OOH Key Metrics: Discovering Blind Spots

Sep 1, 2017 6:35:50 PM

How big is your potential audience? How many of those people saw your ad? What about how many of those exposed to your messages were driven to engage with your brand? Has there been a measurable impact on sales? While there are quite of few metrics to measure your advertising spend, for now we'll focus on impressions, peak time, ad exposure, reach, frequency, and dwell time. 



For over 75 years, the industry’s measurement currency was the Daily Effective Circulation (DEC). This was the only reliable method to calculate reach for an OOH campaign. However, it only calculated traffic counts with no ability to measure demographics, audience, in-market or out-of market traveler, travel pattern, or even the position of the display. Ever since then, there has been a new measurement standard called Eye on Impressions (EOI), which was later renamed (TAB) Out-of-home ratings and most recently changed to Geopath. It changed the way out-of-home is planned, bought, and sold-- making outdoor more accountable in what they deliver.  

Impressions take the focus from the number of consumers that could see an advertisement and converts that figure to a more realistic one of the number of consumers who actually noticed the ad. While an OOH ad is likely to be noticed for 12 hours (un-illuminated: 6am-6pm) or 18 hours (illuminated: 6am - midnight), nearly a quarter of outdoor advertising’s daily audience occurs during its three peak hours between 4pm and 7pm.

Peak time


That being said, I was surpised to find very few results as  I was researching about the importance of hourly data in OOH. Considering OOH advertising revenue has grown by over 23% in the past decade, its metrics should also be comparable to what other channels are using. According to Geopath, “Hourly data enables attribution modelers to evaluate OOH alongside digital, while other media struggle to provide a quality data source for that purpose. It also enables anyone with retail traffic data, or other time-based outcomes, to demonstrate the value of OOH through a simple attribution. Not only that, hourly data gives OOH the ability to improve message relevance by time of day.”   

Imagine an OOH campaign revealing the number of impressions it gets per hour, per day, and per location.... mouth-watering right?

Ad Exposure

In digital advertising, exposure helps determine the impact it has on the brand.  By measuring exposure, advertisers are aware of the actual visibility of a display advertisement and the average time during which internet users are exposed to the advertisement.  Wouldn’t it be nice to also have an  online metric for your OOH ad?  One of the main considerations with billboard advertising is how many of those people actually saw your ad? Ensuring that an impression is in-view for enough time to make an impact is a crucial next step to making both digital and offline advertising effective.  



So how big is your potential audience? Reach is the number of individuals exposed to at least once to an outdoor ad in a given period of time.  Effective reach represents the percentage of an ad’s audience reached at each effective frequency increment. Considering high reach is desirable to obtain the goal of reaching buyers, why wouldn’t you analyze your reach as well?


There’s the saying, the more you see something, the more you want it. Well, this of course applies to advertising too. Frequency is the average number of times an individual notices an OOH advertisement during a specific period of time. It is typically measured over a four week period, but can be reported for any campaign length. While frequency is very important to the offline sales funnel, without a well-researched location it can also be useless. In order to balance the frequency effect, research the footfall (both pedestrian and traffic) in the areas where your advertisements will be sited in order to model and segment the types of consumers who will see them.

Dwell time

Dwell time is essentially the amount of time, usually measured in minutes, the average person is expected to spend in the area the ad is placed. A public transportation ad, for example, likely has a dwell time of somewhere between 5-15 minutes, or as long as people typically wait for a bus or metro. Whereas if you’re sitting in a restaurant, the dwell time would be much higher. The higher the dwell time, the more likely your ad will be seen over and over, and the higher the probability it would turn into a sale.  

Tell us, what measurements are most important to you when considering your advertising spend? Join the discussion.

Want to see how online metrics can impact your ROI and of your clients’? 

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