News | Published April 16 2020

Talon Outdoor’s Ada platform maps movement of UK population during Covid-19 pandemic

Talon Outdoor is an independent out-of-home [OOH] media specialist and a significant player in its industry. Using analysis from its data management platform Ada, Talon has been able to trace how the UK population has been moving throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ada receives billions of anonymised location data points each week, which then feed into smart algorithms and create insights into UK audience behaviours. Aggregated on a weekly basis, Ada can identify changes in roadside traffic and footfall to specific points of interest, as well as public transport usage. These insights typically provide information which can then be used to make more informed marketing decisions, but during the pandemic it can be alternatively used to map real people’s movements during these unprecedented times and paint a picture as to how the UK population has responded.

Providing a comprehensive view of the UK across all OOH formats, Talon has sought to share Ada’s insights to support the wider OOH media industry through collaborative working during the crisis.

Unveiling Ada’s findings on its own company website, Talon revealed that the first two weeks in March showed above average movement among the UK population before it dramatically declined in the third week of March [commencing March 16] by 21 per cent nationally. Ada’s findings also indicate that London was ahead of the curve in reduced population movement.

The analysis showed that almost all OOH environments and brick and mortar business premises experienced above average footfall until March 16.

Despite the risk levels for the virus being raised to ‘high’ on March 12, Ada has shown that large volumes of people were still leaving their homes right up until March 22.

By the third week of March, overall UK population movement was down by 21 per cent, with movement in London dropping by 25 per cent.

Roadside audiences in out-of-home media zones across the UK dropped by 11 per cent, with London once again declining faster with a 19 per cent decrease.

Ada also detected a fall in journeys on the London Underground and National Rail Networks in the week commencing March 2. London Underground footfall fell by 11 per cent that week, with National Rail journeys declining by two per cent.

There was, however, an increase in rail usage in the week commencing March 9, which Talon suggests could be fuelled by workers travelling back to work to retrieve equipment needed to begin working from home.

Following the brief increase, for the week commencing March 16, Ada showed that rail footfall decreased by 26 per cent compared to the baseline. London Underground equally saw a sharp decrease in footfall of 45 per cent.

Interestingly, while overall visits to key places of business began falling from the beginning of March, Ada insights show that supermarkets and shopping centres experienced above average footfall for the first two weeks of the month.

Movement in these zones saw their drop-off in the week commencing March 16, where Ada showed that activity in shopping centres had decreased by 31 per cent, while supermarkets saw a 15 per cent drop in footfall over the same period.

Ada's next data review will map out the week commencing March 23, when the UK lockdown began, which is likely to throw up some fascinating results.

Addressing Talon’s use of Ada insights, group strategy director, Sophie Pemberton, said: "This is a time of unprecedented change. Through Ada we are able to create a holistic view of the UK population, analysing data by format to truly understand the impact of Covid-19.

"Sharing these valuable insights with the industry will hopefully help us all to manage these uncertain times. We will continue to analyse the data and publish our findings."

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
April 16 2020

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