Evolution of Outdoor Media Buying—EYES ON

I love buying outdoor media!  I think I love it because it was the first medium I really sank my teeth into as a young media buyer 26 years ago.  I drove out to the billboard locations so often that I can now picture the locations in my head whenever the outdoor companies send me their location lists.  I have seen the industry evolve from hand-painted bulletins to 4 color vinyl; from 30-sheet bleed paper posters to recyclable vinyl posters to digital signs of all shapes and sizes… and I embraced all of those changes!

On January 1, 2010, the out-of-home industry launched its newest initiative –  the EYES ON Out of Home Media Measurement system. It is an audience measurement system for buying and selling Out of Home media.  EYES ON is unique in media measurement in that it provides counts of demographic audiences who actually notice the advertising on Out of Home displays (1). In the past, outdoor has been measured mainly by traffic counts, or DEC’s (Daily Effective Circulation), which gave us the number of people who had the potential to see a message – not the number who actually saw it.

ABC’s of EYES ON (2)

A) Weekly Circulation Counts – People Passing

These are the foundation of the EYES ON measurement system and provide a gross count of people who pass each out of home display. This includes both in-vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

B) Visibility Adjustments – People Seeing

Nearly 15,000 tests of people noticing displays and the ads on them were conducted by three separate companies using state of the art eye-tracking technology.  The results were analyzed and modeled to generate the EYES ON adjustments. These adjustments made out of home the first medium to report audiences noticing the advertising on a display. (As opposed to measurements by other media of audiences who might have seen/heard the ad.)

Key Factors:

Format (Bulletin, Poster, Transit Shelter)

Display Size

Roadside Position

Angle to the Road

Street Type

Distance from the Road

C) Trip Surveys – Demographics & Reach, Frequency

EYES ON uses travel information from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources that report trips to work and to and from various census tracts.  Mediamark Research (MRI) conducted approximately 50,000 travel surveys in 15 markets to collect detailed information about trips and their purposes, as well as modes of transportation to supplement the census data.  This data is used for calculating audience demographics, in-market vs. total audience, and trip duplication required for reach & frequency.

So, what does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that we now have a system in place that measures the actual impact of a large bulletin sitting close to a major highway versus a smaller bulletin that sits farther away.  In the past, a board that was a left hand read would get the same DEC measurement as a right hand read.  With the EYES ON system, we can see that the left hand read’s EYES ON Impressions are lower than a right hand read board on the same road!

Why am I telling you all this? BECAUSE IT IS EXCITING!  The EYES ON system is the only audience metric based on people who actually SEE your ad. For the first time, we can integrate audience information across media to assess a campaign’s impact in the market (2).

The full rollout of the EYES ON rating system is expected to happen this fall. And you can be SURE I’ll be asking for it!

Helen Mumaw… over and out!

(1) Daily Research Newsletter, The Market Research Industry Online. June 2, 2009.

(2) The Basics, Traffic Audit Bureau of Measurement. 2009

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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