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‘Campaign delivery matters’

By Rajiv Raghunath - July 14, 2023

Michael Steinberg, Chief Revenue Officer of US-based StreetMetrics throws light on measurement metrics for moving media, and key factors contributing to greater market acceptance of their offerings, in an interview with Rajiv Raghunath. Edited excerpts:

Michael-Steinberg,-Chief-Revenue-Officer-of-StreetMetricsAudience metrics are fundamental to the growth of OOH / DOOH business. StreetMetrics offers measurement solutions for the moving OOH media. What factors have contributed to the market acceptance of your offerings?

There are three main factors we’re seeing contribute to the market acceptance of our offerings. First, we see operators adopting our measurement solutions because it equips them with better insights to compete for ad dollars that have traditionally gone to measured media channels like TV, online, radio, and the like. And while MOOH advertising accounts for large media spends worldwide, the category historically hasn’t had an independent 3rd party measurement provider for operators and advertisers. 

Another element driving appetite for near real-time measurement is that most OOH solutions around the globe are centred around planning and not actual campaign delivery; while TV, online, and radio have systems in place that measure campaign delivery. At StreetMetrics, we believe the ability to measure OOH campaign delivery presents a huge growth opportunity for the category. It’s only a matter of time until advertisers start requiring post-campaign performance reports for OOH. This is not an “if”, it’s a “when”! 

Lastly, a factor that has contributed to industry acceptance of StreetMetrics’ offerings is the practice of extending the reach of moving OOH’s offline media products into the digital realm. By matching opted-in and privacy compliant mobile advertising ids to the vehicles under measurement, we gain a touch point with the consumer that allows advertisers to retarget them through digital means or attribute the media exposure to an action or behaviour, such as a website visit, an app engagement or an in-store visit. We’ve taken a real world exposure and extended it into the digital space, it’s a really powerful capability for our partner operators that brings them to parity with online practices.

How do you approach markets where media operators tend to believe the traditional way of doing business is still the best way to go? 

Consistency and patience. The majority of operators want to push the status quo. With that said, some operators believe the traditional way of doing business is still the best way to operate. We lean into working with forward thinking operators to change the perception of what’s possible in moving OOH with better data and measurement. The fact of the matter is, agencies and advertisers want more data insights as it helps target and substantiate their ad spend. An old boss of mine used to say, “If you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind”. This holds true from what we see in terms of operators who don’t accept the status quo as the norm. They’re willing to embrace these new capabilities that enhance their media offering because the reward outweighs the risk. Plus, there’s just something exciting about digging into the data.

Have you faced any major hurdles as you took your offerings to different markets and how did you overcome them?

We track over 78,000 vehicles through GPS signals, so a major hurdle we continue to face in markets across the globe is GPS fidelity and cadence. While we prefer GTFS feeds and GPS hardware on vehicles, we come across mobile app based GPS solutions that are not as reliable because they can’t provide the adequate number of pings to accurately route a vehicle and their fidelity is spotty. 

Operators use mobile apps because they’re convenient, budget friendly, and they don't want to install a GPS hardware device in a vehicle that they don't have full control over. To overcome this, we have two solutions; first is working with the operator to test an onboard device to illustrate the benefits of GPS hardware on the vehicle and the second is to find an app-based GPS solution that meets our requirements. After evaluating many vendors, we landed on a GPS app provider that meets our requirements and supplies the robust signal we need.

To what extent do advertising brands influence the adoption of smarter OOH audience measurement solutions?

Brands, and specifically their agencies, are insatiably driven to maximise their ROI for every dollar spent, so naturally they gravitate towards proving performance with data. That’s actually how StreetMetrics came into existence. Drew Jackson, our founder, was an operator who needed a way to measure his own ads on semi-trailers because advertisers were asking for better insights - and no measurement solutions existed. He realised other moving OOH media operators shared the same measurement needs, so he spun off StreetMetrics to be the industry's solution. 

At the brand level, they see the holistic view of their media beyond just out-of-home, and historically out-of-home performance has been a blind-spot for brands. Because media is results-driven today more than ever, requests for OOH operators to provide the same insights as other channels have become more common. When the OOH industry started adopting mobile location and audience data between 2012-2016, OOH gained an entry point into the digital ecosystem and our industry began competing with the audience and consumer behaviour insights offered by online advertising. We’re still in the early innings of this journey, although OOH’s adoption of new measurement capabilities is the positive reaction to what we know brands value. 

Do your offerings complement the measurement solutions that are there in the market for traditional / roadside media?

Yes, StreetMetrics measurement solution complements roadside nicely as it gives moving OOH operators the same currency as traditional media. This allows agencies to buy moving OOH on par with traditional media, resulting in moving OOH playing in the same sandbox, so to speak. 

From your experience, do you see your clients giving you repeat business or staying subscribed to your services? 

We have a very high retention rate. I think that’s because once an operator gets a taste of using near real-time performance insights, they see how it boosts their business and they don’t want to go back to a world without measurement and insights.

How do you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies that redefine the market need fulfilment?

We look to separate the signal from the noise when it comes to new technology. We ask ourselves the question, “Will this help give our operators the right insights to grow their business?” If so, then we consider incorporating it. With that said, there’s a lot of growth opportunity for StreetMetrics, and the industry as a whole, with all the technologies that are currently available to us now. To some extent, we’re still scratching the surface.

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