Marketers using indoor and out-of-home advertising often overlook geo-demographics because, at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be an accurate way of determining the demographics of people using public routes. This is not always the case, though. Knowledge Factory managing director, Mohammed Areff, argues that there are many instances when this powerful technique can be successfully applied and used to achieve considerably higher response rates.
As its name suggests, geo-demographics is the correlating or linking of demographic data — information about the population segmented by factors like age, sex or income — with concise geographic data. In other words, it is a way of physically locating demographic information and using this to work out the common characteristics of people living in geographical areas or ‘clusters’. Marketers then use these ‘area profiles’ to target audiences more precisely and improve the efficiency of their campaigns.
There’s a common misperception that this powerful technique cannot be applied to indoor and out-of-home advertising, but this is not always the case. Certainly, there are instances when it cannot really be used. For example, if you are planning to advertise on a billboard at the side of the N1 highway in Johannesburg. The enormous volume of traffic from such diverse locations and travelling such varies routes prevents you from really being able to meaningfully narrow down your potential audience.
However, there are also instances where the potential audience is much narrower and homogeneous and geo-demographics can be applied. For example, if that same billboard is on a small arterial road in a particular, distinctive neighbourhood, it is much easier to establish who is likely to be using that route and, accordingly, to profile the geo-demographics of that audience and area.
Likewise, you might struggle to apply geo-demographics to advertising in and around Johannesburg’s Sandton City, but it could be applied to a small shopping centre that draws a predominantly local audience from a three to four kilometre radius area around it. In such instances, it is not only possible, but prudent to use geo-demographics to segment your advertising points.
Geo-demographics also functions well when applied to building advertising, in conjunction with a GIS solution (Geographic Information System). For example, you can use the GIS terrain and elevation data to establish which locations or areas will see the material being wrapped around the building — its footprint — and then use geo-demographics to establish the demographics of the people within that footprint.
While perhaps not immediately obvious, geo-demographics can play an important role when it comes to segmenting advertising points and line-of-sight analysis — which is why marketers looking to target campaigns even more precisely and to extract maximum value from media placements should not overlook this powerful technique.
Knowledge Factory’s core focus is property, market and business-geographic insights for both large companies and SME’s. The company identifies and maps relevant demographics and behaviours to measurable micro-markets creating an evidence-based understanding of consumers across various market segments in South Africa.