• Levi on OOH Collaboration, Standardization and Competition

    By Dan Levi EVP-CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor.

    Five years ago, the idea of an out of home (OOH) media platform that could deliver audience insights to help marketers plan and measure the efficacy of their OOH campaigns was unknown.

    There was a shared goal of more closely integrating digital and printed OOH planning into the broader ad buying ecosystem, thus enabling agencies and marketers to transact OOH audiences as part of digitally-led campaigns, but neither the technology nor the data were available.

    Times have changed, and the OOH renaissance is here.

    As the OOH industry collaborates with the Media Ratings Council (MRC) in the development of published standards and protocols for measuring OOH audiences, the biggest winners will be agency partners and the brands they represent.

    A collective move toward standardization and modern audience measurement will help OOH media owners and agencies compete for bigger budgets and more integrated campaigns. It will leverage the value of the industry’s shared approach to data while focusing on audience-driven planning.

    This transition to a data and audience-led approach presents tremendous opportunity, as well as risk. Here’s how and why.

    Today, while the industry works toward audience measurement standards, Geopath, the non-profit, independent OOH measurement organization, is developing a modern, unified, and standards-based system that will make OOH comparable to those used by other digital media.

    This will serve as a foundational currency for the buying and selling of OOH media.  As an organization funded and collaboratively run by media owners, media agencies and marketers, GeoPath represents the interests of the entire OOH ecosystem and ultimately places all OOH operators on a level playing field.

    At the same time, OOH companies and agencies are differentiating themselves from one another by developing their own data and planning platforms, to drive more efficiency and insights to compete in a crowded industry.

    This reimagines a decades-old manual process by leveraging data insights about OOH audiences in a streamlined way to give buyers the ability to visualize where their ads will run, know which audience segments are most likely to see the ad, and then build campaigns to measurable outcomes.

    This approach is a desire all OOH media companies and the advertising industry at large share.

    In fact, just a few weeks ago at the Geopath annual conference, Bob Liodice, President-CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, reinforced the importance of the OOH industry taking a collaborative approach to delivering consistent, transparent, and unified audience measurement currency.

    As Liodice suggests, if we share a common approach and focus on bringing value to customer, we will all move our industry forward faster.

    The various OOH media sales organizations are developing complementary solutions that provide additional insights that extend Geopath’s standardized audience measurement currency. This approach is akin to how things work in online, mobile, TV and other media sectors. It can work in OOH.

    Standardization can’t be driven by mandating the sole use of one company’s platform or solution, as this would stifle industry-wide innovation that allows companies to compete in an open and equal marketplace.

    Rather, we must collaborate via an ecosystem engineered to facilitate data sharing via interconnected systems, all built upon a shared currency like Geopath.

    I challenge others in this industry to embrace a similar collaborative strategy, not around one rigid solution, but around a common approach to telling a story about the value data and insights bring to our powerful, but not previously measurable, medium.

    Collaborative competition allows each business to focus on what makes it unique while aligning around common standards. The idea of aligning all OOH media operators, agencies and marketers around a common approach comes with risks. But with respect to all of the innovative ideas and bespoke solutions the OOH industry will introduce, the greater risk is what happens to the industry if we don’t align with an underpinning currency.


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