The need for authentic data in the transit environment

Shamy Naidu, Executive: Transit Ads™ outlines the need for authentic data within the realm of out of home advertising, especially when it comes to the transit environment.

Over the past few years we’ve been witness to an enormous growth within the transit environment in South Africa. Public Transport nodes and facilities have been upgraded, extended and added to. We’ve seen the inception of the Gautrain, the BRT and IRT systems and overall, most bus, rail and taxi facilities across the country have had a significant makeover.

Information and advertising and the way we access it, consume it and share it has also undergone significant changes. And with these changes has come the fake news, false advertising, stories that have been spun in order to propagate hatred and coupled to all of that the falsification of data and research.

In our industry we, unfortunately, come across false data more often than we should. Because of this, and also in spite of it, at Transit Ads™ we are sticklers for authenticity. All our research, our data, our statistics and numbers are verified. We do this because it makes us better at what we do, it keeps us aligned with consumer behaviour and it ensures that we consistently create and execute great campaigns for our clients. We understand that a successful advertising campaign, with success that continues long after the campaign has ended, relies on authentic data collection, research and the relevant interpretation of that data. 

Keeping fingers on pulses and teams on the ground

At Transit Ads™, not only do we quite literally keep our finger on the pulse – we have a dedicated team manning all aspects of TRANSIT.TV™ from programming to advertising to on-site operational teams, and our ear to the ground, Transit Ads™ representatives are present at transit nodes, taxi ranks, train stations and bus stations to ensure that all parts of a campaign are running smoothly. Furthermore, we constantly have conversations with our target audience.

When marketers approach us, we strategically create campaigns that are relevant to the target audience, because we know and understand these consumers. In fact, a large part of what we do revolves around research and part of it is having conversations with commuters, i.e. the people who engage with our advertising platforms every morning and every evening as they travel to and from work, school and everywhere else. We ask them what they like, what they buy (including what they like to buy and what they buy out of necessity), when they purchase, where and why.

We dig deeper and go even further and ask them what influenced a particular purchasing decision. We also ask them what type of content they’d like to engage with on our platforms, especially on TRANSIT.TV™.

Inside a taxi TRANSIT.TV™ flights to an audience that is captive for at least 20 minutes at a time – enough time for them to assimilate both brand messaging and call to action. It is also enough time for the consumer to forge or further enhance affiliation with a brand.

Brand/Consumer centric approach 

If advertisers want their brand creative and messaging to stick they need to align themselves with consumer needs. Our platforms revolve around both the consumer and the advertiser. Why? In order for advertising to be effective it needs to be delivered to the consumer in an engaging manner, at a place and time when the consumer is most open to assimilating it. Over and above knowing what the consumer wants and how he or she wants to consume your brand message, the other element of marketing success is location and placement.

Data is what we use to effectively position our platforms.  We take a scientific approach called EMM or environment media mapping. This process ensures that every single screen, billboard, Powa Towa and branding platform is placed for best visibility, maximum impact and most effective engagement.

When it entails effectively engaging with South Africa’s commuters, it is accurate data, research and authentic results that will ensure that advertising campaigns within the highly desirable transit environment are effective and successful against brand and budget objectives.