Geeks In High Heels

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Peoplecount, a Toronto-based audience research company, took the honour for Most Innovative Research in the first annual MediaPost Digital Out-of-Home Awards last week in New York.

The award recognized Peoplecount’s groundbreaking development of a new metric model for counting pedestrians on city streets. The system has been integrated into the Traffic Audit Bureau’s new Eyes On audience ratings, set to transform outdoor advertising audience metrics in the U.S. when it is released in the next few weeks.

“The Peoplecount Pedestrian Model was two years in development,” says Kelly McGillivray, president and chief methodologist of Peoplecount.

It’s the US market first for the Canadian company. Asked if the ‘model’ is being recognized and used by the Canadian Outdoor Measurement Bureau, Out of-Home Marketing Association of Canada, Canadian Out-of-Home Digital Association and/or ad agencies yet, Kelly says, “TAB is the U.S. equivalent of COMB. The Model has not yet been adapted in Canada. We have not actually approached these agencies yet as we wanted to ensure the success of the U.S. product first.”

Historically, pedestrian volumes for out-of-home signage were expensive and laborious to measure, with only scarce and sporadic data available. Adapting network modeling techniques currently used in the urban design and planning fields to outdoor digital signage, Peoplecount created a cost-effective, accurate model to predict the missing pedestrian audience, which accounts for almost half of the people passing outdoor ads in most busy urban centers.

The Peoplecount Pedestrian Model has implications beyond outdoor advertising and is currently being presented to municipal planning officials who are interested in the ‘greening’ of their local transportation networks by emphasizing and encouraging pedestrian travel.

Kelly says, “Being able to pinpoint pedestrian hotspots and quantify them across an entire city is a boon for outdoor advertisers, commercial real estate, the retail industry and city planners.”

Peoplecount won the Most Innovative Research/Metrics/Planning System category over such industry heavy hitters as Nielsen On Location Media and Horizon Media. On winning, Kelly thanked the digital signage industry for its foresight in recognizing research as an award category, and declared it a “defining moment for Geeks in High Heels everywhere.”

Peoplecount provides innovative research and measurement solutions to the out-of-home advertising, digital signage and shopper marketing industries. Combining skills in transportation engineering, network modeling, on-site market research and statistical analysis, Peoplecount’s solutions provide insight into customers, pedestrians and traffic across North America. Peoplecount is a division of Transearch Group Inc., Toronto.

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