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Bringing Measurement to Non-Traditional OOH Media: A Case for Mobile Location Data

Ruchelle Mouton

Group Head of Marketing and Services

Tractor Media Holdings
Ruchelle Mouton

Ruchelle Mouton

24 April . 5 min read . Opinion

With continuous technology advancements, OOH is fast becoming the most measured medium globally and locally. However, for venue-based OOH there are still a few gaps – enter mobile location data!

Mobile location data isn’t a new concept to OOH and is continuously applied in ways that are allowing brands to optimise their campaigns. But the power of mobile location data is often misunderstood and as a result hasn’t been fully leveraged yet. This is especially true for non-traditional OOH formats such as venue and place-based media (think fuel stations, pharmacies, grocery stores and bars) where limited audience measurement exists.

So let’s talk about the ways mobile location data can be applied to build data-driven highly targeted campaigns, optimise campaign planning and spend and measure campaign performance.


Access to mobile location affords the ability to understand location relationships and opportunities that might have otherwise been missed. Valuable insights can be extracted from audience movements and by profiling audience behaviours, thereby improving data driven targeting.

  • Audience movements for optimal placement

People’s locations have become the best predictor of behaviour. Knowing how people move around provide important insights for strategic placement and site selection, alongside optimal messaging. By comparing historic data on how people move around an OOH site and their corresponding visits at other locations or points of interest, we are able to understand behavioural elements of people. For example, by utilising mobile location data to understand audience movements and congregation points of audiences, we gain better insights into the customer journey of specific target markets. Such critical insights allow advertisers to place ads in a more intentional way and create tactical engagements targeted towards audiences in a specific location across consumer touchpoints.

  • Micro-segmentation based on audience profiles

By mapping out location histories, we can use travel and location visitation patterns to develop customer profiles and unique segmentation that other data, such as survey data, cannot provide. Advertisers are able to extract insights on more granular levels on more refined segmentations. By cross analysing locations, for example, the Tractor panel revealed that 13% of audiences also visit McDonalds, thereby we can understand the category segment that appeal to specific audiences, allowing for focused and precise targeting.

(Credit: Tractor Outdoor)

To further amplify insights and targeting capability, location based audience segmentation can be overlayed with other data sets and points such as demographic data, spending patterns and category consumption. By drawing a sample of forecourt visitors from the Huq data and overlaying census data and other mobile studies conducted within the location boundaries of specific forecourts, data could be modeled to provide strategic audience insights on the Tractor’s Digilites network. Such insights assist in informing where, when and how to communicate messaging of different brands and products. It further empowers advertisers to build out and define audiences aligned to target markets and selecting sites highest indexed on brand or category level to specific locations.


Getting the right message in front of the right audience is the first step, but to take planning to the next frontier, the best campaigns are optimised to display ads in the best possible place at the best possible time.

  • Proximity targeting – location, location, location!

By using proximity markers, we can ring fence inventory that is near the audience we wish to target. By using inventory in proximity to key locations, we can also increase not only the chance of serving to the right audience, but also in the right spaces where we can expect our intended audiences to frequent. By finding commonalities in audiences through similarities in places frequented, we can increase our chances of serving adverts to lookalike audiences, resulting in more efficient planning and less wastage. We can then go even deeper in understanding movement towards competitor brands stores and place OOH sites near these. This allows advertisers the opportunity to intercept competitor customers during the path to purchase and redirect them towards their own stores, whether through a call to action or through price and promotion tactics. Proximity also allows for campaign extensions such as targeted mobile advertisements that allow for re-targeting that aid further in recall and conversion.

  • Timing and in the moment targeting

There are two ways that ad timing can be optimised through mobile location insights through time of day and day of week information. This is an especially powerful strategy enabled through DOOH as campaign can be scheduled at a specific time of the day at specific days of the week based on campaign objectives and or messaging.

For example, a QSR brand might want to advertise to on-the-go coffee in the mornings but change their creative midday to promote their lunch specials. Or a delivery service brand might want to target audiences on their way to work and back which means they can optimise on day-part advertisements on weekdays only. The opportunities are endless but ultimately it allows advertisers to target particular audiences more effectively, serve specific creative at optimal times and activate campaigns and using dayparting when at key points in the day.

  • Contextual relevance

More and more advertisers are realising that strong OOH creative encourage talkability and shareability, and that this requires messaging to be tailoring to the format and context. And this is where mobile location data ads another powerful element to the mix as it allows contextual insights to locations, where people visit and when. Through clever planning and creative execution, tailoring messaging to audience routines and mindsets has great benefits in driving audience resonance.


Not only does mobile location data measure and quantify exposures to a singular OOH ad or a full campaign, it can also measure campaign performance on more sophisticated statistics such as media metrics and conversion. What this means is that buyers and planners can understand what their investments are providing them in terms of their OOH exposures and how this stacks up to other media channels such as online. For example, through mobile location data and the ability to quantify OOH exposures for locations, it is possible to determine cost per thousand (CPT) on site or campaign level.

But where it gets even more exciting is that mobile data offers opportunities for development of attribution metrics such as uplift in store or website visits. For example, Tractor Outdoor, through geofencing an OOH site and a sample of stores, have been able to correlate the number of people exposed to an OOH ad that also went to a specific store to provide clients with an uplift metric in store visits. And as our understanding of mobile location data evolves, we can foresee that mobile attribution in OOH will become ever-more important to advertisers which will continue to strengthen OOH position as a below the funnel media channel.

In summary, the starting point of any media plan is build on a solid understanding of audiences to ensure the strategic objectives of a campaign is achieved. The challenge of measuring non-traditional media such as place or venue based media can be overcome with clever and smart application of mobile location data as an alternative data source that offers a high degree of accuracy and reliability. Hyper local insights allow for intentional targeting with greater precision that lead to optimised spend. Furthermore, location information can be isolated to determine conversion statistics around points of interest and correlating movement of audiences, ultimately resulting in an quantification of ROI.

Ruchelle is Head of Group Marketing and Services at Tractor Media Holdings where she is responsible for building data-led solutions that empower decision making for advertisers.

She is an experienced strategic marketer and Out of Home audience measurement expert with a strong foothold in data and analytics.

Ruchelle is passionate about driving the future of innovative and accountable audience measurement and the opportunity that technology affords to elevate the measurement capabilities of OOH.



Established over two decades ago, Tractor Outdoor is a national Out of Home (OOH) media owner, which specialises in connecting brands to consumers through its network of traditional and digital inventory, as well as its transit networks and ambient platforms. Tractor Outdoor owns one of the largest Digital OOH networks in South Africa and is a member of Outdoor Measurement Council (OMC), the Out of Home Media South Africa (OHMSA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB SA)