Here’s exactly what to measure in your next outdoor advertising campaign


There is a lingering myth in the advertising world that out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns cannot be measured beyond baseline metrics. In fact, when it comes to precise performance metrics, OOH is just as measurable as its digital marketing counterparts.

Advanced planning, tracking and measurement tools allow OOH advertisers to track and isolate individual OOH inventory units, directly attribute online and offline conversions, and accurately measure ROI ( KING). And today, OOH advertisers can monitor and make onsite adjustments to optimize their outdoor advertising campaigns in real time.

With advertising departments increasingly scrutinized by their marketing budgets, it is essential that they have the data they need to support their decisions. Digital may have been the wave of the recent past, but it costs more and more as the results dwindle. If you’re looking to broaden your media mix to increase brand awareness and drive consumer action, now is the time to dig deeper into OOH. Decisions about your entire media mix boil down to performance. Here’s a detailed look at how you can assess the performance of your next OOH campaign.

Measurement methodologies

OOH is a performance channel like never before. With the right OOH media buying partner, you can understand: Was our OOH ad campaign successful? Did more people take action than if we hadn’t led the campaign? Did our campaign work and to what extent? What elements of our campaign worked best?

Advertisers typically look to two categories of high-level analytics to measure campaign performance: increase and attribution. Impact analysis uses experimentation to isolate the impact of your OOH campaign on business results, and it can be used to measure the success of a specific marketing channel versus other channels in an advertiser’s media mix. Digging even deeper, attribution analysis examines the components of OOH campaigns to determine which individual ad units perform best, giving advertisers information they can use to optimize ad campaigns.

These two approaches complement each other and can be used simultaneously. Attribution is best for daily, always-on metrics, while many runlevel elevation scans are more sporadic –– after initial experimentation to prove OOH support works.

Metrics to consider

Next to How? ‘Or’ What you measure, you must also consider What you measure.

These approaches to measuring the performance of an outdoor campaign rely heavily on a variety of different metrics, including:

  • Impressions: This is the number of times consumers see an advertisement. In the OOH industry, impressions are measured by considering the amount of traffic that goes through a particular ad unit and the results of eye tracking experiments that reveal the percentage of drivers who actually see the ad unit. Today, most outdoor advertising companies rely on the non-profit organization Geopath for all OOH print data. Geopath’s mission is to independently audit and report OOH advertising ratings across the United States.
  • Scope and frequency: Range and frequency are commonly used metrics on almost all media channels. Audience is the number of unique people in a particular market who are exposed to an OOH ad unit at least once in a given time period. Frequency is the number of times affected people are exposed to the OOH ad unit during the same period.
  • Raw Rating Points (GRP): GRP is a standard advertising metric used to track exposure within a specific geographic market. They represent the total number of impressions to market delivered by an OOH campaign expressed as a percentage of the market population. For example, a rating point or GRP means you have reached 1% of the market population. GRPs are calculated by multiplying the percentage of the market reached by the frequency.
  • Target Scoring Points (TRP): TRPs are basically just a refinement of GRPs, which only consider your target audience. For example, a TRP means that you have reached 1% of your target audience within the market population. TRPs are a quick measure of how many people in a target audience an OOH ad or campaign reaches and how many times.
  • Results: This is actually a category of metrics, but it is one of the most important because it relates directly to your unique business goals. When identifying specific outcomes to measure, first think about what you are trying to achieve. Is this a sale in store, online or on mobile? Are consumers visiting a physical location? Is it website traffic? Or are you trying to get consumers to interact with your social media accounts and create a social buzz?
  • Halo effect: Unlike the methods listed above, which measure the direct impacts of a campaign, the halo effect measures the indirect impacts (or benefits) of display on your other marketing channels. Of course, these indirect measures can get complicated, but some OOH media buying platforms make it easier – in part through direct integrations with other platforms.

The rising costs of digital advertising, coupled with the responsibility to be extremely diligent with every dollar spent, means that the pressure is on advertisers to prove that what they are doing is working. With the ability to measure the actual performance of OOH advertising campaigns, outdoor advertising should not be overlooked as a crucial part of your overall media mix. There has never been a better time to experience the performance power of OOH.