Golley Slater Media take on the London Underground!

Whether you agree with the phrase ‘knowledge is power’ or not, in the world of media planning, knowledge is a vital component of being able to provide impartial media recommendations that are firmly based on fact, not fiction. We do this in several ways and use a range of sophisticated planning tools that will either support our initial thinking and provide the rationale we need for media recommendations or, in some cases, even dis-credit certain media.

Although the planning tools we use are our lifeline, within an industry that’s ever-changing and evolving, we feel it’s our duty as a media specialist to ensure each of us remain current and one of the best ways to do this is to get out of the office and visit the media owners.

With Global’s recent acquisition of Exterion and Primesight, it seemed like the perfect time to visit the guys (and girls) in London and find out what this acquisition means for the Outdoor media buying landscape and beyond.

Our guide (and navigator) for the day was David Jenkins, who after offering us the warmest of welcomes, proceeded to take us on what was going to be the start of a fabulous day of learning.

As one of the first integrated agencies to set foot in the new Global HQ, we were all full of excitement. As you’d expect the offices are grand, stylish and rather impressive…but enough of that, we were here to learn and they didn’t disappoint. Once led into their purpose-built auditorium complete with a wall of digital screens, the real power of outdoor became apparent. Sam Johnson, Data Planning Manager for Global took to the stage to offer a behind the scenes view of the planning capabilities that are available for us to tap into.

Global Planning presentation

Learning about Global's planning capabilities on the London Underground

Historically, Outdoor has been a media that’s harder to quantify, measure and therefore justify. As the outdoor estate is increasing its digital inventory there are more opportunities to optimise an outdoor campaign. This however, is only one piece of the puzzle. Through digital phone technology, brands that are considering a campaign on the London Underground can access a range of planning tools are able to provide outdoor recommendations based on demographics, sociographic and behaviours. Known as ABI (Audience Behavioral Insights) the planning tool is so sophisticated that it can plot against multiple interests, can identify if travellers of the London Underground are commuting to or from work or just visiting the area and can recommend stations based on total volume and efficiency of the target audience.

We’re not in London, so I hear you if you’re thinking the same. Although many of our clients do advertise using the London Underground as a way of tapping into this market, if like us, you are not in London, fear not as this technology is not exclusive to planning inventory on the underground alone. Sam also talked us through its capabilities for planning bus campaigns, and the power this has for proximity planning, for mapping out routes and for recommending one depot over another based on certain criteria. For someone that’s been exposed to media for several years, it was great to see just how granular this planning tool can get and has added an extra layer of research data that’s possible when planning bus campaigns.

As if that wasn’t enough, Emma Brett Commercial Insights Manager was able to share with us some of the research survey data that is also available for us to use. The data they hold, spanned a 5 year period and covers the whole of the UK. Using incentivised research methods they are able to provide data on consumer behaviour, on pre-and post-campaign brand recall and on creative effectiveness. Advanced technology includes eye sensor glasses. Commuters wear these glasses and their gaze, their eye movement and even data on their skin receptors are all collated to provide a clear report on which ads they are interacting and engaging with. When this technology is then synced to the users' search data, they can establish a correlation between ad engagement and the propensity for brand engagement.

London Underground

Wrapping it up with future predictions for outdoor

To wrap up the learning David Read, Regional Director at Global was able to give us a real insight into how this acquisition will take shape, with some future prediction around adding to the digital infrastructure and some assurances as to when and how digital programmatic might take shape. Whilst outdoor media in the most part remains static, it’s a little early to start talking about programmatic, although certainly watch this space. With the promise of more digital outdoor sites comes the expectation that in the not too distant future programmatic buying will certainly be on the agenda.

Our day wouldn’t have been complete without a whistle-stop tour of some of the stand digital London inventory. We saw a spectrum of impressive media options, such as Bus Mega T Sides, Bus Wraps, Digital Cross Track 48 Sheets, Escalator Ribbons, Bank’s Digital Gateway, Landmarks, Cross Track Domination and Station Dominations.

All in all, we had a fabulous day and are all now working on how we can plan and develop new ways to use these insights within the day-to-day.