Online travel surveys for Austrian outdoor advertising

Compared to other media, out-of-home has always caused media planners a headache; however Austrian advertisers can now breathe a sigh of relief, thanks in part to Beacon Dodsworth.

Austrian measurement of outdoor advertising leads the world

Austria has launched the world’s most advanced system for measuring the audience of out-of-home advertising, thanks in part to the research innovations of York based data & mapping consultancy, Beacon Dodsworth Ltd.

Screen shot of software displaying street map with dialogue

Measuring the unmeasurable

Compared to other media, out-of-home has always caused media planners a headache; this passive medium has such presence, with people passing it all day via various modes of transport, but is notoriously difficult to measure.

Unable to fully prove the effectiveness of their medium, the leading outdoor advertising contractors in Austria, EPAMEDIA and Gewista, began searching for a solution to this long time problem...

Beacon Dodsworth have helped media agencies map out and measure their audience for over sixteen years, starting with the award winning POSTAR (now known as Route) research in Britain. The Austrian outdoor industry wanted a research that conformed to the latest European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR) international guidelines and were impressed by a Dutch project Beacon Dodsworth were involved in.

Back in 2009 Beacon Dodsworth, in partnership with Simon Cooper Associates (SCA) worked on The Netherlands research study, which met all the ESOMAR guidelines and gave the Dutch a successful system that effectively measures the number of people who look at advertising panels.

Austria approached SCA and Beacon Dodsworth to adapt the already existing system for Austrian conditions.

Using their TripTrax software, developed during the Netherlands campaign, Beacon Dodsworth rolled out a series of web surveys that were either self-completion or conducted by interviewers. They measured where, when and by what mode respondents had travelled the day before.

Accessed on demand, the interactive software creates routes in a quick and simple manner with respondents entering a few locations and their chosen mode of transport, the software interpolates the route based on these points. Respondents can quickly edit their routes until the correct points are recorded.

Simon Perry from Beacon Dodsworth commented:

TripTrax had been designed during the Dutch project, as no off the shelf software was available. The system is based on a bespoke version of MapVision, our sophisticated GIS mapping and analysis system. The software is designed to be simple to use, so no user training is needed but is intuitive, and thanks to extensive checking, testing and the availability of relevant help, even the most devout technophobes got to grips with the TripTrax software.

This approach allows detailed background maps to be used, showing points of interest such as shopping malls and supermarkets as well as detailed public transport information (e.g. rail, tram, bus etc.) which was handed to Beacon Dodsworth by the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), ensuring ease-of-use and aiding navigation. The ÖBB were so impressed by the results that they have continued to use the research, as no comprehensive travel survey had been carried out before.

As interviewers were not needed for all of the data gathering, TripTrax reduced costs and ensured a larger sample size was achieved for less than the cost of traditional methods.

Austria measures, the world follows

Using this exclusive technology ensures a user-friendly experience and an accurate measurement of the medium, allowing more precise campaign modelling and better targeting. This will only help to boost the Austrian outdoor industry in terms of revenue and media use, by presenting outdoor as a true, measurable and accountable alternative to print, TV or radio.

Markus Bickert, Project Manager at OSA commented:

It was the best decision we made to assign Simon Cooper Associates and Beacon Dodsworth for our audience measurement system called Outdoor Server Austria. It took some time to develop this complex system, but now it bears fruits for us. The media agencies are very satisfied with the system, because they are now able to analyse the various data and tailor the use of outdoor advertising, according to different criteria such as Visually Adjusted Contacts (VAC), frequency, reach or coverage. Only by the precise conducted groundwork of Beacon Dodsworth and SCA we currently have the world’s most advanced planning platform with integrated efficiency measurement.


Outdoor Server Austria (OSA) was created by R+C Plakatforschung und -kontrolle Ges.m.b.H. (Vienna), who have been providing audience research for the outdoor industry since the beginning of the 1990s. From 2008 EPAMEDIA and Gewista, the largest poster contractors in Austria and the shareholders in R+C, have invested around 2 million Euro to deliver the new research project.

Austrian Federal Railways is translated into German as Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB).

Beacon Dodsworth worked on this project through Simon Cooper Associates (SCA) - an authority on out-of-home advertising as well as Outdoor Server Austria and regional partners.

ESOMAR is the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research it worked with all the other relevant associations around the world to produce the Global Guidelines on out-of-home audience measurement.

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