Can Mobile Measure OOH Media Exposure?

IMMI.jpgCan mobile devices enable the measurement of out-of-home media exposure and conversion?

That’s what research firm IMMI is betting on. Today at the ARF’s Audience Measurement 2.0 conference, the company’s co-founder Amanda Welsh, walked us through a new product that will debut this fall.

Here’s how it works: An audience panel’s mobile phones are pinged for a 10 second duration every 30 seconds (these durations can be varied). The ambient sounds of whatever setting they’re in are monitored. If OOH advertising audio is detected (radio, TV or closed network systems), these sounds are matched to the corresponding ads. Additionally, a small device called a beacon is plugged in next to the TV the panelist uses most often to monitor their viewing habits. IMMI can track not only ad exposure, but also take a stab at coming up with conversion figures. In tests, the company claims panelists exposed to ads for the movie “300” converted at a rate of 9 percent, for example, while non-exposed conversion was c. 2 percent.

The pings pick up other data as well, such as the phone’s battery level, and even whether or not it’s plugged into a charger.

Interesting…and, of course, flawed. Overall, I’m betting men, who tend to carry mobile devices in pockets and on belts, would be imminently more trackable than women, who are more inclined to bury the thing in a handbag. Depending on the size of a panelists home, would a charging device be within range of the beacon? What if a family member’s watching the set, but not the actual panelist? What about lost and left-behind cell phones? There are a myriad of variables that could skew the data. Or is the answer that at least it’s better than nothing?

Interesting solution to a complex problem. We’ll be following up with more on the topic.

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