way to optimize the advertising budget.
At the same time, it is important that the market of "outdoor", developing at the expense of new technologies, does not repeat the bad examples of the digital market, and there are a lot of them. For example, all DMP platforms claim to have an audience segment interested in buying a car. The advertiser is hosted, and then sees that some DMP have a conversion of, let’s say, 10%, others have 0%. But they promised the same high result.
Now, both in digital and in outdoor advertising, the quality of the product - the coverage and accuracy of the data - comes first.
- How can an advertiser not make a mistake in choosing a really worthwhile solution with real media coverage, if such exist at all? Your view on the technology present in the market.
How not to be mistaken? Do not use any intermediate solutions that have significant restrictions on audience reach and scaling. These include manual measurements, technologies using video cameras, wi-fi equipment. There are also platforms based on navigation services or on telecom data in a grid of 500 by 500 meters, which does not allow you to calculate the actual coverage for the target frequency of your advertising campaign, since coverage is a non-additive metric. Back in 2013, as part of projects with the Moscow Master Plan Institute, we tried to solve geo-analytical problems with squares of 500 × 500 meters. The error in locating was more than 40%. Even then, we abandoned such a grid and developed a new technology of geo-tracking, which made it possible to achieve accuracy of up to 50 meters. It is interesting that a number of companies with enormous resources and talented specialists have not been able to move further in terms of development of technologies for processing geodata.
There are also examples of technologies based on very small samples (for example, 5000 thousand people), and the data is collected through a mobile application. Therefore, there is a direct distortion in the target audience, and those who do not use smartphones, not taken into account. Again, calculation of actual coverage is impossible.
One of the most effective solutions for the industry today, in our opinion, is the technology that works on combining data of mobile operators and mobile applications, close to the American standard for measuring outdoor advertising. Nowadays, only combined telecom data with mobile application data can provide the market with the exact measurement accuracy and high federal coverage, close to 100%. Thus, according to «Russian Public Opinion Research Center» («VCIOM»), in August 2017, 97% of the economically active population used mobile phones. Using this class of data allows you to get information about the real coverage of your advertising campaign, accurately determine the audience's geo-positioning, measure not only the number of cars, but also pedestrians, filter the movements on the metro, take into special account the trips on trains and buses. In addition, unlike other technologies, this solution allows you to take into account seasonality and the daily dynamics of audience change. But some "raw" telecom-data is not enough. The key is the accuracy in working with the audience, which is impossible to achieve if the standard work on a grid with a large distance between the base stations.
- Do advertisers trust new technologies? Do they feel that the current solutions are more like a "black box"?
We ourselves once faced such a feedback about our product, but after the tests of SmartIndex by ESPAR and a number of large operators of advertising surfaces the situation began to change gradually. We could not disclose all the secrets of technological solutions, but it was of course important for us to prove the effectiveness of the experts. Therefore, in April of this year we also initiated the testing of our methodology by NAVC members who are subscribers of various mobile operators and users of various mobile applications. I hope that we managed to dispel all fears of the expert community.
The players face a dilemma - how to be transparent, but not to disclose their know-how. Some are also afraid to show their shortcomings and limitations to the client, so they use the "black box". Hence, there is a certain distrust of the advertiser. In addition, there are many technologies and all of them are relatively new. For clients, I would single out a couple of simple recipes that would help the client understand what they are dealing with and how to make the right choice.
Firstly, if the supplier refuses to technology tests or peer review, it should alert the advertiser.
Secondly, if the supplier for any test asks for money - this is also an occasion to reflect. The service should be as accurate, clear and transparent as possible.
Thirdly, it is worth paying attention to the coverage and representativeness of the sample. Now Smart Index analyzes aggregated data for more than 210 million active mobile subscribers. After using special algorithms to remove non-main devices (second, third SIM cards, modems, tablets and routers), they remain 148 million. For comparison with other players, the audience they measure is only about 60 million subscribers. More than 300 thousand advertising surfaces across Russia are already integrated into our system. The rest systems - almost twice less. At the same time the platform works on any surfaces, regardless of the format and location of advertising media. And this is really a significant difference compared to existing solutions.
- Your opinion, will the single currency of media measurements be adopted as a result? How will the outdoor advertising market develop further?
It is already obvious that there will not be a single media monitor. There are various solutions on the market, the fact which, of course, is useful for the industry. The more choices, the better the customers. Growing competition only spurs the market to digitization and the introduction of additional functionality, for example, super-targeting when placing outdoor advertising, look-a-like modeling of the audience by specified parameters, post-buy analytics following the results of advertising campaigns, etc.
Now, some players are betting on visualization and creating attractive interfaces, despite the fact that many users historically have their own consoles and applications for planning outdoor advertising. And other players focus on product development and development of additional services.
- Carrying out omnichannel advertising campaigns is another fashionable know-how among the players present on the market? Or is it a real tool for use by the advertiser?
I would say that the market is now in the middle of the road. Fashionable know-how, as you say, ceases to be just a subject for conversations, and as technology develops, it becomes a tool for everyday work. Not all players can offer such a service today. To do this, you need to have a fairly large panel with overlapping audiences in different types of media. We just had to make such a tool: oneFactor historically is an aggregator of different types of data - mobile operators, Internet providers, mobile applications, retailers, etc.
Now, advertisers do more and more understand the opportunities opened before them, and the requests are shifting from the "offer maximum coverage on the Internet and outdoor" in "count how many people from the ads who saw ads downloaded the mobile application, came to the store for shopping, ordered a taxi." Technologies allow real-time recommendations on the basis of affinity and the forecasted level of conversion: where it is better to place advertising and how to do it for minimal money. For example, in a regional television slot, simultaneously launching the placement on the Internet. You can also place outdoor advertising on one particular billboard near the shopping center, and then make a call for customers who are going shopping.
- Does this mean that the sale of advertising in various channels will now not be based on the number of contacts, ratings and so on, but for the result?
It's difficult to say about all channels, but performance marketing, which solves the problem of increasing sales, is a trend. The client wants to see the result and pay for the result, and the market will certainly adapt. First of all, we see a demand for performance marketing in outdoor advertising. Counting the conversion from online to offline channel and vice versa is no longer a problem. How to implement the strategy of performance marketing through omnichannel advertising campaigns, measure conversion to targeted actions in different channels, or target advertising in those media where targeting was difficult before - these are not the questions of the future, but the decisions of the present.