MTN invests in Dashboard’s OOH audit tool

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MTN, a significant investor in outdoor media across Africa, has adopted Dashboard Marketing Intelligence’s new auditing tool as its standard for out-of-home (OOH) media audits.

The multi-national telecommunications group offering voice and data communications products and services in 22 markets in Africa and the Middle East has already rolled out the tool in three of these.

Dashboard Marketing Intelligence developed the tool to conduct OOH media placement audits, thereby improving planning and buying to optimise client’s media investment.

The system developed by Dashboard still requires that the site be visited physically but utilises technology and unique software to allow clients to accurately diagnose their media placements and inform negotiations with media owners.

“Outdoor media remains one of the most effective ways that marketers can reach audiences with a creative visual message and a high degree of frequency. While it therefore still commands a large share of advertisers’ budgets – particularly in hard to reach places where impactful media options are limited – the age-old efficacy question remains: With such significant investment, how can you be sure that you are not only getting what you paid for, but also getting value for money?” said Dashboard’s joint managing partner, Justin Schwellnus.

“The answer is our audit, which not only checks if the correct material is properly displayed, but also assesses the condition of the structure and the quality of the advertisement installation, site impact, visibility, time taken to pass, nearby clutter and obstructions, other advertising in the vicinity and counts passing traffic to assess reach.

“The photographs, data and location information – collected using specialised PDA devices at each site – is uploaded automatically and maintained on-line so that it can be viewed remotely whenever the client needs to do so.”

According to Schwellnus, reliable technology and software is key to the project, as are well-trained local field teams which are directed through the software interface.

There are multiple reporting options to ensure the data client needs is accessible in the form that is most useful, and interactive maps that show the spread and placement of sites in an area, and filter for any particular site type or campaign. Zooming in on a particular site provides multiple pictures and site installation data.

Other smart features include a simple scorecard system to allow the client to quickly identify problem areas, while detailed passing traffic counts provide a reach measure for each site thus enabling the client to assess return on outdoor media investments.

The cost of licensing the tool will easily be covered by increased efficiency in outdoor media buying and sharper negotiations with media agencies said Schwellnus.

“Dashboard’s out-of-home audit methodology is a powerful tool for MTN to optimise its substantial OOH media investments across Africa,” said the company’s Nicola van Ast. “This tool is proving valuable for accurate diagnosis and informed negotiations with media owners.”

Dashboard also conducts multi-country Market Performance Reports for the MTN Group; comprising Brand and Customer Experience Tracking.