Q: Does Outdoor advertising work?
A: Yes. Outdoor is arguably the oldest form of advertising around and, far from diminishing; it’s been enjoying significant growth. This is, in part, because of the challenges of fragmentation and the resultant reduced reach that many of the other media are experiencing. In contrast, Outdoor audiences are growing as the number of people driving and commuting times continue to increase. We have a large database of testimonials and case studies, showing how effective Outdoor is, and we’ll gladly share these with you.
Q: I'm a student and would like information about Outdoor for a school project, can you help me?
A: If you haven't found the answers you're looking for from our website, you can send a request for information to our info line firstname.lastname@example.org. We check it regularly and will get back to you.
Q: How does Outdoor audience research compare to other media in terms of accuracy/credibility?
A: The Canadian Outdoor measurement methodology is a true gold standard. Audited circulation figures are calculated for over 40,000 traditional Outdoor products including: Posters, Permanents and Superboards, Transit Shelters and Murals. Outdoor inventory in over 80 markets representing some 98% of the Canadian population are measured. This is done through a rigorous process, which begins by using traffic counts taken by the municipalities and provinces on approximately 12,000 links (measurement points) along our many roads, streets and highways to establish the expected daily traffic. Each board/product is assessed according to stipulated radius parameters, adjusted for market load factor, direction of traffic, lighting of the board, visibility from one, two or three streets and then finally a circulation is calculated. The circulation data is then analyzed against the BBM/RTS database to allow for analysis against a deep list of demographic and product usage measures for GRP and reach/frequency planning in our COMB Navigator® software.
Far from being less accurate than other media measurement we can be proud of the fact that in most cases our measures are more or at least as robust as other samples. As a point of comparison, the Television industry relies on input from some 4.470 people meters to generate its ratings, Radio uses a personal passive meter carried by 4,470 and Magazines rely on PMB's sample of 24,000 which is a two year rolling average of 12,000 annually.
Q: What's a GRP?
A: A GRP or Gross Rating Point is a basis of measurement developed by the media industry, which has become widely accepted as our standard currency because it translates across all media. In layman's terms, 1 GRP represents 1% of a defined population i.e. Adults age 18-49 in the Toronto CMA. A GRP is calculated according to the following formula: Circulation ÷ Population = GRP
The demographic and geographic parameters of the circulation and population have to be the same. As per our earlier example, both the circulation and population would be for Adults 18-49 within the Toronto CMA.
Q: What about Pedestrians, don't they count?
A: Yes, sometimes. Outdoor operators may commission COMB to conduct pedestrian counts for structures that they feel are in heavy pedestrian areas. These counts are then added into the total circulation count for that structure. Any other structure within the regulation radius of the count also benefits from this count. Markets and products with pedestrian counts are flagged in the COMB Data Report.
Q: Who's COMB?
A: COMB, the Canadian Outdoor Measurement Bureau, is a national non-profit organization independently operated by representatives comprised of Advertisers, Advertising Agencies and the Canadian Out-of-Home operators. COMB is responsible for the verification of traffic circulation, measurement and auditing procedures for Outdoor audience measurement and auditing of campaign delivery for its member companies.
Q: Can I buy a panel for less than four weeks?
A: Yes. Four week campaign blocks are a standard segment of time that is generally considered to be an effective minimum campaign length for Outdoor advertising but we recognize that there are specific situations in which 4 weeks is not appropriate and we can adjust accordingly. However, as our systems are all set up for 4 weeks, you may incur a premium or surcharge when going with a shorter campaign length - this is to cover the costs that we incur because of working outside of standard practice. You may also need additional weight (more panels) to achieve the same "breakthrough" within your campaign if you reduce the length of flight.
Q: How far out do I need to plan? or What is the lead time to book?
A: There's no easy answer to this one, basically keep in mind that Outdoor has a limited supply of inventory and so it works on a first come first serve basis. We can't create new space for you if we're sold out - once it's gone, it's gone. Naturally, we have some high demand periods in which we're more likely to be sold out, typically from April to November. If you're intending to advertise during this period try to call us early. However, the realities of business today have been shorter and shorter lead times and we've adjusted accordingly.
While we are generally working 2-3 months ahead, we have managed to post clients within a week when space allowed. If you're thinking of advertising - call us; we'll do our best to fit you in.
Q: How much is enough?
A: It depends. For some clients, one key location is enough but for most we recommend a minimum level of 25 daily GRPs - most of the campaigns you see are working with quite a bit more weight, typically in the 100 to 200 daily GRP range.
Q: What is the minimum quantity I have to buy?
A: It's difficult for us to set minimum quantities because we have some products like our Permanents (large Posters along major highways/roads) for which one board is a significant investment while for other products like bus Kings and/or Seventies, one panel would really not be effective for you. As a rule of thumb, for products other than large format: Permanents, Superboards or Wall Murals/Banners, assume that 25 daily GRPs is a minimum and that going below that level is advised only under very unique circumstances.
Q: Is there a minimum/maximum campaign length?
A: Four weeks is our standard minimum campaign length but we have had highly effective 2-week campaigns for special events/promotions. Typically, these have been at higher weight levels to compensate for the reduced length of time. We wouldn't recommend a campaign any shorter than two weeks. As far as a maximum, well the sky's the limit. Although in all seriousness, please keep in mind that if you're posting for an extended length of campaign, you should be freshening your creative regularly.
Q: Can I get a list of all your locations?
A: We have over 20,000 locations, so while we could give you a list it's not likely to be useful to you. The best way to work with us in creating an effective campaign, is to brief us on your objectives and let us provide you with a recommendation. We can and will happily map locations for you based on your criteria and can even take you on a drive of locations/markets that you may want to consider. We have an entire department of chartists and mapping experts who manage our inventory and can help to identify the locations we have that best fit your criteria. This will help save you time and make sure that you get the locations that will work for you.
Q: Can we skew?
A: Yes. However, the degree to which you skew locations may carry cost implications. If you want to have us map locations that fit within reasonable demographic/geographic criteria then this can often be done as part of standard practice at no additional cost to you. But when you start selecting specific boards you may be subject to a location selection premium. As a standard rule, keep in mind that the more "cherry picking" you do, the more it may cost you. A TV analogy would be that a 100% prime time schedule costs more than a standard 60% prime/40% fringe schedule.
Q: Do you have creative services? What do they cost?
A: Yes, we do. We're very proud of our Creative Department, which includes graphic designers and artists with lots of experience and knowledge of what works in Outdoor. We can create ads for you or work with your creative group to provide consultations about creative issues specific to Outdoor. We provide creative development and consultation at no additional charge with a sufficient media contract commitment.