Geopath Data Shows Renewed Value of OOH

Geopath Data Shows Renewed Value of OOH

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In its first post-Covid 19 release of data, Geopath can confidently state that population movements across the U.S. have returned to normal, that is, pre-Covid, said Dylan Mabin, President of Geopath, the trade organization that provides audience location measurement, insights, and market research within the OOH media marketplace.

Geopath just released its 2023 Annual Forecast. For the first time, it includes transit stations, scheduled fleet media (i.e., sides of buses and other forms of transportation), and a new reach and frequency model derived from observed mobile location data. The return to normal makes OOH advertising as valuable as ever.

Mabin said the new report is a continuation of Geopath’s commitment to delivering audience insights to the OOH industry through comprehensive cataloging, auditing, and audience measurement of all OOH media formats. The non-profit organization, whose 367 members are composed or media operators, agencies, and advertisers, counts Rolex, Amazon, Omnicom Media Group, Kinetic, Publicis, Ragan, and Clear Channel, among its members.

Geopath works closely with the Department of Transportation (DoT) to compile the data, collecting nearly a quarter of a million traffic counts from the government agency, some via hand counts and some via sensor data.

These newest findings also reflect the first time that Geopath has done a reach-and-frequency analysis to be able to provide insights across multiple marketplaces, including what the expected return frequency is for audience. It is also the first full year of observed data Y-o-Y since 2019, allowing for a more stable forecast overall (and less susceptible to short-term variation) compared to pre-Covid periods.

Geopath’s improved reach and frequency model aligns with observed trip patterns from mobile location data by refining how it accounts for coverage and duplication for a package of inventory. This update provides greater precision at the package level, with regards to audience coverage and duplication, for users to better understand the way these metrics build for different packages of inventory.

“That’s incredibly important because the infinite volume of audience delivery is great, but of course, you want to make sure that you know how often you’re communicating your message to the intended audience,” Mabin said, and “to know whether or not it’s going to have the frequency to make an impact further up that [marketing] funnel.”

Geopath’s new reach and frequency approach centers on observed mobile location data from smartphone applications and connected cars. Mobile data metrics, in particular, help Geopath understand how reach builds over time. However, Mabin stressed that Geopath is privacy-compliant, so attribution is not a factor in its remit to members.

“We do not do attribution by choice,” Mabin said. “We’re very strict on how we process mobile location data and work with data partners that aggregate data on our behalf.”

Because OOH is a one-to-many medium, targeting a device or individual is not only unnecessary for Geopath’s process, it is not practical. The organization is focused on how the full population moves, not individuals.

Additionally, member KPIs are infinitely broad, so Geopath parses out the difference between audience measurements to calculate quantitatively the total number of people that were exposed to an OOH execution. Geopath’s audience measurement of OOH, a $10 billion industry, helps members connect the dots in their omnichannel planning and buying.

Mabin said Geopath members have been familiarizing themselves with the new datasets since early January, when the forecast was made available for preview. Members have until April 3rd to integrate the new data into their proprietary platforms and systems, at which point the 2023 forecast becomes Geopath’s official transactional dataset for the OOH industry.

“It’s really showing the value of out-of-home,” as a channel, Mabin said of the data. Media planners can transact confidently and leverage out-of-home media buys to their full extent, and ideally, increase the value of marketers’ omnichannel plans.

All that goes into a process that helps Geopath understand population movements and audience measurement across the country.

It also uses location data and traffic modeling software to provide a stable view of every single roadway in the country, down to how much vehicular traffic is by hour of day for an average week of the year.

“We use that as a consistent baseline to be able to provide a rating for every single out-of-home asset out there,” Mabin said. “Our auditing team also goes in and confirms using aerial imagery, street-level imagery to confirm that the asset does in fact exist and where it can be seen from so that we can then connect the traffic count information to that particular asset. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to do something as simple as how many people still might see my billboard.”

Additionally, Geopath’s current generation of out-of-home media measurement has information about roadside media, place-based media such as malls and airports, and transit media, measurement enhanced by mobile-location data (again in Geopath’s use case, aggregated and anonymized), which Mabin said has transformed the OOH industry. Geopath takes as much information as it can that’s been provided with consent through data providers and can provide an understanding of how the full population moves.

“I think we had like 300,000 pieces of inventory that we audited, Mabin said. “We’ve just crossed one and a quarter million.” All of its members have access to a single data repository of all inventory and all the ratings for them. With everyone having access to the same resources when they’re planning, constituents are working from a standard of measurement.

Geopath is a 90-year-old not-for-profit organization that provides industry-standard audience metrics for out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Formerly the Traffic Audit Bureau, the organization was rebranded as Geopath in 2016. What distinguishes its capabilities is its focus on audience measurement rather than audience targeting.

Kathleen Sampey