This past week I got to meet with some Out of Home folks for a chit chat on their new impression count system they’ve developed called “Eyes-On Impressions,” or EOI. This is the new currency for buying billboards and other Out of Home products. It’s defined by the average number of persons who are “likely to notice” an ad on an Outdoor display. It takes into account the distance from the road, the angle, the size, the speed of traffic, etc, and boils it into a weekly cumulative impressions count.
(Pause: They used to measure Out of Home buy DEC, or Daily Effective Count, or Daily Eye Count as I would call it. It was really just based on DOT numbers and when calculated for a campaign, it would claim millions and millions and millions of people would see one billboard. A little bit of a stretch, but when you think about how we buy magazines and newspaper, not every person who is considered a part of the circulation really reads – and sees your ad – every time you’re in it.)
Play: They started showing us how they’d like to start being competitive with other media (mainly broadcast) and showed us how their new impressions start matching up to GRPs, or Gross Rating Points.
(Pause again: Gross Rating Points is a function of a rating point, which is a percentage of the universe you’re calculating. One rating percentage point is different by market and by medium because the universe changes in size when you take all of that into consideration. When a radio buyer needs to buy 150 rating points in a market, the actual number of people being reached is different if they’re buying New York or Orlando – which is why New York is such an expensive market. There are way more people being reached per rating point so each rating point is more valuable!)
Play: So, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America has decided they want to try to sell billboards to media planners by a GRPs package (it would take X amount of boards to reach 150 GRPs, for instance). They want to associate themselves more with radio and TV and be comparable.
But are GRPs the way to do it? I’ve been thinking about it and I feel like I’ll never buy boards by GRPs. I’m kind of a non-traditional media planner (meaning I don’t compartmentalize media mixes and online is my benchmark for targeted reach efficiency) and when I think about the audience I want to buy, I’m looking at Gross Impressions. With online, with magazines, even when I plan radio and TV, I’m looking at the gross impressions column of the proposal. I need to make sure I’m buying the most efficient stuff for an all-around well-balanced buy. And with EOI, Out of Home is still a competitive and efficient medium – it would rank at par with a well-rounded online buy and be more efficient than a broadcast buy.
Now I do love the fact that EOI can calculate reach and frequency. And if I had the magic media planning software that can calculate the reach and frequency for an entire market buy (like MEMRI or IMS), then this is an added benefit that’s been brought to the table. But for now I can at least tell my Out of Home sales reps that I’d like to reach 100% of Adults 35-54 with a household income of $75k+ with a weekly frequency of three and they can give me an outdoor proposal that would meet those needs.
If you’re a media planner, how would you want to plan/buy Out of Home? And If you’re an Out of Home sales rep, is how I want to plan it and buy it okay with you? 😉