For years media planners have struggled with how to incorporate Out of Home into their media plans when metrics were so different and costs were hard to justify.  They are able to plan OOH much easier these days with the use of OOH Ratings and impressions.

Currently available for billboards, posters, and transit shelters  TAB Out of Home Ratings are standardized, quantitative and reliable, providing exhaustive demographic information across the country. Now that TAB Ratings has been unanimously voted the official currency for out of home measurement, an increasing number of media thought leaders are endorsing the system’s efficacy.  Measurement for digital and transit media is scheduled to roll out this year.

What does this all mean in the daily life of a media planner?  For one thing, OOH CPMs are much more accurate, accountable and reliable.   This is due to impression numbers representing actual opportunities to view the location and advertisement versus its predecessor, the DEC which only focused on traffic count.  To come up with these numbers, there was extensive research conducted that included the following factors (Information taken from the Traffic Audit Bureau at, and the OAAA):

  • Circulation: Including traffic count
  • Visibility Research:   Eye Tracking, data modeling and simulation
  • Visibility Adjustment index:  Included factors like size, location, distant from the road
  • Demographics
  • Reach & Frequency

Secondly, and possibly more importantly, individual locations that have the highest Targeted Rated Points and best geographical reach / frequency can be isolated so that advertisers can speak to the exact demographic they need.  With one of the lowest average CPMs across all media platforms and the ability to reach consumers where they spend most of their day, my (admittedly biased) opinion is that allocating more budget dollars towards out of home media in an overall media spend in an option that media planners should strongly consider.

Other major stand outs for the Out of Home Ratings system: impressions numbers are weekly vs. monthly and the potential view number takes into account the ad structure visibility from the roadway, size of the board, angle..etc.  With these standardized measurement numbers in place, OOH strategists are also able to combine inventory from multiple suppliers in any given market and join them together to create a total showing package.

The practical result of these changes is that Out of Home is now on a level playing field with traditional media elements and it allows media planners to incorporate OOH media into existing plans more easily.  Out of Home media has always been a very powerful medium on its own, but with the new ratings systems OOH can now demonstrate that power in a more measurable way.