The OAAA recently proposed an in-progress framework to establish new Impression Measurement Guidelines  because the need for recalibration on measurement in out of home (OOH) advertising has never been more apparent.
OOH sellers across the spectrum of formats (print, digital, place-based, transit) feel the need to respond to what their clients are asking for and requiring –– metrics that represent campaign delivery and the proof of OOH’s effectiveness. Buyers need to know OOH’s impact on brand business outcomes and key performance indicators. Agencies and advertisers have made it abundantly clear that solely relying on predictive data is no longer an acceptable currency. So, it’s critical for our industry to better align the data we currently use with the data of other major media channels. It’s time for us to provide accountability and facts as to what our media delivers in terms of audience.
Arriving at OAAA after a 15-year tenure on the agency buy-side at Omnicom Media Group, I am proud to have convened the ‘OAAA Data and Analytics Committee’ to bring forward these proposed guidelines. My role at OAAA is to share and facilitate discussions with Geopath, the Media Ratings Council (MRC) and other trade organizations such as WOO, 4As, DPAA, ANA, and others.
OAAA shared an early iteration of the proposed Guidelines with Geopath. This was done before sharing with any other trade associations and while the document was still under peer review. That confidential, in-progress version, which was not yet ready for publication or release and was still subject to change based on ongoing feedback, was unfortunately shared with and published by OOH Today, which certainly caused some confusion – this was indeed unfortunate, I suggest all readers take a look at the ‘Retraction and Apology to Anna Bager’ nicely written and published by William Board here , Ed.
While we have received overwhelming, significant support from the industry we know some of you still have questions. It is important that we address any misconceptions by sharing in more detail why and how the proposed guidelines came to fruition, what the new proposal of measurement means, and outline our next steps.
The proposed move to redefine ‘Opportunity-to-See’ is a way forward to ensure OOH measurement is consistent for cross-channel planning and modeling tools.
The proposed OAAA Impression Measurement Guidelines suggest that our industry consider leveraging new technologies that call for a much more rigorous, verified and clearly published classification of Opportunity-to-See (OTS).
Other mediums are measured in viewable impressions, and our proposal is intended to evolve OTS to include predicted data with as delivered metrics to help us arrive at what would be considered a viewable impression. In doing so, we can ensure that OOH will be included consistently to other channels in MMM/MTA and agency planning systems.
To shed light on our process in developing this proposal, OAAA’s Data and Analytics Committee gathered a wide swath of members, which included corporate and independent billboard and transit operators, as well as digital place-based networks. As intended for transparency and further collaboration, the completed draft has been shared with the ANA, 4A’s, WOO, MRC and other key players to facilitate conversation around modernizing impressions measurement.
Importantly, although we propose OTS as the core metric, we are not proposing we go backward and revert to OTS in the way that some in the industry remember it –– as circulation or traffic counts. Nor are we recommending we discount other forms of measurement like Likelihood-to-See or what some still refer to as Eyes On.
We are proposing that we move forward by enhancing and redefining OTS to encompass the attributes that dictate an opportunity to see in a manner that is clearly defined, transparent, methodical, and verified by a credible third party, like the MRC.
Introducing view sheds and reclassifying the definition of OTS
The proposed, new definition of OTS relies upon credible, transparent view sheds, which, in its simplest form, is defined as “the view of an area from a specific vantage point.”
Our proposal is to provide clear, published documentation of the view shed based on a visibility adjustment index (VAI). The VAI would account for all surrounding points that are in line-of-sight with that location and exclude points that are beyond the horizon or obstructed by terrain and other features (e.g., buildings, trees, tunnels, etc.). A view shed also factors in fixed characteristics such as the size, distance from the audience and position to the audience of an OOH media ad.
To clarify, under OAAA proposed Guidelines, Likelihood-to-See (LTS) remains an important component of measurement. Unlike OTS, which is based solely on fixed characteristics of each OOH display at the site level, LTS is based on variable and conditional factors that can impact the probability of an audience to see an ad. LTS in OOH measurement can take into account factors such as consumer behavior in proximity of the ad, visibility or eye tracking studies or technology, the speed of traffic on the road, time-based events and environmental factors (such as weather triggers) that cause real-time changes in audience composition.
By reporting on both predicted and delivered impressions at the site level, we can better allow for integrating impressions across OOH formats. With OTS, we can ensure that OOH data is consistent and available for cross-channel planning and measurement tools.
Modernizing measurement is a collaborative, all-industry work-in-progress
Next steps are underway. As originally intended, the document is now with Geopath’s Vision Task Force, who are charged with developing recommendations about the future direction of OOH audience measurement. It is also with the OOH Committee of the Media Rating Council, the governing body of media accreditation. We look forward to the work that they and the entire industry will do to forward the effort. They will convene the OOH stakeholders and provide seats at the table to further develop, debate and collaborate on the proposed Guidelines and ultimately determine OOH Measurement standards.
As the leading trade organization for this vibrant industry, we rely upon and welcome our members’ input and ideas. Please send your thoughts on modernizing impression measurement to:
Christina Radigan joined the Out of Home Advertising Association of America  in October 2020 as Chief Marketing Officer, reporting to OAAA President and CEO Anna Bager. From 2010 to 2016, Christina was Director of Marketing and Communications at Omnicom’s OOH Strategic Business Unit, enhancing internal and external communications, while establishing OMG as the cinema buying arm of Omnicom. She graduated with a B.S. in Communications from Towson University in Maryland.