APN's 'aggressive' data move to catapult OOH onto more media plans

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 2 July 2018
James Warburton

APN Outdoor is continuing its rapid business momentum by launching an in-house data and analytics capability.

A week after revealing it is to be acquired by out-of-home (OOH) multinational corporation JCDecaux, APN Outdoor CEO James Warburton tells AdNews it's still “business as usual” - which involves making good on business promises.

Launching today, the new 'Dn’A' offering, which has 34 billion data points, has been developed over the past three months working with data scientists from PwC and data exchange technology platform Data Republic.

In addition to using PwC resources, there are three full-time members of staff working at Dn’A, alongside its current analytics team.

The new platform is built around data points including 4.2 billion transactions in 300 merchant categories, 56 audience segments, 2,500 postcodes, 58,000 geographic areas and 15,000 Census variables.

Warburton, who says “technology is our greatest friend”, makes it clear it's about making its assets smarter, becoming hyper local targeted and driving sales – and adds that it is the company's “most significant investment” this year so far.

AdNews understands that such a move is likely to have cost APN nearly $1 million, but Warburton did not confirm.

The first phase of Dn’A draws on attitudinal and behavioural data sources including anonymised, aggregated Westpac transactional data, Roy Morgan Helix Personas, Nielsen, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and APN Outdoor to create a campaign planning and optimisation capability “based on real-world behaviours”.

More data sets will be added as Dn’A deepens and expands, with APN Outdoor research and audience insights manager Nicky Kiel telling AdNews that phase two will incorporate mobile data, allowing it to get “much more granular”.

“Going back to our February results for 2017 we said very clearly at the time that we were going to stabilise the business, then refocus and then really start winning," Warburton tells AdNews.

"The key with that is a completely new go-to-market approach which moves us from being access led, to audience led - and a massive part of that is the data and analytics piece.

“It's pretty aggressive from our perspective to roll out something as sophisticated as Dn’A in 90 days. It's been quite an extraordinary process and we had good help from PwC and the data sets we have - put together - gives us an absolute world-class capability.”

See: JCDecaux to acquire APN Outdoor for $1.2 billion

Kiel explained how Data Republic's “unique proposition” was appealing as it has such strong security - strong enough that companies like Wespac and Qanats work with them.

APN Outdoor can then sift through the data, which Warburton liked to “peeling an onion”, looking at the different layers. He also says it was key that the venture is owned and controlled by APN Outdoor.

The move sees APN Outdoor having much higher level strategy conversations with clients as it can provide more information – given it's the first time it has access to behavioural data. This then impacts the types of creative it serves up in certain areas.

“This is not about next week's brief. While we still get a lot briefs and a lot of short term transnational campaigns, this is actually about looking ahead over time and at the year ahead, working on longer-term strategies,” Warburton says.

“It takes time to pull together the right insights.”

On the question of why APN Outdoor hadn't jumped into such a data offering sooner, Warburton says it was hard for him to comment, given he only joined in January, but AdNews surmises the cost factor likely played a role. APN Outdoor also spent a lot focus and time in New Zealand in 2017.

Why now for OOH?

Off the back of the JCDecaux news, as well as Ooh!Media acquiring Adshel last week, 2018 seems to be the start of a major new chapter in an increasingly new-age outdoor advertising story.

Warburton agrees, saying it has been the year of real scale and reach between all providers.

Warburton says the push back on social media and shrinking in the TV ad spend space has also helped OOH media.

“We saw the massive push to digital and social channels, but then there was a bit of push back on that in terms of some effectiveness and environment,” Warburton explains.

“Television continues to lose audience and there are some pretty major concerns around delivery and the future of fragmentation there.”

Citing examples of connecting with commuters, Warburton says OOH has come on leaps and bounds with being able to tell stories, and now, coupled with the data play, is “becoming an increasingly important part of a client's media mix”.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus