Tracking Billboard Reach With GPS

from the how-technology-makes-it-easier-to-pitch-ads-at-you dept

While most advertising platforms have pretty clear tracking capabilities to see just who is viewing their ads, one area that has remained tracking-free for years is billboard advertising. However, that’s quickly changing. Nielsen, famous for tracking TV viewers, is using the same tactic they use to see what kind of people watch American Idol to determine who is viewing billboards. They do it by signing up volunteers to reveal their viewing habits. For years they’ve tracked what stations their volunteers watch on their TVs, but now they’re attaching GPS devices to their cars as well. The devices will report back to Nielsen headquarters with information about where the people were, and what billboards they were likely to see. Of course, Nielsen already has detailed demographic info about each of these volunteers and will use that to put together a detailed report. Competitor Arbitron (the Nielsen of radio) scoffs at such high tech methodology. They’ve gone the low-tech route for tracking billboard advertising: they ask volunteers to simply write down what billboards they see. I had no idea there was such a battle brewing in the billboard advertising market. If it’s such a big deal, I’m surprised that no one had come up with these methodologies earlier. At least the pen-and-paper kind could have been done years ago and GPS systems are hardly brand new.

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