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What is Parsempo and how is this platform being used to enhance audience measurement in South Africa?

Avi Schapiro

Co-Founder & CEO


Avi Schapiro

Avi Schapiro

24 April . 11 min read . Opinion

Parsempo is a technology venture backed by Nielsen, the global leader in audience insights, data and analytics. The Parsempo solution is an AI-powered performance marketing, communications and programmatic advertising platform for Digital Signage and Digital out of Home.

Aside from network management the Parsempo platform incorporates innovative technologies like sensory fusion, artificial intelligence, or machine learning to collect and analyse data on audience behaviour and engagement. Such technologies can provide more accurate and granular insights into the preferences and demographics of viewers, which would help advertisers, media companies, and other stakeholders make better-informed decisions about their target audience, ad placements, and content development.

Parsempo is revolutionising the industry by partnering with top-tier brands, agencies, and system integrators in South Africa to transform their businesses into data-driven powerhouses. By leveraging cutting-edge Digital Signage and DOOH technologies, Parsempo not only streamlines operational costs but also unlocks unprecedented revenue opportunities for its clients. This groundbreaking approach positions Parsempo as a trailblazer, enabling its partners to excel in today’s competitive landscape.

Outdoor VS Indoor

When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of Out of Home (OOH) and Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising, one important distinction to make is between outdoor and indoor media.

Outdoor media refers to advertisements displayed outside, such as billboards, transit shelters, and digital screens in public spaces. Indoor media, or place-based media on the other hand, includes advertisements displayed inside contextually defined environments such as in malls, hospitals, airports, ride sharing and other commercial spaces like retail.

The difference between the two lies in the way people interact with the advertisements. Outdoor media is typically more passive, as people may simply glance at a billboard or screen as they pass by, whereas indoor media offers a more engaged audience, as people are more likely to spend time in commercial spaces and actively seek out information or entertainment on indoor screens.

 As a result, measuring the effectiveness of these two types of D/OOH media requires different approaches, with outdoor media typically relying on metrics such as Reach and Frequency, while indoor media requires a more in-depth analysis of engagement and interaction data.

Overcoming the Limitations of Mobile Data in Measuring D/OOH Advertising

Mobile data has become a widely-used measurement solution in recent years. The sad truth is that mobile data alone presents a number of limitations and inaccuracies, particularly in indoor environments and due to increasing privacy concerns. The following points explore the challenges of relying on mobile data for D/OOH measurements.

Challenges in Indoor Measurement

GPS technology, a primary source of mobile audience data, can be inadequate for measuring D/OOH advertising. The weakness or absence of GPS signals indoors and the resulting inability to accurately capture individuals’ movements and behaviour within specific indoor environments call for the integration of other technologies.

Impact of Privacy Changes on Measurement Accuracy

Privacy measures implemented in Apple’s iOS 14 and Google’s Android operating system have made it more difficult for third-party apps to access users’ location data. This, combined with ad-blocking software and virtual private networks (VPNs) that can mask users’ true locations, raises concerns about the accuracy of mobile data for outdoor D/OOH measurement.

 Marketers can address these challenges by exploring alternative data sources or measurement methodologies less reliant on mobile data, such as geospatial analytics, foot traffic tracking, or physical site surveys. Combining these different data sources can offer a more comprehensive understanding of consumer behaviour, improving decision-making for both indoor and outdoor D/OOH advertising measurement.

Inaccurate Viewer Positioning

 Mobile data struggles to accurately identify a viewer’s position in relation to the D/OOH media field of viewability. A user’s mobile device may register as being near a D/OOH display, but if the device is behind the display, the user cannot see the advertisement. Despite this, mobile data would count the user as an impression, inflating impression counts and skewing metrics such as Reach and Frequency. To address this issue, marketers can employ additional technologies like camera-based audience measurement or gaze tracking to better understand viewer positioning and ensure only visible impressions are counted.

 While mobile data has been a popular solution for measuring D/OOH advertising, it presents limitations in indoor environments, privacy concerns, and inaccurate viewer positioning. Marketers can overcome these challenges by incorporating sensory based measurement. By using a combination of different measurement methodologies, marketers can achieve a more accurate understanding of how their D/OOH advertising is received by audiences, enabling better-informed decisions and improved campaign performance.

 Revolutionising D/OOH Advertising with Enhanced Engagement Analysis

Traditionally, measuring the performance and effectiveness of D/OOH advertising campaigns has relied on methods such as mobile data, surveys, observational studies, statistical models, and guesstimations. However, recent advancements in technology have given rise to sensory-based measurement, a game-changing approach that offers numerous advantages over these traditional methods.

Increased Accuracy and Precise Engagement Metrics

One of the most significant advantages of sensory-based measurement is its increased accuracy. Traditional methods like mobile data and surveys often suffer from biases, incomplete data, and subjective interpretation. Sensory-based measurement, on the other hand, employs technologies like computer vision, facial detection, Vehicle detection, heat mapping, Beacons, and Wi-Fi can help overcome these limitations, providing more precise D/OOH measurement to capture real-time data on audience engagement, making it a more objective and accurate method of measurement. By determining how long and how intently consumers look at an advertisement within the field of viewability, advertisers can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Real-time Data Collection and Analysis

Sensory-based measurement allows for real-time data collection and analysis, enabling advertisers to make timely adjustments to their campaigns to optimise performance. Traditional methods like surveys and mobile data often require a longer time to collect, process, and analyse, leading to delayed insights and missed opportunities for optimisation. With sensory-based measurement, advertisers can monitor campaign performance continuously and make data-driven decisions to improve results.

Enhanced Audience Profiling and Contextual Relevance Assessment

Sensory-based measurement technologies like computer vision and facial detection can provide in-depth audience profiling by capturing demographic information such as age, gender, and ethnicity. This level of granularity is difficult to achieve with traditional methods like surveys and mobile data, which often rely on self-reported information or extrapolated data. By offering a more comprehensive understanding of the target audience, sensory-based measurement enables more precise targeting and effective messaging. Furthermore, by understanding how consumers interact with the ad in its surrounding environment, advertisers can optimise their campaigns to better resonate with their target audience in contextually relevant ways.

Improved Consumer Privacy

While mobile data has been a popular method of measurement for OOH advertising, it often raises privacy concerns due to the collection of personal information from consumers’ devices. Sensory-based measurement, on the other hand, does not require the collection of personal or identifiable information, making it a more privacy-friendly option. This can improve consumer trust and brand reputation in an era where data privacy is increasingly important.

Measuring Emotional Engagement and Ambient Impact

One unique advantage of sensory-based measurement is its ability to measure emotional engagement with OOH advertising. Technologies such as facial expression analysis can provide insights into how consumers feel when they encounter an advertisement, allowing advertisers to evaluate the emotional impact of their campaigns. By understanding how their ads affect consumers within the field of viewability, advertisers can design campaigns that leave a lasting impression and contribute to brand awareness and recall.

Granular Insights on Dwell Time, Consumer Behaviour, and Performance Across Multiple OOH Media Formats

Measuring engagement within the specific field of viewability of D/OOH media enables advertisers to gather granular insights into dwell time and consumer behaviour. By understanding how long consumers spend looking at an ad and how they interact with it, advertisers can fine-tune their campaigns to maximise engagement and drive the desired consumer actions.

In addition, sensory-based measurement offers the advantage of comparing engagement levels within the field of viewability across multiple D/OOH media formats, such as billboards, transit signs, and digital screens. This enables advertisers to identify which formats perform best for their specific campaigns, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively and optimise their overall D/OOH advertising strategy.

Traditional methods like mobile data and surveys often provide less detailed information on consumer behaviour and struggle to provide comparable insights across different media formats, limiting their ability to inform strategic decision-making.

It’s important to note that raw data on its own is often meaningless without the ability to draw insights from it. Raw data is typically unstructured and messy, making it difficult to identify patterns or draw conclusions without the use of advanced analytical tools.

Some of the work we do at Parsempo is developing AI and machine learning models that analyse raw data to identify patterns and trends that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. For example, these tools can identify the most effective times of day or days of the week for displaying D/OOH advertisements to specific audiences, helping companies to optimise their campaign planning and improve ROI.

Without the ability to draw insights from raw data, companies may be missing out on valuable opportunities to improve their D/OOH advertising efforts. By adopting a solution that leverages AI and machine learning, companies can make more informed decisions, improve campaign performance, and ultimately achieve better results.

The Impact of Data on D/OOH Media Owners and Pricing: Embracing a Data-driven Approach

 Data has become an increasingly important factor in the D/OOH advertising industry, shaping the way media owners and advertisers make decisions and set pricing. Here we will explore the differences between D/OOH media owners who sell without data versus those who leverage data, and the effect of data on pricing.

 OOH Media Owners Selling without Data

 Traditionally, D/OOH media owners who sell without data rely on factors such as location, ad format, and general audience information to set their prices. This approach may lead to the following challenges:

  • Inaccurate Pricing: Without precise data on audience demographics, reach, and engagement, media owners may struggle to accurately price their D/OOH ad spaces. This could result in either overpricing or underpricing, which can negatively impact revenue and return on investment (ROI) for both media owners and advertisers.
  • Limited Insights for Advertisers: Advertisers working with data-deficient media owners may face difficulties in measuring the effectiveness of their campaigns and identifying the most valuable ad spaces for their target audience. This could lead to suboptimal ad placements and diminished campaign results.
  • Competitive Disadvantage: As the industry becomes more data-driven, D/OOH media owners who do not utilise data may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. They may struggle to attract advertisers who demand data-backed insights and pricing strategies for their campaigns.


OOH Media Owners Selling with Data

On the other hand, D/OOH media owners who embrace a data-driven approach benefit from the following advantages:

  • Accurate and Dynamic Pricing: By leveraging data on audience demographics, reach, engagement, and real-time demand, media owners can set accurate and dynamic prices for their D/OOH ad spaces. This enables them to optimise revenue and provide more value to advertisers.
  • Enhanced Insights for Advertisers: Data-driven media owners can offer advertisers valuable insights into audience behaviour, campaign performance, and ad space effectiveness. This helps advertisers make informed decisions on ad placements, targeting, and messaging, leading to more successful campaigns and better ROI.
  • Competitive Advantage: Media owners who utilise data in their pricing and selling strategies gain a competitive edge in the market. They can attract advertisers seeking data-backed insights and offer innovative, performance-based pricing models, further differentiating themselves from competitors.


The Effect of Data on Pricing

Data has a significant impact on D/OOH pricing in the following ways:

  • Premium Pricing for High-Value Ad Spaces: Data-driven media owners can command higher prices for ad spaces that reach larger or more targeted audiences, or demonstrate higher engagement levels. This is due to the increased value these spaces provide to advertisers.
  • Performance-based Pricing Models: With access to data on campaign performance and audience engagement, media owners can offer performance-based pricing models. This allows advertisers to pay based on the actual results generated by their campaigns, ensuring a better alignment of costs and returns.
  • Dynamic Pricing: Real-time data enables media owners to implement dynamic pricing models, adjusting the pricing of D/OOH ad spaces based on real-time demand and value. This can optimise revenue for media owners while offering advertisers more flexible pricing options.


The Emergence of Programmatic Advertising and Performance-Based DOOH in South Africa: Future-Proofing Businesses with New Technologies

South Africa is in the early stages of adopting programmatic advertising in the Digital Out-of-Home (OOH) market. As forward-thinking media owners recognise the need to future-proof their businesses, they are focusing on data-driven strategies, investing in platforms and technologies, and preparing for the upcoming shift to performance-based programmatic advertising.

Adopting Programmatic Advertising in South Africa

The South African DOOH market is gradually embracing programmatic advertising, which automates ad buying and selling, increasing efficiency and enabling better targeting.

 Media owners are investing in platforms and technologies that cater to the evolving needs of advertisers, ensuring they stay competitive by offering more effective, data-driven campaigns. Data serves as the essential foundation for targeted, personalised, and dynamic advertising, addressing the evolving consumer landscape.

Transitioning to Performance-Based Programmatic DOOH

Progressive media owners are not only adopting programmatic advertising but also recognising the potential of performance-based programmatic DOOH. This approach focuses on measurable outcomes, aligning costs with returns, and incentivising better ad creative and placement.

 Performance-based programmatic advertising offers increased accountability, transparency, and a balanced distribution of risk and reward between advertisers and publishers, ensuring that businesses remain relevant and competitive in the rapidly evolving advertising landscape.

 The Impact on Advertisers and Media Owners

Advertisers are starting to recognise the advantages of programmatic and performance-based DOOH advertising and are demanding to work with media owners that provide these capabilities. Those who invest in platforms and technologies to future-proof their businesses are likely to thrive, while those who don’t adapt may be left behind. By meeting the growing expectations of advertisers, media owners can secure their position in the industry and drive innovation.

Data: The Key to Future-Proofing DOOH Advertising

 Data is crucial for both programmatic and performance-based programmatic advertising in the DOOH market. Media owners must invest in data-driven strategies and technologies to fully harness the potential of these advertising approaches. Data enhances targeting, personalization, and enables measuring performance and real-time campaign optimization. By establishing a robust data infrastructure, media owners can navigate the complexities of programmatic advertising and drive the industry towards a more accountable and performance-driven future.

 Final thoughts

 South Africa is on the cusp of a significant transformation in the OOH advertising landscape, driven by a shift towards programmatic advertising and an emphasis on data-driven strategies. As the market matures and embraces advanced, performance-based programmatic advertising, a focus on measurable outcomes, data utilization, and investments in platforms and technologies will give rise to a more accountable, transparent, and effective OOH advertising ecosystem.

Traditionally, DOOH has concentrated on selling ad spaces in prime locations, relying on physical visibility and high footfall to generate impressions. However, the industry is now transitioning from selling locations to selling audiences as it adopts data-driven strategies. Harnessing data from various sources, allows DOOH to target specific demographics and consumer behaviours. This shift from a location-centric to an audience-centric approach enables advertisers to increase the value of their campaigns by delivering more relevant, personalised, and engaging content to their target audience. Consequently, DOOH advertising is evolving into a more efficient and effective medium for advertisers to connect with consumers and drive results.

In this rapidly changing landscape, advertisers will increasingly seek partnerships with media owners who provide these capabilities, highlighting the importance of adaptation and innovation in the industry.

To stay competitive and future-proof their businesses, media owners must embrace this transformation and invest in the necessary technologies and platforms. As South Africa’s OOH advertising industry undergoes this revolution, it will ultimately lead to a more dynamic, responsive, and impactful advertising environment that benefits both advertisers and consumers alike.

Avi Schapiro, CEO of Parsempo, has over a decade of experience in data-driven programmatic advertising and marketing technologies.

Throughout his career, he has guided global brands and startups on innovation and data strategies. Holding several patents in digital signage and DOOH industries, Avi is a sought-after speaker and a driving force behind Parsempo’s vision and success in the digital advertising and marketing landscape