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Fuelling the Growth of OOH through the Power of Numbers!


Gideon Adey



Gideon Adey

Gideon Adey

26 February . 4 min read . Opinion

As an OOH practitioner of more years than I’d care to mention, I’ve always been fascinated in the planning and selling of OOH campaigns using the best tools, data and information available – mostly because I find that kind of thing interesting, but more usefully for my various employers over the decades, as it’s a great way to sell OOH to advertisers.

When I first started out I’d be arguing why ‘my’ panels were better than my competitors, but quite soon that developed into arguing as to why our medium – as a collective – was better than TV or Press, the dominant channels at the time (I really am showing my age there). I’d use geodemographic data from the census, consumer spending reports, government surveys, transit statistics – anything  I could get my hands on, to show that the campaign I was proposing would reach the target audience more efficiently and effectively than other media could.

Thirty something years on, that same challenge remains today for the OOH industry,  and we need the contemporary tools and data to rise to that challenge – to compete against other media for both local budgets and national branding campaigns. Our medium has always had the power as a hyper local targeted yet public medium, alongside being the last true national broadcast medium for high reach to huge audiences – we just need to be able to prove it in the language that advertisers understand today.

So, over the years, I grew into a bit of an audience geek.

I love billboards, street kiosks, mall screens, bus stops, and train wraps – the whole public, people’s medium. But to sell OOH, not as a collection of panels, but as a defined and relevant audience to advertisers, we need to demonstrate the power and value of our medium to advertisers and agencies using the language that they think, plan, and trade in – comparable, quantifiable, credible, audience metrics. Whether they buy OOH in more traditional ways or automate their buying through the programmatic ecosystem, they need data to make those decisions, and they need to be able to trust in those data – to be valuable, our data needs to be seen as a currency by buyer and seller alike.

With the rise of on-line media and the ‘measurable’ audiences that they apparently deliver, we need to be able to talk that language, whilst remaining true to the power of our medium – delivering real audiences in the real world.

Out of Home advertising doesn’t show ads to bots, spiders, click farms, and our impressions are not delivered ‘below the fold’ without even appearing on an actual screen! We work in the most trusted medium, both by consumers and advertisers and we should continue to celebrate that – ‘a public declaration is a public promise’ – the phrase works as well for describing a billboard in the people’s space, as it does for describing the vows on your wedding day – but marketeers and media agencies need the numbers to back that up against other media choices.

So, I continue to promote and celebrate use of OOH measurement and attribution in all of its forms, giving us the tools we need to compete against other media. Developing credible audience metrics is not an easy task, and it is a journey that continues to develop – but it’s a journey that we must embark upon if we wish to demonstrate our power and value to advertisers, if we wish to grow the OOH medium and to take budgets from other channels.

The World Out of Home Organization’s Africa Forum – Cape Town March 11-13.

My own knowledge of the OOH market across Africa is limited to a few territories, so I’m super excited to meet and learn from my colleagues from across the continent at the World Out of Home Organization’s (WOO) Africa Forum in March – the opportunity to exchange ideas, learn and collaborate is amazing at these events. We meet individuals and companies that ordinarily we’d compete with, but in an environment where sharing ideas from different territories allows us all to grow together. Many an occasion at a WOO event you’ll meet someone who has already solved a problem you have, whilst also being able to show the solutions you have for their problems – the atmosphere of collaboration, alongside regional and global knowledge pushes all of our businesses forward together.

I am expecting great onstage content from across Africa and the Globe, covering disciplines from across the OOH industry, to hear from industry leaders and importantly from our clients – learning what they need to make buying OOH, and even more OOH, attractive to them.

During the breaks in the day and over two evening there are amazing networking events, to meet like-minded OOH people and to share with each other the things that lead to our success as an industry. I’m especially looking forward to learning more from vibrant and growing markets across Africa  – territories that are achieving an OOH market share that the European and American OOH markets can only envy!

I’m also honoured to have been invited to host a panel at the two-day conference where we will explore the advertiser’s need for credible audience metrics across all media, and how that specifically applies to OOH. To discuss how we as an industry can address that need, and how the path to delivering for our clients will be different for every market. But also discuss where we can find common ground, common practice, governance, and the way-markers that we can all use to guide us on that journey  – and most importantly how through learning from each other’s experiences, we can collectively grow our medium together.

Gideon is a Measurement Consultant for the World Out of Home Organization – developing OOH Audience Measurement Guidelines, and in tracking the Global OOH Market size and share.

Additionally, Gideon runs a consultancy business applying over three decades of OOH analytics experience for buyers, sellers, industry bodies and OOH AdTech. Currently working for Ipsos in the UK on OOH Audience Measurement; and UniLED Software globally, promoting and delivering independent audience verification for DOOH; alongside some advisory roles.

Previously, Gideon worked for the world’s largest buyer of OOH media, Kinetic, developing Audience led Planning and OOH planning tools, helped develop the UK’s OOH Audience currency, Route, and as Chair of the UK Specialist IPAO body, he has worked to bring standards and regulation to OOH.