Exposure to out of home advertising isn’t just about time in public places

Last month I blogged about a project I’d undertaken for Route Research Ltd. They produce research for the Out of Home industry. I was commissioned by Route to find the stories in the GPS data and questionnaire data that they have collected from 30,000 respondents. The Media Briefing published the blog and you can read it here. It contains a lot of information on the Route methodology that I’ll not repeat here.

In the blog I concentrated on the morning commute as I wanted to publicise the fact that Route research could be used to analyse a day-part. In this new blog I’ve chosen to look at a few of the more general insights that my investigation threw up.

Most prominent are the headline figures: the amount of time we Brits are in a public place in a typical day, the proportion of that time we are (knowingly or not) exposed to out of home advertising and the number of advertising frames we are exposed to during that time. If you think about it before reading on, they’re actually hard figures to guess-timate.

Are you personally out and about more or less than average? Are you exposed to more or less frames than average? It is possible, it seems, to underscore on one and overscore on the other.

Here is that ‘headline’. People are “out and about” (not at home, not at work but in a public place) for an average of three hours ten minutes a day. 9% of that time (16 minutes) is spent “under the influence” of out of home advertising (in a ‘zone’ and facing the right way). People see, on average, 71 frames a day.

Those averages are benchmarks against which specific audiences can be judged. People who live in Birmingham, for example, outscore all benchmarks. They’re are out and about for twenty-five minutes more, under the influence for more than double the average time (40 minutes – 19% of time out and about) and see over twice as many frames (153).

Londoners are more peculiar beasts. They are out and about for less time than the national average – two hours forty-four minutes – but still see the same number of frames as people in Birmingham (153) i.e. more than the national average. They just see them more frequently.

You might have expected Londoners to be out and about for longer but remember; we’re talking about being in public places, not just out of home.

Londoners have time consuming commutes but they also work long hours, so they are in a workplace not a public place for a lot of the day.

Another quirk of Londoners is that they go out for an evening straight from work rather than returning home to travel back into the city centre later. Alternatively they use the local restaurants, bars and entertainments that are more evident on their doorsteps than they are in regional city suburbs.  It means less journeys ‘out and in’.

I’m reminded of a story I was told about a clothes designer who designed dresses that were meant to look great at work and in the bar straight from work. The idea and designs were a hit with women in London focus groups but less popular in areas where a fresh set of clothes were just a short drive away from the office.

Londoners are one of several groups who spend less time out and about but are exposed to more frames than average. Upmarket audiences are also out and about less than average but exposed to more frames. In this instance the greater distance they travel contributes to their opportunities to see advertising. ABs might spend the least time out and about of all the social grades but they travel five miles further than C2DEs and see five more frames a day.

Others include heavy Internet users, light TV viewers, smartphone owners, those who work from home fairly often, under 25s, ABs and ABC1s. That this is the case for such desirable ad audiences is testament to media companies’ targeting abilities.

Media owners do this by targeting hotspots, of course. Perhaps one of the nation’s hottest hotspots for out of home advertising is Oxford Circus underground station. It has high footfall and a lot of frames. Walking through Oxford Circus station a person sees 71 frames in just a few minutes – exactly the same average number of out of home frames the average Brit sees over an entire day.

So, exposure to out of home advertising isn’t just about time spent out and about in public places. Distance travelled plays a role too but so does targeting by media owners of key advertising audiences. Route research certainly shows off the effectiveness of that targeting and makes a strong case for the out of home medium.

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