By Mark Braff.
Peoplecount, a Toronto-based, award winning research firm and innovative third-party supplier of audited out-of-home circulation data, recently joined the Digital Place Based Advertising Association. Peoplecount has developed circulation measurement models for many types of non-traditional out-of-home media. Many of Peoplecount’s models have been approved by auditing bureaus such as the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) and the Canadian Outdoor Measurement Bureau (COMB).
The company also provides in-depth audience insights and campaign effectiveness research to out-of-home advertising and digital signage networks. Peoplecount recently launched its Placescount Wi-Fi analytics service for place-based media metrics.
We chatted with Kelly McGillivray, the company’s president and chief methodologist.
Mark Braff: Tell us about Peoplecount and its role in the digital place-based media sector.
Kelly McGillivray: Peoplecount conducts both pre-packaged and custom audience metrics and campaign effectiveness research for traditional out-of-home advertising and place-based media. The company was established over 20 years ago in Toronto, Canada.
Our metrics are always location-based and comprise both quantitative and qualitative research. We are technology agnostic, using third-party measurement tools and techniques to best fit the location and desired metrics.
We have used video counting, Wi-Fi analytics, beam counters, surveyors and stealth observers, often combining on-site observations with modeling.
Peoplecount has worked with the Traffic Audit Bureau for many years, developing its pedestrian volume model and, most recently, measuring media audiences in over 130 transit systems.
MB: Can you provide an example of how your data is used in the digital out-of-home space?
KM: Peoplecount developed the metrics for measuring transit media audiences and have measured over 130 transit systems in the U.S., many of which include digital OOH in stations or even inside trains and buses.
We have also conducted many intercept surveys to prove the effectiveness of digital OOH campaigns in banks, C-stores, sporting goods stores, grocery stores, medical offices, transit stations and various other venues.
MB: You recently launched the Placescount Wi-Fi analytics service for place-based media metrics. How does that work?
KM: Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones will “ping” at regular intervals looking for Wi-Fi networks. By installing routers loaded with special software in venues with place-based media, we can capture and save that ping data. It is completely anonymous and non-intrusive to passers-by.
We’ve also developed techniques to clean the data (to remove staff or other devices such as printers) and to account for people not captured by the routers.
The rich, real-time data that are captured can be used to quantify audiences with over 90 percent accuracy, provide day-part and seasonal variation, measure dwell time and frequency of return visits. Footpath analytics are also possible.
The technology is very affordable and provides a level of robust data that has not been available before.
MB: Who are some of your clients?
KM: While I’m not at liberty to name specific clients, we have worked throughout the U.S. and Canada, measuring digital place-based media in malls, retail stores, banks, restaurants and bars, health and fitness clubs, university and college campuses, medical offices and transit systems.
We’ve also measured out-of-home advertising like digital mobile trucks, digital billboards and street furniture.
MB: Why did you decide to join the DPAA?
KM: I have two reasons for joining the DPAA. Of course, we wanted the opportunity to meet and interact with the many high-quality members and enjoy the marketing opportunities that are available through membership. The quarterly meetings alone are so valuable.
More importantly, I am an evangelist for transparent, accountable media measurement practices and would like to contribute to elevating the quality of metrics in this industry. I have recently been appointed as leader of the measurement subcommittee for the programmatic initiative, and look forward to contributing to that and working with a brilliant team.
MB: What’s ahead for your company?
KM: We are busy deploying our Placescount Wi-Fi analytics system in bars across the U.S. and developing new dashboards to allow clients to directly view and download metrics reports in real time. We are excited to be testing this system outdoors to measure street teams and public squares.
To learn more, visit http://www.peoplecount.biz/