SYDNEY: Out-of-home advertising in Australia is growing strongly and new measurement approaches claim to be able to verify the sector's effectiveness with more precision than before.

Figures from The Outdoor Media Association, quoted in Ad News, show that OOH adspend increased 5.2% to A$126.5m in the second quarter, and 4.2% for the year to date.

The quarterly figures broke down between roadside other, including street furniture, taxis, bus and tram externals, on A$45.1m, roadside billboards with A$39.8m, transport on A$21.1m and retail with $20.5m.

Separate forecasts from PwC have recently suggested that the OOH sector will expand at a compound annual growth rate CAGR of 3.8% to reach $654m in 2017.

"People are spending a greater amount of time outdoors, shopping and commuting, solidifying OOH as the last true broadcast medium in today's fragmented media market," declared OMA chief executive Charmaine Moldrich.

Separately, a new study carried out in Sydney aimed to measure the impact and effectiveness of out-of-home advertising.

Posterscope Australia and Symphony Analytics & Research in partnership with APN Outdoor, used GPS technology and a mobile phone app to assess whether a 200-strong sample had been exposed to selected billboards and to check their recall and perceptions.

One advertiser was reported as seeing a 68% increase in retailer visit intention for those exposed to the ads, compared to a control group.

"Out-of-home exposure triggers attitudes and behaviours that consumers often have difficulty quantifying themselves," observed Cassandra Thomas-Smith, Posterscope Australia's Strategy & Insights Director.

But Thomas-Smith also argued that exposure could now be verified, with attitude and behaviour shifts measured, rather than measurement starting at claimed awareness.

Her comments were echoed by Eddy Hamad, Symphony's research director. "At the end of the day, clients want assurances as to whether their ads are truly memorable or not," he said.

"With our approach, we were able to leverage the GPS capability in today's smartphones to provide clients with an answer to that conundrum."

Data sourced from Ad News, Asian Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff