Creating New OOH Standard Measurement: Q&A With Geopath's Kym Frank

I remember Kym Frank when she worked at Zenith. But her background expands across every media channel — “always with a focus on data and insights,” she notes.

Frank is currently president of Geopath, an out-of-home trade organization formerly known as the Traffic Audit Bureau. Charged with leading the move to advance OOH measurement through data and analytics, she is using the GeoPath platform to “drastically improve the industry’s standard currency.”  Here are the details:

Charlene Weisler: What is the state of OOH measurement today? How does it compare today to the way it was measured before?

Kym Frank: Until recently, the OOH industry measured audience exposure using a combination of somewhat static data sources, such as traffic counts that were gathered from the Department of Transportation, U.S. Census data and information from the American Community Survey.  This solution provided the industry measurement of audience exposure for an average week of the year across standard age, gender, income, ethnicity demographic breaks.  



With the migration to Geopath, the industry embraced new, more granular data sets, such as mobile location data and speed data harnessed from in-dash navigation systems and connected cars.  

The new measurement provides anonymous, aggregated, privacy-compliant audience exposure at the hourly level that is dynamic throughout the year.  We also integrated thousands of incremental audience segments that encompass purchase behavior, psychographics and even usage of other media channels. 

Weisler: What is the advantage of OOH vs other media?

Frank: OOH is a unique channel that is immune to many of the issues faced by other media.  It cannot be blocked or skipped.  It is not subject to ad fraud and it is relatively immune from brand safety issues. It is not dependent upon a media platform for delivery. And it is ubiquitous - present when and where consumers are making purchase decisions.  

Weisler:  Tell me about GeoPath. What is it and how was it developed?

Frank: Geopath is an industry trade association for OOH advertising that was founded in 1933  to provide transparent, responsible measurement of the medium.  We are governed by a tripartite Board of Directors that equally represents the interests of media operators, agencies and advertisers.

Weisler:  How do you collect the data?

Frank: The core of our measurement solution is harnessed from mobile devices.  It is all aggregated and anonymized by our partners at AirSage and then modeled to represent the population movement of the entire U.S. by our partners at Citilabs. 

Weisler:  Is other data merged with GeoPath data?

Frank: Yes! We are partnered with Claritas to layer audience targeting information on top of our impressions. This allows our users to optimize their OOH spend by identifying the best placements to reach people in the market for a new car or individuals who frequent fast food restaurants.  

Weisler:  Any surprises from the new GeoPath data?

Frank: Because we are measuring people as they move throughout their day, we are often delighted to see that the profiles of audiences are much different than the people who actually live near a piece of OOH inventory.  For example, we have seen that a billboard may be physically located in a geographic location where there is a greater concentration of lower income HHs, but the resulting audience exposure is actually among higher-income individuals, just due to commuting patterns.

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