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‘Audience measurement standardisation is necessary for OOH growth’

By Rajiv Raghunath - February 07, 2024

Advertisers are prioritising accountability given that data is the only source of media planning assessment, states Maud Moawad, CEO & Co-Founder, Seventh Decimal in an interview with Rajiv Raghunath

Maud Moawad

Audience measurement metrics hold the key to OOH breaking out of the ‘5% syndrome’, and yet most OOH markets around the globe have not adopted a common currency. As a specialist in this field, what factors do you think will contribute to widescale adoption of OOH audience metrics?

I wouldn’t say that audience measurement alone holds the key to OOH growth, there are multiple factors such as measurement, automation, DOOH, verification… Nevertheless, audience measurement standardisation became a requirement for the sector growth as advertisers are prioritising accountability in this modern advertising landscape where data is the only source of media planning assessment.

As markets move towards the audience measurement standardisation journey, what we would call “The Currency Journey”, we believe that there must be first a clear understanding of its scope or “Raison d’être”. What do we want to measure and why? Is it audiences, attention, traffic circulation, count of cars, campaigns effectiveness? Micro journeys?

Then comes the implementation….Accurate and transparent methodology that starts with a solid reach / frequency model, a dynamic and contemporised system that provides seasonal and hourly metrics while maintaining the stability of the currency, And finally a standardised methodology across all environments (roadside, place-based, transit….) validated by a third party using multiple datasets.

Last, but not least, is collaboration: Everyone’s voice should be heard, and input should be taken into consideration from all stakeholders.

From our experience, those are the factors that will play a major role in building trust in the currency and will eventually lead to the widescale or industrywide adoption.

How would you define Seventh Decimal’s approach to developing OOH audience metrics, and which are the markets that you plan to cover?

Seventh Decimal is currently positioned as the standardised audience measurement system in the two biggest markets of the GCC, adopted by advertisers and media owners alike.

Today, as we look into the future of the research, and in line with our mission to provide a universal and responsible audience measurement system that answers the aspirations of the advertisers of today, we are expanding the currency scope to include campaign effectiveness metrics in addition to the initial currency metrics. We are now focusing beyond merely how many had the opportunity to read the campaign but helping advertisers determine their campaign’s effectiveness gaining actionable insights for future campaign optimisation. The methodology will cover all OOH formats, including scheduled and non-scheduled transit media, in-mall, and destination-based media. 

At the WOO APAC Forum in Bali where you spoke, one of the recommendations that came through from the discussions was that industry bodies should look to constitute technical committees that play a pivotal role in the development of a common currency. Do you subscribe to that view? Also, is there scope for cross-border collaborations in this regard?

Absolutely! The GCC market is one example of markets where standardisation was greatly needed. The market success story was built on the collaboration among all stakeholders with different experiences and background: planning, media strategy, data sciences, research, media buying and trading… but also marketers and of course the media owners. The technical committee grew to include 23 members acting in their corporate-representing capacity, and meeting once per month.

We are also very excited to be part of the World OOH organization (WOO) initiative to update the audience measurement guidelines and very happy to collaborate with different currencies to reach universal metrics definitions and nomenclature. 

Do you think that media owners should wholly take the responsibility for the development of a common currency? Or is there an equal responsibility on the specialist agencies to fund the project(s)?

In our markets, media owners, media agencies and specialists have contributed financially and actively in their resources’ allocation at the technical committee to build the currency. Nevertheless, this is one particular market, and one cannot generalise on the best way forward. I personally believe that empowering both parties involved in OOH trading in the currency roadmap and development would facilitate its adoption.

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