It seems that just living in a city and leaving your house every once in a while makes you an outdoor advertising impression. You don’t have to actually see a billboard or TSA to be counted, you just have to be outside and breathing within the borders of the CMA.

In outdoor measurement we generally accept that for every car driving down the street, there will be 1x people in it seeing every ad on the avenue – from the Giant Superboard, to the TSA, Kingcard and park bench. It’s a wonder that after looking at all those ads in the space of ½ a block, that there aren’t more pedestrians trapped under the wheels of all those distracted drivers!

While we generally accept the numbers, I think far more of us reject the notion that all the traffic on any one given street sees all the advertising posted along it! The questions which immediately come to mind are: How much is seen? What is seen and what is not seen? How can we tell? Can we get closer to the truth?

There are several technologies or solutions being implemented around the world designed to answer those exact questions. One, already in market in the US, is EYES ON.

What EYES ON does is provides unit- by-unit measurement of each board based on research that gives a closer approximation of whether or not a person would see your ad. It does this using standard criteria such as traffic flow research, market demographic surveys and modeling and also integrates some novel approaches, such as eye-tracking research – which now gives us some insight into how people interact with the boards on a given street.

The information generated can be used to derive the number of people who are ‘Likely-to-See’ the OOH unit, and even give demographic data based on each board in the market. This information is provided in a metric referred to as EYES ON Impressions (EOI’s_.

This new model takes into account details which we know affect how people interact with OOH, but until now had not been captured in the traffic numbers. Things like unit size, road position, distance from the road and OOH clutter are some factors which distil the audience down to more reasonable traffic counts…And heck, they even make sense.

At Media Experts, we have always assumed that all OOH units are not created equally, which is why we drive our units relentlessly, hand-picking units which will serve our advertising message best and driving our reps crazy checking and double checking each one of them! We understand which units are best and which units we NEVER want to display our customer’s message.

In the US, as of January 1, 2012, EYES ON ratings were accepted by TAB (The Traffic Audit Bureau) as the official currency of measurement for the OOH industry   (  October 1, 2011_.

So how do we get EYES ON in Canada? We’ve gotta want it. Clearly, we can’t continue to accept the status quo. The numbers right now don’t add-up and we can’t simply ignore it anymore. Other media are boldly moving forward providing data that can be measured at the census level. We have to push the OOH suppliers to deliver more exact, and credible numbers. Does a TSA at eye-level get more impressions than a 10’x20’, 150ft away, on the top of a building? We know they can’t be the same, so why do we accept it?

EYES ON will not get us all the way there, but it might be a way to get us on the right road.