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Measurement Is The Key To Get OOH Media Back In The Game

MAKATI CITY, Philippines - There was a time when outdoor advertising stepped into the limelight of the media mix, being hailed as the relevant medium given the fragmentation of broadcast media and the increased mobility of the urban consumer.  Hard to believe, time has zipped by so quickly that we can pinpoint that time to a quarter of a century ago.  In 25 years, minimal strides have been made to measure the viability of outdoor, or out-of-home media as we know it.

For the longest time, measurement lived within the domain of OOH media specialist groups.  Now, more than ever, the need for measurement in OOH is a pressing need.  The simple reason is because the next medium which came in and has stolen the limelight from OOH is highly measurable.

Yes, we are talking about digital media.  Digital across both mobile and desktop. 
It's nearly impossible today to read any advertising trends article that does not mention the explosive growth in digital, particularly mobile.

Here in the Philippines, other media have taken a hit on the resounding popularity of digital.  Marketers love digital because they know two things : One, they themselves are engrossed in it, and Two, the medium can be measured.

EDSA Guadalupe six years ago

To date, the OOH advertising industry has lacked the reliable performance metrics that today's media planners and marketers seek before committing money to a placement. OOH companies need reliable data and analytics tools to demonstrate the reach, frequency and return on investment their channel can offer.  This is something which I have seen since the time I was in McCann when we took the lead in agency-managed OOH media.  Clients need the analytics in order to defend their spends in OOH to upper management.

From the time I left the agency, some years back, I have been working on an efficient measurement system which will at least provide the confidence to clients with regard to their spending in OOH media.  The approach is more intelligent in the sense that there are more data points to measure and the raw data such as traffic count is more up-to-date.

While this is good news to the clients and brands, I have expected that this will not sit well with some of the partners on the supply side.  This is simply because when placed under the scrutiny of stringent and systematic measurement, some placements should actually be dismissed and tossed out of the media plan.

Counting the traffic on EDSA.
This is not to say that the sites were awful to begin with when bought without any measurement tools.  It is just that over time, the landscape on thoroughfares like EDSA has changed.  EDSA for example is now becoming a dark corridor of condominiums in some parts.  What was a highly visible billboard back in 2008 is no longer as effective now.

The tools are now here to justify client spending on OOH and, put OOH back in the game.  The question is, as has always been, "Who's going to pay for it?"

Lloyd Tronco is a Certified Digital Marketer and Out-Of-Home Media Strategist.  His experience in OOH Media spans being a vendor for OOH in the Visayas and Mindanao as well as being one of the pioneer OOH Media Strategists in the Philippines at the turn of the millenium. 

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