Measurability? The biggest question thrown at an OOH agency today

Guest Column: Vineet Sharma, Assistant Vice President, Brandscope India, gives a detailed account of how the need for campaign measurability started kicking in

e4m by Vineet Sharma
Updated: Mar 18, 2020 8:56 AM
OOH

At the beginning of my career, I was told that OOH has no scientific formulae to drive measurability and advertisers in the similar space had no system to acquire the ROI on their investments for OOH campaigns.

Tracking the medium was a difficult task as it lacked unified currency of measurability. As an apprentice, I mirrored this belief and sold OOH services to clients based on my trade understanding and gutfeel. Since ongoing business activities were performed in a traditional fashion, the clients too acknowledged our belief, that OOH campaigns can’t deliver measurability.

Campaign planning and site selection were largely finalized by an individual or handful of business promoters based on their trade expertise. We moved a little further in furnishing some data based on a timid study of SOV (share of voice) vs SOE (share of expense) matrix. There wasn’t much difference between pseudo measurability and effective measurability.

 Fast forward to early 2015, the concept of launching campaigns purely based on expertise was no longer enough and the demand for tangible campaign measurability took the front seat. The modern-day brand managers picked up on latest trends and started to sideline media vehicles which remained unchanged and invariably pulled pressure on OOH business.

Brands were comfortable applying concentrated focus on their target group rather than reaching a larger audience through traditional mediums. The need for campaign measurability gradually started kicking in.

Traditional ATL mediums have always had a recognized measuring matrix, and the entire advertising ecosystem was subscribing to it. The digital mediums evolved with the advanced introduction of AI and ML capabilities. Investments on advertising were now being monitored closely through sophisticated technologies and tools.

 With high agility to transform with changing times and greater consumer affinity, digital mediums have been identified as one of the most favourable media avenues for brands to reach out to their potential customers in an effective and efficient way, thus helping the digital ecosystem leapfrog to exponential growth.

 We started witnessing these trends early and pushed our boundaries to remain relevant to such changing needs. We swayed our focus from asset to audiences and started asking the very basic question to ourselves - why can't OOH deliver ROI?

 We deep dived further and began connecting the dots to create the perfect design for tangible and accurate measurability in the OOH space. We studied on what parameters is digital and other mediums being measured and pulled out a reference. That could be customized and applied to our ecosystem to deliver accurate reach numbers.

 We embraced modern technology, grabbed opportunities and got online to offline in a resourceful manner with robust data. We set up an in-house data lab and began our R&D expedition, formulated a common currency for the Out Of Home media by registering close to 85,000 media formats on our smart planning platform OOHZONE, along with dynamic site ids and geo-tagged site placement, we started planning with accuracy. With further development, we sourced available historical and presented data from varied sources (internal and external), studied audience(s) demography and their behavioural patterns while they are Out-Of-Home.

 Post collecting aggregated anonymized audience data, we began creating defined audience data stacks, which was further processed and layered on our planning tool(s), for extracting more relatable and effective Out-Of-Home media plans for better impact. With support from our in-house Data Lab team, we deployed several geo-fenced virtual polygons across high traffic junctions and key congregational points of major cities for monitoring real-time mobile traffic data within the defined geography.

 The sourced data gets further processed through an advanced neural network algorithm powered by various data cookie pools. Thus, enabling us to understand the geo-demographics details like gender and age groups and gross traffic count for location planning analytics and campaign reporting module. With dynamic traffic data, geo-pinned sites, and advanced audience analytics, we have achieved the impossible. We started delivering innovative and unique OOH campaigns with less of human interference. Brands experienced the surge in their sales and scores wherever smart OOH was deployed.

 Our entire array of tools is compatible to integrate with third-party data sources and can add an advantage for brands to plan hyperlocal campaigns with greater precision. The adoption of technologies and the optimistic approach has made it possible to deliver India's first Artificial Intelligence OOH campaign, implemented for Skoda called B2Me and Right to Breathe for Philips.

 To sum it up, challenges turn into the opportunities when agencies stop marketing and start mattering.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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