Outdoor media has the ability to provide the advertiser with a detailed demographic profile of the expected audience they would reach using specific media vehicles. Outdoor companies provide market maps which show the distribution of their outdoor faces and the target audience profile of the zip codes in the market. The best place to purchase a billboard for a campaign would be in an area code that exhibits the demographic characteristics you are trying to reach. It is important to use traffic engineering surveys and principles to determine the demographic profile of outdoor advertising audiences. If you think about the last few trips you took in a car, how many outdoor billboards did you pass by? How many of those were in the area code where you are located?
There are systems such as the “Outdoor Demographics Tracking” that can be used to buy and sell a targeted outdoor showing. Research also shows that the type of road has a direct bearing on the percentage of people passing an outdoor advertising location within that area code. The study of traffic is not based on random theory but has come out of hundreds of studies. The traffic flow has well recognized characteristics which enable professionals to make reliable and consistent forecasts of behaviour. Billboards are typically located in high traffic areas because vehicle occupancy is an essential component of audience measurement and origins of traffic and routing are important for reach and frequency estimations. Surveys have shown that a significant percentage of traffic which drives past a billboard, does not originate in the area code where the billboard is located but originates from other area codes, which may contain large numbers of a specific target market.
By observing the vehicles that are passing by, researchers can deduct the home area code of each vehicle’s owner. This information is then compared against an independent third party data supplier. The software used for this then merges the results and by mathematically weighing the survey data, the user is provided a statistical audience profile for each billboard surveyed in the market. If an advertiser then wants to reach people from a specific demographic profile, the survey data combined with the locating of available billboards can find all outdoor locations which best meet this target market.