Three in five Americans see Digital OOH ads each month: DPAA-backed research

August 2, 2011 by Dave Haynes

New consumer data released Monday by the research firm GfK MRI, from its Survey of the American Consumer, suggests more than three in five Americans reported seeing Digital OOH advertising in a previous 30-day period.

Of the 60.7% of U.S. adults (approximately 138.5 million people) who reported having seen digital place-based advertising, says a GfK release, 64.1% expressed an interest in the ads.

Ads on video screens located in grocery stores were the most commonly viewed, with 31.8% of adults reporting having seen this type of ad in the last 30 days. Grocery stores were followed by quick service/casual dining restaurants, warehouse/club stores, shopping malls, pharmacies and coffee shops/cafes or delicatessens, in that order, as the most likely place consumers viewed place-based video ads.

Consumer interest in place-based video ads appears positive and consistent. For instance, in 13 of the 15 venues cited above, between 40% and 55% of consumers expressed interest in the ads.

The research comes from a mail-out survey finished in April that involved some 6,500 consumers who had previously participated in GfK MRI’s national Survey of the American Consumer last fall.

The Digital OOH-specific questions in the research were sponsored by the Digital Place-based Advertising Association.

“These new data from the Omnibus Recontact Study provide valuable insight into how consumers are embracing place-based digital advertising,” says Susan Danaher, President of the DPAA. “A major focus of ours for the past year has been to create a robust suite of planning tools and metrics to make it easier for agencies and marketers to plan and buy place-based digital media.”

You can just imagine how these numbers will be spun by the grocery and fast casual restaurant network operators out there, but my guess is that researchers would blow up any suggestions that some venues are better than others. Captivate’s elevator network at first pass would seem to come out poorly in this research, except that only a small percentage of Americans work in or visit office towers, whereas just about everyone goes to a grocery store unless they are on hunger strikes. If the survey was just of people who work in office towers the recall levels for digital screens in the elevators would be much, much higher.

The more telling number has to do with interest in the advertising. It is pretty consistent across the categories, EXCEPT for airports and taxis, the worst performer. Hands up everyone who enjoys back of taxi audio-video ads. OK, don’t be shy. Anyone???

The numbers are actually lower than those released in last year’s place-based video study done by Arbitron. That one suggested 70% of Americans had seen Digital OOH screens, though the group included teenagers, whereas the GfK research is for adults.

BUT, the numbers have doubled from GfK research released last fall, which suggested less than 30% of US adults had seen a Digital OOH ad in the previous 30 days. That’s because the sample size back then was for seven venues and this is 15 venue categories.

So looking at the chart, you may have wondered (like me) how the 60.7% figure works when all the venue categories have lower numbers. Shouldn’t some be higher, to get to that average?

I asked, and had clarified that the numbers are not averages, they’re counts.  The 60.7%  refers to the percentage of consumers who saw a video ad in at least one of the venues listed. So, it takes out the duplication of people who, say, saw a video ad in a grocery store AND a pharmacy AND an airport.

If you add all the percentages for venues, you get something like 188%. When you take out the duplication, you are left with 60.7%.

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