Why Offline Media Needs Online-Style Measurability

Online publishers have a problem. They are unable to provide the transparency that the industry wants. According to Google, around half of all digital ads served up by supply platforms are never seen by people, often logging more views than actually take place due to faulty methodology, which defines a view as a pixel on screen for a second or more.

The industry has yet to adopt standards for measuring mobile viewability. So what is a brand to do?

It’s All About Tracking ROI

Might the sorry state of viewability drive marketers to turn to other types of messaging? Other fields of expertise, like email and marketing automation, are seen as cornerstone channels, because they are one-to-one, highly measureable and successful in generating ROI.

Revenue, impressions and conversions that you cannot measure or attribute properly equate to “lost” revenue.

Budget shifts also have winners. The out-of-home (OOH) sector is seeing a 4.7%  YOY revenue growth according to the FEPE, a global association of OOH companies. One could argue that this growth is a result of the industry’s adoption of better measurement capabilities, digitally connected devices and even programmatic bidding.

Reliable attention metrics are critical for mitigating risks – from the perspective of advertisers and ad platforms. You want to know if what you are doing is having an impact.

As a result, OOH measurement trade groups like Route and TAB are becoming increasingly important players in this space, helping supply partners use data to make the most of their offerings. When advertisers pay for OOH impressions, it needs to be easier for them to determine their return on investment (ROI).

After all, impressions could be running nearly non-stop, but they they won’t provide value to the advertiser if no one is looking at them or paying attention to them.

“The advertising channels that can provide advertisers with performance metrics will outpace those that can’t,” says Dominick Porco, CEO of retail location ad screen firm Impax Media “Buying advertising on video screens located inside highly trafficked venues has been an accepted means of reaching audiences for the past decade. Consequently, [OOH] has been one of the fastest-growing advertising sectors – with the one exception being online.”

Impax is betting on growth. Porco is overseeing his team’s plans to expand to 80,000 screens across the US, making it one of the largest networks of its kind by 2021.

The Power of Cross-Channel Media

Regardless of the digital advertising channel, success comes down to data. With  dependable data, advertisers and media buyers can use granular targeting to boost message relevance, thereby also boosting impact. They can also vary creative of their advertisements, depending on viewer segment signals emanating from connected devices.

Studies show that outdoor contexts add impact to media, with location being a mayor indicator of receptivity. Consumers are more receptive to ads in public than they are at home. It’s when advertising appears across multiple channels that the impact peaks.

It takes multiple exposures to a message before viewers will even begin to consider. Being present via several channels, matters a great deal. Nearly a quarter of American consumers research and engage on social media, or purchase a brand within half an hour of exposure to OOH advertising.

More Tech for OOH

Programmatic ad booking and viewability measurement may be among the most pressing of OOH’s development frontiers, but we’ll likely see more new technology headed to outdoor screens as well.

Beacon-integrated screens may soon serve up individualized “proximity marketing” creative, but audience opt-ins have been slow. While a number of retailers are experimenting with it, they struggle when consumers just aren’t jumping to share their location, due to security and privacy concerns.

Beyond its reporting implications, eye-scanning technology allows retailers to serve ads based on age and gender, along with the time and date. Add this demographic data to the intent and geo signals that remain relatively fixed in outdoor media placements, and you’re dealing with some serious relevance targeting firepower.
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