[An Unofficial Response to the OMC] The problem with having a tantrum and throwing your toys out the cot is that sooner or later you have to go and pick them up. Unless of course you are lucky enough to have somebody else to do that for you.
The OMC has indicated that it takes umbrage to an article called OOH, that hurts!
The offending article asserts inter alia that,
So, with the shift in behaviour OOH media owners and research councils like the OMC need to quantify and qualify the value that it brings to advertisers, with a specific focus on actionable insights through real-time data. We must understand how we can track those shifts and trends to help advertisers make more informed buying decisions on OOH media going forward
From a advertising and media planning perspective, it’s really hard to understand why advocating a focus on actionable insights through real-time data should give cause for offence. It’s the leading global narrative across all media platforms, and it was before Covid-19.
If the OMC take umbrage at this article, then they might as well take umbrage at Facebook, Google, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and the digital media landscape in its entirety. The media landscape has changed, and we are all having to change with it. And that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Covid-19. Covid-19 might have highlighted the issue but that doesn’t imply causality.
Personally, I long for a return to the good old days of slide-rules, because that would give me a significant competitive advantage over just about every other media strategist in the industry, but the truth is that big data and algorithms are better than slide-rules.
Here’s the simple reality of the digital media landscape in which we all find ourselves, irrespective of media platform.
- Radio diaries fall spectacularly short in their ability to deliver real-time statistics and to track the reality of streaming radio listenership.
- TV peoplemeters fall spectacularly short in their ability to deliver real-time statistics and track the reality of streaming TV viewership on digital devices.
- Large scale surveys, using face to face interviews, fall spectacularly short in their ability to deliver real-time statistics and to track the reality of streaming newspaper and magazine readership.
- The current OOH audience measure falls spectacularly short in its ability to deliver real-time statistics pertaining to detailed audience data at any immediate point in time.
The issue here is real-time statistics. For all media platforms.
As I write, there is not one radio broadcaster in South Africa that can tell me how LockdownSA is impacting on the Average ¼ hour audience I paid for this morning at 08h30 on radio station X. Because that audience is based on a pre-Covid-19 diary.
There is not one single publisher who can tell me the impact of LockdownSA on AIR readership for any given print title. Because PAMS research was conducted pre-Covid19. Not even Caxton who, ironically, could reasonably expect an increase in readership to their titles during LockdownSA, can use ROOTS to tell me what’s happening to their titles today.
Whatever was benchmarked ‘pre-Covid’ has been invalidated by these extraordinary times. Its not a question of apportioning blame, merely a case of describing a reality
What those stations and titles can do, and are doing in many instances, is reporting the online activity which is linked to those platforms. In other words they can offer actionable insights through real-time data even though the primary trading currency has been invalidated by lockdown. This is an excellent example of such an initiative from the PRC for instance.
The OMC can’t do that right now, even though we know from other global markets that it is doable. In the prevailing digital media landscape, a rolling three-year average may be cause for statistical reassurance, but it doesn’t deliver the goods to the degree that real-time big data can.
In their response, the OMC concedes this very point and indeed the entire point of the article in question. Even though it must have hurt to do so.
Tracking people’s movements via GPS technology is being done, but this is not a media currency that allows for detailed demographic information to be collected.
That is a neat summary of the very point OOH, that hurts! is making.
I have made the following statement on a number of industry platforms over that past three years, including to the OMC, and no media-owner or research company, has “taken umbrage” to it.
In the past, media-owners measured what people did yesterday, in order to explain what those people are doing today. In the future, media owners must measure what people are doing today, in order to predict what they will be doing tomorrow.
The fact is, that making these statements does not impute that the methodologies of the past were wrong, or deficient at the time, merely that they were limited by prevailing technology or, apparently in the case of the OMC, by legal patent issues.
The article ‘OOH that hurts!’ does not denigrate the OMD ROAD research but it does, constructively in my opinion, point out that there has to be industry progression towards delivering granular real-time data.
The impetus of global audience measurement is moving away from offering rolling-average audiences, whether that be PAMS, RAMS or TAMS, and moving towards real-time data that can fuel attribution models. Covid-19 hasn’t caused this quantum shift to digital adoption. Just brought it more clearly into focus.
That’s a fact. How ever much that fact may hurt.
Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
Disclaimer: Gordon Muller and Alasdair Muller are related.
Gordon Muller is Africa’s oldest surviving media strategist. Author of Media Planning – Art or Science. Mostly harmless! Read his Khulumamedia Blog here.
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