How Can We Measure Success in OOH?

Out of home (OOH) advertising has been uniquely able to evolve alongside advancements in both technology and society. Considered one of the oldest forms of advertising, OOH’s development is far from over, with the channel set for exponential growth across numerous markets in the coming years.

Traditionally, OOH has been viewed as a channel exclusively to build brand awareness, with research indicating that OOH advertising reaches 90% of the UK population each week. Technological advancements have pushed OOH beyond this, with Programmatic Digital OOH (pDOOH) allowing advertisers to activate and adjust campaigns dynamically, guided by data. Although these developments are promising in terms of integrating OOH into broader marketing strategies, a vital issue remains: how can we gauge how effective an OOH ad really is?

For OOH advertising, location has always been its context and although research into audience population, eye-tracking, and visual attention can help to identify potential impressions, these can only provide educated estimates of an individual ad’s success. A billboard placed in Stratford station in London, for example, could be seen by 14 million people in a year, however determining how many commuters have actually registered or engaged with the ad is a lot more difficult to confirm. Fortunately, just as technology has upgraded the quality and deliverability of OOH, it has also evolved how we can measure the medium’s success. In addition to enabling ad activation, pDOOH is proving a powerful tool for revolutionising measurement in OOH. Beyond leveraging data and machine learning to help advertisers to enhance their ad campaigns, programmatic allows OOH to shift into marketers’ omnichannel strategies, reshaping our understanding of how to measure the channel’s success.

With the programmatic revolution of OOH in full force, we spoke to industry experts to gauge how we can currently measure success in outdoor media campaigns and what the future may hold for the channel.

DOOH does not function solely as an upper funnel medium for branding

Measurement of DOOH within an omnichannel campaign is changing marketer perceptions about how and when DOOH should be implemented in media strategy. Measurement capabilities such as conversion lift and footfall are demonstrating that DOOH does not function solely as an upper funnel medium for branding, and that it should be considered for lower funnel performance marketing goals as well. In particular, promising results are being realised when DOOH-exposed audiences are re-engaged across other media.

Stephanie Gutnik, head of global DOOH, Yahoo

Data will drive the future of OOH

Changes in technology have enabled more detailed and accurate metrics for OOH and DOOH campaigns. For example, with digital billboards, we are now able to give advertisers the ability to track the impressions they are receiving in real time, as well as the demographics of viewers who are engaging with the creative. We can then use this data to help clients optimise future campaigns and understand what types of messages and visuals work best with different audiences in different locations. 

The future of OOH advertising is likely to involve more data-driven and targeted campaigns. With the ability to measure and track campaigns in real time, advertisers will be able to optimise their messaging and visuals to better reach their target audiences. Furthermore, the use of AI and machine learning will allow ad campaigns to be more personalised and tailored to individuals, rather than ‘general audiences’. This will allow for more efficient use of advertising budgets and better return on investments.

Alex Simpson, operations director, 75media

Understanding which locations, settings and data elements drive value

The biggest change in measurement possibilities are around measurement panels being equipped with users' location and time. This way specifically targeted out of home campaigns can be measured against exposed versus non exposed - like is done in measurement of brand and reach metrics online. This new methodology allows marketers to go more granular in the future: understanding which elements of a campaign, i.e. dynamic creative, adding data triggers or audiences exactly drive more effect or reach. On top of that, the methodology of connecting playouts data (location and time) to panel data is now also extended to additional data sets like retail purchase data or store visits. Understanding which locations, settings and data elements drive value. This is all panel based, yet through combining measured playout data to panel data it allows marketers to accurately measure the advertising value throughout the funnel.

Diederick Ubels, CEO, Sage & Archer (by Vistar Media)

Metrics previously used as trading currency are now invaluable for measurement

The introduction of programmatic technology to DOOH has enabled marketers to plan, buy, measure, and optimise DOOH as part of their omnichannel strategy, rather than as a standalone channel. This means that metrics such as impressions that were previously used as a trading currency are now being used to measure performance. Additionally, DOOH can now be measured across multiple touchpoints and buyers can make real-time adjustments to meet their goals. One of the most common strategies we’re seeing is advertisers of all shapes and sizes leveraging traditional OOH/DOOH campaigns to drive brand awareness in tandem with programmatic elements to support conversion further down the funnel. 

Chris Felton, director of data & insights, JCDecaux UK