Modest Measures by Ali Chraif

By Ali Chraif, Trading director at GroupM MENA.

Outdoor effectiveness, like any other media channel, is measured by campaign end results, be it in ad awareness, unprompted ad awareness, sales, footfall, website traffic or other metrics.
The scope of the target seeing the ad and how many ended up taking action must be estimated. This is the call to action.

This depends on the message itself. However, there is not any syndicated or offthe-shelf research that monitors and measures outdoor effectiveness.
As we all know, digital is the only media where we can measure ROI effectively, and one option for outdoor is to measure by proprietary tracking surveys bespoke to clients who want to attribute OOH’s effect on business preset KPIs. Hardly any client is doing this in MENA.

Some brands always use specific mediums for their new product launches to create awareness. We don’t really need research to create and prove brand awareness. OOH advertising creates immediate awareness and is still considered one of the most influential mediums for any business in terms of reach, but in science we cannot measure it by numbers.

The lack of ROI measurement is a drawback and is putting media owners under pressure to bring about a solution that will do justice to their media and prove its effectiveness to clients.
In the absence of any bespoke research, we continue to use our verdict, best market practice, location, traditional econometric models relating to advertising support with hard measures, messaging and format sizes.

We as GroupM use an in-house qualitative system that rates OOH sites based on many elements such as traffic, proximity to the road, quality of the signage, neighborhood, clout, price and so on.
With the advances in mobile data and interactive DOOH (digital OOH) being the main driver of outdoor growth, it is getting easier to hit your target and monitor their daily habits.
We have recently been hearing about a lot of technologies using coordinates of mobile devices mapped around key OOH circuits, creating heat maps around certain locations.
This helps with understanding the traffic flow of certain audiences, creating insights analysis and market research innovation to power the OOH market place with the premise of discovering and buying audiences based on their internet behaviour.

The overall combination gives a steady stream of precise information that is not about cars and numbers anymore. It is all about people – where they go, what they like to buy, who they are.
I believe this is still conceptual and requires collaboration from all parties – clients, agencies and media owners – to validate its accuracy and overall business model. The development of outdoor measurement in the MENA region is still not clear, nor if it is going to come to life soon. Many have already tried to penetrate the market with some solutions, but hardly any have succeeded on that front so far.

As a starting point, there needs to be a committee to agree on a currency for OOH to start providing an audience rating service before discussing measuring the attribution of OOH.
This committee should be comprised of media vendors, clients and agencies with the aim of agreeing on the right methodology and technology to bring measurement to OOH, since we all need to get the real monitoring system to measure ROI.