JCDecaux is the UK market leader in out-of-home (OOH) advertising solutions. We enable brands to reach consumers in airport, rail, roadside, and retail environments through traditional, digital, and programmatic advertising.

Founded: 1964
Staff: 500

Sector Experience

Out of Home
Programmatic Media

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Measurement in programmatic DOOH: what are the metrics that matter?

by Dom Kozak

March 14, 2023

Last month (February 2023), JCDecaux UK published the findings from a new piece of research – Programmatic digital out-of-home: The Time is Now - that showed that marketers are regularly using at least 13 metrics to evaluate the performance of their programmatic digital out-of-home (prDOOH) campaigns. In this article, we delve into the factors that influence measurement approaches, challenges, and opportunities.

How are prDOOH campaigns being measured today?

As part of the research, we asked people who have actively been involved in the planning and/or buying of prDOOH campaigns in 2022 how frequently they use certain metrics to measure success. More than half of respondents said they “always” or “usually” use all 13 metrics identified in the study.

As shown in the chart above, some of these come from a classical OOH measurement approach (e.g. brand awareness, purchase consideration, and market share) but many are more commonly used in online channels (e.g. impressions and online sales).

The current disparate approach to measurement is creating an industry-wide debate as to the role of prDOOH in the media mix. While we saw prDOOH emerge as the number one channel for delivering on both brand and performance goals – we know that the outcome of any given campaign is dependent on the goals that are set.

So, what do we as prDOOH practitioners need to do? We need to be careful not to start talking about DOOH as a performance media channel. We need to be realistic with clients about the sort of measurement we can deliver right now.”

How are team structures impacting measurement?

Three in every 10 (30%) respondents (who all had experience in prDOOH) said that establishing appropriate goals has prevented them from including prDOOH in their media mix more frequently.

When we look at which other channels prDOOH marketers are actively involved in planning and buying we can start to understand this in more detail. See below for a channel-by-channel breakdown:

  • Display – 66%
  • DOOH – 62%
  • Connected TV (CTV) - 61%
  • OOH – 61%
  • In-app – 60%
  • Programmatic audio – 53%
  • Print – 51%
  • Video – 50%
  • Linear TV – 50%
  • Radio – 49%

The fact that prDOOH is being bought as part of an omnichannel strategy is encouraging, however, there remains a lack of proof points as to exactly how prDOOH activity influences the performance of other channels. The lack of understanding of the incremental reach and the interaction prDOOH can have with other media often prevents marketers from investing in the channel. We often find that media buyers know how TV and radio work together and how traditional TV and CTV can support each other, but the impact of prDOOH on incremental reach is still a mystery that needs to be solved.

How to effectively apply an omnichannel test and learn strategy

Investing in omnichannel test and learn approaches is vital if we’re to crack this conundrum, JCDecaux’s director of data and insights, Chris Felton offers the following advice to marketers:

"No test and learn strategy is without risk so make sure you understand the benefits of testing and how those can be measured aside from core campaign objectives so that you can learn from your failures as well as your successes.

“Programmatic buying and optimization open a wealth of variables to test – don’t test them all at once, start with one or two things and build a solid foundation first then add to it. A test and learn approach is most effective when baked into overall media strategy it should be woven into the fabric of media planning with dedicated resources and budgets.” Read more here.

With difficulties establishing appropriate goals and such an array of metrics used to evaluate the success of prDOOH campaigns there is a case to be made that during the planning process, it is important to establish what failure, as well as success looks like. For example, you may have a target return on investment of 2:1, but let’s say you achieve 1.8:1 – instead of scrapping a channel, re-visit your strategy, talk to your DSP, SSP, and media owner partners, and implement data-driven changes to move the needle. The research also shows us that a key success metric used by prDOOH marketers is uplift in the performance of other channels, reminding us of the priming effect OOH has in general.

The learning opportunity

In today’s digital-first advertising ecosystem, many marketers have been heavily exposed to the benefits of programmatic across online, mobile, and connected TV (CTV), specifically, the ability to activate and optimise at the press of a button.

With digital out-of-home now firmly embedded in the programmatic ecosystem, transacted through the same demand-side platforms (DSPs) as mobile, web, CTV etc., the opportunity to now play in this outdoor world, testing the boundaries, and creating meaningful moments, is a great opportunity for marketers. The fact that it’s different - should be seen as an opportunity not a challenge.

When working in cross-functional or hybrid teams, we need to be mindful that individuals will have had different experiences depending on the brands and channels that they have run. But when taken in a broader context our research shows that the ability to measure performance, albeit a tough nut to crack, is the top benefit of prDOOH from those with experience in the channel, regardless of their background.