This month, we welcome Mike Tyquin, CEO, Adshel, Sydney, Australia.
- Please tell us about the company’s history
Adshel in Australia and New Zealand was founded just over 20 years ago as a Joint Venture between More O’Ferrall (now Clear Channel) and APN News & Media (now HT&E). APN at the time owned a number of outdoor businesses in Australia and New Zealand and some of those operated street furniture assets. More O’Ferrall were operating the Adshel street furniture business very successfully in the UK so it was an ideal partnership.
Over the course of the first five years of the company, a number of major street furniture contracts were won and significant capital was deployed as the street furniture medium was established nationally in Australia and New Zealand.
The last five years have been transformational for Adshel, due to our pioneering global firsts in digital street furniture and data for Out-of-Home, and the strong position we have built in rail, as well. Our approach to innovation has allowed us to capitalize on our incredible position where we reach more than 92% of Australians and 85% of New Zealanders each fortnight.
In late 2016, HT&E bought out Clear Channel, and Adshel became 100% owned by HT&E, a diversified Australian media company with a great position in, and understanding of, the Australian media sector.
- What is your personal background and what enticed you to join Adshel?
I started in the industry in 1993 working for my father Brian (recipient of a FEPE Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017) so had a great introduction to the business and have always had him as a wonderful mentor. Interestingly, one of our family businesses was a street furniture business that we sold to Adshel in 1999, so it has been a full circle for me coming to work here.
In 2002, our family outdoor business formed a joint venture for part of our billboard business with EYE Corp and at the same time I joined EYE Corp as General Manager for South East Asia, across operations in Indonesia and the Big Tree Outdoor joint venture in Malaysia. It was a great learning curve for me and we had good assets in strong markets. We added the Singapore Changi Airport contract in 2006 and were able to reinvent that asset by introducing Digital Out-of-Home, the first major airport in SE Asia to do so.
I took the role as CEO for EYE Australia and New Zealand in 2007. EYE had a fantastic set of assets across billboards, retail and airports. The pioneering work we did with digital out-of-home – particularly in the retail and airport environments – was quite something at the time.
After I left EYE in 2012, I did consulting work and one of my clients was Adshel and the then CEO Rob Atkinson offered me the Chief Commercial Officer role, which I was happy to take, given the opportunity I could see for Adshel to start and ramp-up its capability and position in digital and data. And, of course, last year when Rob moved to HT&E’s radio business, I was fortunate to be asked to succeed him.
- I know that you are a past director of both Outdoor Media Association and of M.O.V.E., the Australian industry’s measurement body. What are the major things that were accomplished for each under you?
When I replaced Rob last year, I actually went back on the boards of both the OMA and MOVE so it is second time around for me.
The high level issues haven’t changed that much: growing share and advocating the medium to advertisers and regulators, but the fine grain issues are more pressing.
During my last stint as director, we launched MOVE, which has been a tremendous success and something of which the industry should be very proud. With the emergence of DOOH, measurement is as big an issue as ever. MOVE can and will evolve to reflect the importance of digital formats and recognize the differences from static/classic formats. In a world where accountability is a massive problem for other mediums, we have an enormous opportunity to create as much of a step change with measurement for OOH as we did with the original launch of MOVE in 2010.
Regulation is a more pressing issue than previously for the industry. We have resourced the OMA in recent years to engage with regulators on the role of OOH in cities and to shape policy, rather than just deal reactively with issues, and good progress is being made.
- Were you also instrumental in the OMA’s plan to launch an Automated Transaction Platform (ATP) to create a one-stop hub for the buying and selling of Out-of-Home Australia across all formats? How has that worked out so far?
The ATP – now APP (Automated Proposal Platform) – decision recognises that we have to make OOH simpler to plan and buy. We were very fortunate to have good input from the media agency community on what should be in (and out of) scope for stage one.
Currently we are in agile development and some testing by agency groups is underway with encouraging feedback. All going well during 2018, we will have a platform that can streamline key workflow elements on both the buy and sell sides.
- Adshel offers both street furniture screens and other DOOH screens. How many digital screens do you have of each? What percentage of your overall OOH is digital?
Adshel stated its digitisation through a deployment into the Sydney Trains network (Australia’s largest rail network) in 2014, where we now have 186 small and large format screens. Our new contract with Metro Trains Melbourne commences in April, and we will deploy over 150 new screens in that network.
In our street furniture business, we have more than 600 screens forming national networks across both Australia and New Zealand, with further deployment in both markets currently underway.
Our total digital revenues are approximately 30%, so relatively low versus the overall market, but as a consequence, we see upside versus the market in coming years.
- Have you been converting many OOH displays to digital? Please tell us how that is going and the types of hurdles that you meet and have had to overcome.
All of our street furniture deployment has been upgrade/conversion of poster sites. This has brought with it a fair degree of difficulty, mainly in relation to urban planning and road authority approval where we have planning schemes and road safety regulations that at best can be considered a challenge. We have heavily invested in our urban planning resources and capability and engaged with regulators, not just on site approvals but also to have planning policy and schemes amended.
The other element is the placement of our screens at street level. Street Furniture digital is quite different to other OOH screen formats, with the need for IP rated, securitized displays that are incredibly physically robust and technically durable and, at same time, provide HD and UHD grade display that advertisers and consumers engage with so well. There is a limited number of suitable suppliers, so product access and cost has also been a consideration.
The rail deployment has been a combination of conversion and new assets. The rail environment is relatively simple by comparison, with the rail network operators providing commercial and access rights as well as all approvals and, in addition, power and services are readily available.
- You seem to deal especially with six different consumer segments. Your website says that they are representative of your diverse audience. Tell us about them.
Adshel has undertaken extensive research into audiences to help brands better communicate with their target audience. Our segmentation work differentiates on many characteristics, including family type, education, disposable income, etc.. We have found that what is of most value to our clients is research that challenged their assumptions around where audiences lived, what they consumed and where they travelled. A desire to be able to share our audience insights with clients was the basis of the Adshel Tribes consumer segments work.
The six Adshel tribes identified from research were The Fashionistas, The Mobile Millennials, The Socialites, The Yummy Mummy, The Modern Grocery Buyers and Premium Professionals.
This research was also combined with Helix Personas data to uncover behaviours around how audiences moved through their days: from home, to work, to play and shopping. For example, we have been able to clearly demonstrate to brands that campaigns can be significantly more impactful – eg. if the campaign is designed to influence shopping behaviour – when the brand communicates to audiences where they shop, rather than where they live.
- These groups are all fairly or very affluent. What is the average income in Australia and what is considered the cut-off re being considered affluent? I’m sure many advertisers, e.g. McDonald’s, still want to reach the non-affluent. What about these?
Household income is one demographic measure but other insights into the elements that drive behaviours of certain audience segments are vital for most of our advertisers, and yes, brands want to target a large range of audiences, across a range of incomes and other segmental approaches as well as locations. We then connect the brands with the audience they identify with, formed by our broad range of data sources (everything from publically available ABS data to complex bespoke research), according to where they live, work and shop.
- Adshel is the only OOH media partner of Roy Morgan’s Helix Persons. What is that and how do you use it? Our partnership with Helix Personas started in 2014 and is an important pillar in our data set. Helix is a geo-digital psychographic segmentation tool that includes demographics, lifestyle, attitudes, behaviours and values, Helix segments audiences into seven communities and 56 personas that forms a base current from which to identify audience segments.
Adshel’s locations are ‘Helixed’ to map audiences to Adshel’s assets Australia-wide, so we have detailed audience profiles of each one of our 22,000 locations.
- You did a neurological study showing that contextually relevant advertising is 19% more effective. Than what? Can you explain? Can you give an example?
We wanted to measure exactly what the impact of context is on the effectiveness of advertising, given that a core benefit of DOOH is its ability to be contextually relevant; to connect with consumers at the right place at the right time with the right message.
We decided to use neuro testing as the methodology and looked at a variety of time/place/message triggers and found that campaigns that made use of context were 19% more effective than campaigns that were not contextually relevant. Our research also found that when comparing non contextually relevant ad creative, to contextually relevant campaigns, the contextually relevant ones delivered 20% greater visual attention, 16% greater emotional intensity for audiences, 32% higher engagement and 17% more memory encoding.
- I liked reading your Jan./18 People Watch showing Five Emerging Trends for 2018. Why do you make People Watch open to everyone to see consumer information and trends?
At Adshel, we are the intersection of a few interesting spaces – obviously OOH but also marketing and media more broadly, consumer technology, transport and infrastructure, cities and government. We are across a range of trends and issues and are engaged in discussions with advertisers, cities, transport operators and consumers about the issues that impact them, and we believe we have a role in starting and connecting conversations. If we can share some of the data, insights and trends, and people can take something from that or want to talk with us further, then we are up for the discussion.
- I know that special builds are offered through your Adshel Immerse. How often do you get asked for special builds? Can you give us an example of a recent one and how it is being used?
At any point in time, we would have five or six campaigns running with some element of bespoke or special builds. Clients really like being able to build something to engage audiences at street level, and our council and city partners like them as well, because they add to the cityscape and break up people’s daily commute and routine.
In 2017, we put together an award-winning series of 16 builds for the University of Melbourne that represented a walking tour showcasing new technologies and innovations. It was an incredible campaign. One of our best!
- What is Adshel’s Adsmart and how is it used?
Our neuro science work tells us that contextually relevant ads are 19% more effective – this is a clear and obvious benefit for clients of DOOH – but to access the capability, we needed to make it simple for clients to leverage content. So we developed Adsmart as a self-service portal to allow clients to manage their creative content.
Adsmart is particularly good for campaigns where clients want to use the digital format dynamically but need to have creative that has new elements developed and delivered during the campaign period. As an example, we have had media and news organizations use the platform, so they could manage and align news headlines across both DOOH and their other platforms.
- How long have you been using solar panels to power your displays? On which are they used and on how many?
More than 3,000 of our bus shelters are powered by solar. Electricity in Australia is expensive in supply and, more than that, it is in fact not viably accessible for many of our locations. Solar technology has come a long way in recent years and we are very positive about it as a power source.
It is clearly also about our responsibility for our impact on the planet. One of the clear downsides of digital is power consumption, so working towards solar solutions with sufficient localized capacity to support a digital screen at a bus stop is on our radar.
- Whose CMS do you use and why?
We are well down the track with a full implementation of Ayuda, including its Splash player. We did a huge amount of due diligence on the right enterprise platform for our business in 2016 and wanted ideally to go with a solution that integrated as much of our business platform as possible. Ayuda provides that for us.
- Adshel has invested more than $3 million is advertising measurement research, and I see that Adshel’s OOH reaches 92% of Australians over two weeks. Tell us about the measurement system(s) that you use and why?
Adshel provides a huge broadcast network and, clearly, when we are planning campaigns across 22,000 advertising touch points, we need to be able to demonstrate audience delivery. The primary way we do this is using MOVE, which can generate total contacts, reach and frequency for 112 demographics and is the audience measurement currency in Australia.
We also supplement measurement with data and research including Roy Morgan Helix Personas, campaign effectiveness research, bespoke research including Path-to-Purchase numbers and neuro research. Each piece of research is designed to provide a deeper understanding of Adshel and its audiences. This forms the basis for Adshel’s audience delivery, demonstrating our real and growing audiences – and we are also very focussed on impact and effectiveness to demonstrate the ROI.
- What are your expansion plans from now to 2020?
Street furniture is a great OOH format, with its scale coverage and audience delivery potential that combine with its proximity to, and engagement with, commuter audiences.
Our core street furniture business has huge potential for further digitization. 2018 will see our national networks in both Australia and New Zealand expand, as we continue our process of poster conversion. The addition of new geo- location data and opportunities for more flexible campaigns – by time, day and location – will provide advertisers with even better ways to use street furniture for both broadcast and targeting in a way that other roadside formats simply cannot.
We are also very focussed on the Metro Trains Melbourne deployment in April that, with Sydney Trains, will deliver a combined audience of more than 1/3 of all Australians. Delivering the MTM program and driving growth into the rail segment is a big opportunity for our business over the next few years.
- I notice that every Adshel employee gives annually to a charity of his/her choice, with a total donation last year of $50,470. going to charities in Australia and New Zealand. How is that organised?
Adshel provides $250 per staff member for them to directly donate to a charity of their choice. We handle the paperwork and the payment so it is very easy. Our staff have a lot of personal interests and they work very hard, so it’s a very effective way to support their giving and charity support. We also provide staff with a well-being day, which many choose to take as a day to support a cause or charity.