Data in OOH: Is reporting getting lost in the noise?

Digital advertising’s level of detail and transparency around Return on Investment (ROI) has led to increased demand for greater insights and ability to demonstrate tangible ROI across the entire advertising industry.

Talking with agencies and marketers about the out-of-home (OOH) industry and what data is available, the feedback is often that the level of insight every provider brings to the table when it comes to their formats is incredible. However, there is no uniform approach.

Huge investment has gone into the area of data and rightly so, given over $900 million is spent every year in Australia in OOH. The sector has seen a huge influx in big data for planning, with every operator having a different methodology, tools and data for smart audience targeting.

But one area still lacks for me - reporting. The penetration of digital over the last decade has meant broadcast and OOH have been left behind in terms of tangible measurement of ROI.

Case studies are the holy grail of OOH, but they are few and far between. Primarily because it can be difficult to distil effectiveness when it rarely gets bought in isolation, but rather forms part of a bigger marketing mix.

The biggest challenge is that there is still a significant gap in methodology between planning and reporting. With the technology available, brands deserve a better understanding of how their marketing spend is performing. And with the battle for marketing spend being so fierce, for marketers, the need to be able to measure and demonstrate effectiveness is arguably as important as the effectiveness itself.

Without a doubt, OOH is a highly efficient, highly impactful medium. Once we used to hang our hat on the phrase: “it can’t be turned off”. But with the rise of digital OOH formats and of course the move towards programmatic ad serving as we move into the future of the medium, an element of this impact has been lost.

The Outdoor Media Association’s (OMA) announcement that it is upgrading its static measurement tool MOVE (Measurement of Outdoor Visibility and Exposure) to include digital, is a positive step in the planning sphere and will hopefully provide more accurate information from a post campaign perspective.

Regardless of static or digital, accurate and transparent reporting is key for growth in the space. Whatever way you cut it, many operators still report solely on reach and frequency metrics based on a planning methodology, which is effectively a well-informed guess. Very different to the nature and transparency of online. And, as we have seen over the past year, what we assume audience numbers will be and what they actually are can change with the weather (literally), or say, a pandemic.

There is movement as the technology in OOH industry progresses, bridging the gap with online getting us closer to industry standard reporting methodologies, such as the use of eye tracking, demographic recognition technology and mobile or wifi data to track audience mobility, the latter being how we’ve tackled the issue at Revolution360 with our 360Intelligence platform.

For OOH to continue growing its share of the pie in a market where understanding effectiveness is king, I believe there is still work that needs to be done to enable consistency in reporting, not just planning metrics.

Find the article on AdNews here: https://www.adnews.com.au/opinion/data-in-ooh-is-reporting-getting-lost-in-the-noise