Outdoor Ratings

Outdoor ratings have traditionally been measured using traffic counts and daily effective circulation in order to estimate reach. For years, these figures have been the only reliable counts available to measure the reach of an out-of-home advertising campaign. This outdoor measuring system has not lent itself to a seamless integration and comparison with broadcast and print media, making the job of media planners and buyers difficult in creating and implementing multimedia campaigns.

A new and improved system of audience measurement has been in development for several years. This system is the new measurement standard in out-of-home. When first rolled out, this method was called Eyes On Impressions (EOIs) but has since been re-named TAB Out-of-Home Ratings.

Outdoor ratings are a more accurate measurement of OOH

These outdoor ratings takes the focus from the number of consumers that could see an advertisement and converts that figure to a more realistic one of the number of consumers who actually noticed it.

These weekly impression figures are derived from a variety of data, specifically: Daily Effective Circulations (DECs), Census Data, Travel Surveys, Data Modeling, Analytics, and statistical conversion factors, or Visibility Adjustment Indices (VAIs). Visibility Adjustment Indices take the physical characteristics into consideration when dealing with an outdoor structure. These physical attributes being: the placement of the unit, what side of the road it’s on when viewed, the distance from traffic when viewed, the type of road it’s placed on, whether the unit is illuminated, the size, it’s angle relative to oncoming traffic and who it’s viewed by (vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic, or both).

The switch to weekly impressions hasn’t been a swift one and agencies everywhere are attempting to acclimate to the change. DEC figures are no longer regulated (as of December 31, 2011). Weekly impressions are now the only audited outdoor ratings metric used to measure outdoor advertising.

Outdoor ratings of weekly impressions mean comparable OOH figures

Weekly impressions will help outdoor advertising become a media directly comparable with the three strongest media categories: radio, television, and print. Previously, radio, television, and print were all able to provide reach and frequency figures, as well as rating points that were directly comparable to one another. Out-of-home was often disregarded as an effective medium since it lacked the ability for the same cross comparison.

The previous system of DEC measurement was often inflated by agencies to allow for what they believed were better CPM comparisons with print and broadcast media. This over inflation didn’t portray an accurate comparable cost for outdoor media. The outdoor ratings measurements of weekly impressions are so concise that agencies should no longer feel the need or pressure to inflate outdoor ratings. With the reliability of weekly impressions, you will see that outdoor advertising is still the most cost-effective media available.

Frequently Asked Questions about outdoor ratings


  • What media types currently have weekly impressions data?

    Weekly impression figures are currently available for billboards, transit shelters, street furniture and street level media. Impressions are being calculated for all measurable outdoor media. We will make these figures available to our clients the second they’re released.

  • Are weekly impression numbers reliable?

    Absolutely. The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) awarded the Innovation of the Year Award to this new outdoor ratings measurement system. In fact, weekly impressions are significantly more reliable as a measurement tool than Daily Effective Circulation (DEC) figures. Whereas DEC figures were those of potential reach, weekly impressions under the new outdoor ratings system calculates the actual reach. This calculation of reach, as well as frequency is now per board instead of general market figures.

  • Where can I find weekly impression data?

    We gather weekly impression data for you during the proposal process. This attention to detail is part of our standard media research. If you need weekly impressions, just contact us. We are more than happy to help.

  • Will the new outdoor ratings measurement system increase out-of-home costs?

    There has been apprehension towards weekly impression for fear that this new outdoor ratings system will increase the cost of outdoor media. The truth? This new measurement system will increase the value of outdoor, but not the cost of the media across the board. More accurate reach and frequency numbers will provide planners and buyers with the tools necessary to decrease their CPM, by reducing fringe waste.

  • Why are weekly impression figures less than DECs?

    There is a concern that weekly impression figures are often lower than DECs. This is to be expected and doesn’t decrease the value of the media whatsoever. In fact, outdoor can further increase it’s value over broadcast and print by utilizing weekly impressions. DECs were the number of views a billboard could have possibly received per day. This was the total number of vehicular traffic passing by a panel, whether they saw the ad or not. Weekly impressions are the weekly totals of the people who actually notice a unit, whether in-car or on foot.

  • What is the comp figure often listed with weekly impression data?

    The outdoor ratings comp figures are the percentage of viewing traffic that is composed of a target demographic. For example, if the unit you’re considering has a comp of 23% listed as adult females with a household income (HHI) of 100k+, because that is what you’re campaign target calls for, that means that 23% of the weekly impression figures listed come exclusively from members of your target demographic.

  • How can an OOH campaign benefit from these comp figures?

    Previously, when targeting Hispanics 18+ you received units in an area with a high Hispanics population. This didn’t effectively reach the target. These were often highway units targeting traffic outside the community. The comp figures under the new outdoor ratings will also allow optimization of dual targets. When targeting general public 18+ as a primary demo and the Hispanic community as a secondary demo, you can choose half locations with a general comp above 60% and half with a Hispanic comp of +42%. Or, you can buy units at a minimum comp for each demo.