Ad Sales Soar on Gas Station Screens

GSTV reaches consumers where they can't speed through the ads.

August 08, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Drivers pumping fuel at a gas station are a captive audience. As they fill their tanks, there isn’t much to do except check what video is playing at the pump, and these days that video could be an ad for Pepsi or Quicken Loans, according to a story at Digiday.com.  

PepsiCo now considers GSTV to be part of the company’s video strategy following years of ignoring the medium, said Kate Brady, head of media innovation and partnerships at PepsiCo. “Because you have a captive, engaged audience [on GSTV], we see that to be stronger than what we might see on many of our digital video results and some of our outdoor, as well.”

The Spark Foundry advertising agency has reevaluated what it considers video. Over two years ago, it combined all video platforms—in-home and out-of-home—under the purview of its video team. Now, the agency gets a more complete view of the video landscape and finds opportunities to extend the reach of TV and video campaigns, which includes GSTV.

Casey Hurbis, CMO for Quicken Loans, described the company’s pricing as “fair and consistent.” GSTV streams videos and ads over the internet to screens at more than 23,000 locations across the country. Thanks to internet-based delivery, GSTV can aim ads at individual locations, allowing advertisers to use GSTV to supplement their TV and video campaigns.

It also works with companies, such as Nielsen, to cross-reference credit card data from gas stations and convenience stores, with advertisers’ first-party data in order to pinpoint brands’ ads and measure their sales impact.

As audiences tune out traditional TV ads and turn to ad-free entertainment like Netflix, advertisers seek more opportunities to reach people with their 15-second spots. GSTV has emerged as one of those opportunities, despite being historically categorized alongside billboards and bus stop signage as an “out-of-home” platform.

Faced with declining TV viewership, GSTV is angling to compete in the annual TV-and-video upfront marketplace. This year, the company has had more than two dozen meetings with advertisers to pitch for their upfront budgets, according to a GSTV spokesperson. In those pitches, the company has talked up the 93 million adults in the U.S. that it claims it reaches every month, as measured by Nielsen, a figure that is up from 75 million adults in 2018.

The real question from ad buyers though is simple: Do people watch GSTV screens while they pump gas? Yes, it appears that they do, and it’s driving sales.  GSTV performs eye-tracking studies and consumer surveys to measure viewership and claims that 86% of people watch or listen to the screens, allowing ad purchasers to sign with confidence. For PepsiCo, the question of GSTV’s viewability has not been an issue. The company has conducted brand recall and purchase intent studies for its GSTV campaigns, and the results of those studios “make us confident that it’s working,” Brady said.

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