Canadian Cities GPS Track Citizens for Outdoor Marketing Accuracy

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Canada is using GPS tracking technology to take out-of-doors marketing and advertisement to a whole new level. The first time this method has been used for such purposes in North America, the creators of the research project are hoping to use the data found from the GPS tracking to provide more accurate numbers when recording gross rating points—the data which reveals how many people are exposed to major-city advertising signage. A study done by Forum Research over the course of two years gave experts a relative idea of who was exposed to the urban marketing the most, residents of three of Canada’s largest cities (Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto) or those living up to 100 kilometers outside of them (and drove into the cities at least four days a week). The research results found that residents outside the cities had more exposure to the outdoor cosmopolitan advertising than those living in the cities. The study’s main aim was to find out more about the 3 cities’ resident travel habits and whether or not those commuting into the cities should be considered in future gross rating points systems. Up to this point, only the exposure of the in-city residents to the outdoor advertising had been considered for the marketing industry’s research.


How Did They Track That?

Six hundred participants of the nine day study wore GPS tracking devices everywhere they went within Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. The information gathered showed that those living outside the cities as far away as up to 100 kilometers commuted in most days of the week (about 4 days average) and travelled around the cities further distances and had a higher mileage than the actual city residents. Upon breaking down and discussing the findings of the study, experts in both research and media responsible for calculating the gross rating points (16 companies and advertising firms in all) agreed that non-residential commuters should indeed be considered when calculating future outdoor marketing signage data. The success of the GPS tracking method used was celebrated for its efficiency in this instance; it will in future be used in other Canadian venues to gather research data. In this particular situation, the up-to-date, trustworthy data gathered will be invaluable to the marketing and advertising agencies reliant on such rating points for the success of their campaigns.

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Katharin Stephens

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