The science of OOH audience-based buying (part 2 of 3)

Published: March 19, 2019

In the previous article of our series our CEO, Jonathan Gudai, laid out the huge revenue potential of audience-based buying in OOH. One of the recent innovations for OOH audience insights is mobile phone location data -- where the digital world and physical world intersect. This article will unpack some of the underlying technical elements for how the mobile location data is gathered and how it will be applied for out-of-home advertising campaigns.

Audience measurement in OOH has historically been focused on estimating impression counts through auditing firms, such as Geopath and Nielsen, or via the Department of Transportation reports. Mobile phone location data is focused on a different goal: measuring audience composition in terms of consumer behaviors and interests for devices that travel past or dwell near OOH displays.

Sensor analytics companies such as Linkett, AdMobilize and Quividi also provide audience counting with some additional insights that are collected locally at the OOH display itself. With cameras and Wi-Fi-based detection, audience segments are primarily focused on basic demographics, such as age and gender, along with a few other attributes.

Mobile phone location data, on the other hand, unlocks significantly more possibilities for audience segmentation. But how does it really work? How are anonymous location pings converted into insights about audience? Here's what we have learned and some insight into the work we have done to harness the mobile location intelligence data.

Location analytics specialists such as PlaceIQ analyze data from mobile devices, sourced via industry-standard device IDs known as IDFA (Apple devices) and Android device IDs that are, by definition, anonymized in order to protect the privacy of device users. As a further safeguard, PlaceIQ only uses anonymized data that has been collected after an opt-in by users.

The location pings come from a few sources: software developer kits (SDKs), which are plug-ins added to existing apps that analyze location, and digital ad-bidding data from advertising networks, often referred to as the "bid stream." PlaceIQ delivers aggregated insights that enable Adomni to make OOH advertising more relevant for media buyers while being compliant with best practices in data management and consumer protection.

The data involved (especially with the bid stream) can have a high degree of flaws, so special techniques are needed to filter out the inaccurate, or even fraudulent, data. PlaceIQ has a proprietary filtering technology called Darwin that looks for patterns and spikes any other signals in the data to separate the good from the bad.

After the data is cleaned, mobile device location pings are mapped to known places, commonly referred to as places of interest (POI). These places are critical ingredients for building out audience segments, as they tell the story about consumers' behavior and interests. If a mobile device visited a coffee shop, it can be considered a potential coffee drinker or a device visiting a gym is a gym-goer, and so on. Through the process of categorizing visitation data, visits can be segmented based on brands, categories of business, purchase intent and much more. This is where the raw location data becomes insightful.

The final piece of the puzzle is defining the exposure area around a billboard or indoor OOH display so audiences can be linked to OOH displays. The most common approaches to defining the exposure area are these: take the latitude and longitude epicenter of the location and build out a radius around it; create a polygon on a map that represents the boundaries of a building, or create a cone of exposure for a roadside billboard.

Once the exposure area is custom defined by PlaceIQ, mobile device location pings within the exposure area are analyzed and an audience profile is created for the consumer's device based on the other places the mobile device has visited. The audience data can be benchmarked against the exposure areas of other OOH displays, or against the broader population to get a relative measure showing how a given location stacks up. This is commonly referred to as the audience index.

Hopefully, all of these technical details haven't made you cross-eyed. The most exciting part of the story for us is the final piece -- what Adomni has done with the data in version 2.0 of our Ad Marketplace.

We are incorporating audience data into the OOH search, buying and reporting processes on and our affiliate partner websites. For no extra cost to our advertiser clients, board owner partners or affiliate partners, we openly provide all of our PlaceIQ audience data and insights. Why? Because we believe that the transparency and ease of access of the audience data will drive more campaigns that perform better because they're smarter. Using the Adomni OOH search engine, advertisers can discover and then instantly purchase the best OOH ad inventory that fits their budget with locations that have the highest composition of their intended audience.

We also have made it simple to understand the relevance of the audiences for each OOH display. We created an '"Audience IQ'" scoring system that gives each OOH location an audience score on a scale of 50 to 100. This score is based on the target audience selected by an advertiser and the types of OOH locations available. Like Google, we display the most relevant (highest IQ scores) locations on the top of the search results page.

It is our belief that this audience data and enhanced self-service buying process online will lead to more advertisers buying OOH ads and, most importantly, more successful ad campaigns.

Stay tuned for part 3 of our series, in which our Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development, Larry Grella, will describe the Adomni 2.0 interface and how OOH ads will be bought as easily as your search or social ads, with robust reporting and analytics to boot.

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