Outdoor media has existed for thousands of years, being one of the oldest ways of marketing and it’s still an essential part of advertising. Since marketing is an important part of any business, it should be measured and planned out, to assure that the company is following the right path. After an outdoor ad has been launched, all the direct actions will happen in real life and with real people, that’s why a couple of simple math formulas are not enough. However, there still are loads of different methods from traditional face to face surveys to high-tech AI eye-tracking cameras.

Before and after method

Most simple but least accurate way to measure an ad performance. Done by comparing sales before and after the campaign. Problem here is that you can’t always be sure that it’s exactly the campaign that brought your sales up, there also could be loads of different reasons for it. Customers talking positively about the product or seasonal necessity could also be the cause of increased sales.

Track promotion code usage

More efficient way to measure your outdoor success is promoting QR-codes, coupons and vouchers which would be available only during the campaign period. In order to measure it more accurately those keywords shouldn’t be displayed anywhere else.

Let’s suggest that your promo code on the ad will be “SUMMER2019”, which will give a 10% discount on all the products on the web, then you can track how many visitors have used it at the checkout and assign that sale to a certain outdoor campaign.

Tracking the landing page

Set up a landing page for your advertised product, it should have a link to your main web page and an easy access to the sales portal. The key here is the web URL. It should only be displayed on your outdoor posters. Now use web analytics tools to track all the important outdoor advertising metrics – purchases, email signups and a number of visitors generated via the landing page. This will be enough to measure your return on investment for the campaign.

Social media and keyword tracking

Sometimes if passers by saw your ad they just hadn’t had time to scan QR-codes or haven’t kept in mind the URLs and codes, but perhaps they still may try to search for your brand.

That’s why tracking google’s searches for your ad keywords is also a good way to measure campaign productivity. In addition, you can track social media engagement with your brand for hashtags on Facebook, Instagram etc.
It is also possible to create a hashtag that is unique for your outdoor campaign and gain insight into who is engaging with your brand.

Survey your visitors

The most straightforward way to measure your campaigns success is to ask customers themselves. There is no need to make a survey about what exactly they liked about your ad, what impression did they get and did they tell their friends about it. You can be as plain as possible and simply make a brief survey that asks about how person discovered your brand also allowing them to select “I saw your billboard” along with other options. Moreover, if you are running multiple campaigns at the same time then this insight also reveals which one reached the most people.

Now that the easiest methods for measuring your outdoor campaign are out of the way, let’s take a look at big companies with retail markets, department stores, who launch multiple ads and need to be quick and precise in their decisions. In order to figure out how to plan and determine their campaigns they need to turn to more accurate methodology.

There are a number of metrics that should be definitely considered when planning and measuring your outdoor campaign:

DEC: Daily Effective Circulation – number of vehicles and pedestrians that pass your billboard day-to-day.
DEC can be accessed by considering the data and statistics provided by travel diaries, government surveys, road traffic counts and etc.

OTC: Opportunity to Contact – amount of people that could possibly walk past your outdoor media billboard and see it.
OTC is determined by conducting a research about this particular area where the campaign will take place. Determine how visible is your billboard, what is the visibility distance, is it covered by any buildings or trees etc.

VAC: Visually Adjusted Contact – number of people who saw the ad during the outdoor campaign.

VAC could be measured in many different ways – conducting a survey with passers by, making a personal observation about how many people are looking in the direction of a billboard or instead by using an AI camera, which tracks eye movement of the pedestrian who is walking near your billboard.

Long story short, no matter what approach you think is more suitable for measuring your campaign, important part is that you need to be sure that your actions are generating good return of investments and are supporting the growth of the company. Since you are building a connection with your audience, it is better to be safe than sorry and further invest in analytics.