DOOH Audience Measurement Series Intro and Glossary of Terms

Digital transformation is affecting every industry around the globe and audience measurement for out-of-home is no exception. The move to automated, integrated media transactions is creating new revenue opportunities that did not exist before.

One major driver of future growth for OOH is cross-platform compatibility with other media so it can get access to the same transactional pipes as its digital cousins: desktop, mobile, social and video.


This article is the first in a series on DOOH Audience Impressions which explores what the factors are that can accelerate DOOH towards the “holy grail” of cross-platform media compatibility.

The series is comprised of 7 articles:

1. Introduction and Glossary of Terms: this present article.

2. Digital and OOH Measurement Standards – Past, Present and Future: a synthesis of the last 10 years of standardization efforts in audience measurement online and out-of-home.

3. Human-Valid Audience Impressions – A Proposal for Cross-Platform Viewability: This article describes a proposed audience impression definition standard which could be used cross-platform online and out-of-home.

4. DOOH Client-Side Ad Measurement Protocol: this describes the equivalent DOOH measurement protocol to the standards used online.

5. DOOH Impression Multiplier and Adjustment Factor: this describes a framework for a high fidelity conversion of Quividi’s detection metric into a human-valid audience impression.

6. DOOH Audience Measurement Checklist – Advertiser Accountability Comparison: a 10-point comparison checklist to evaluate the level of advertiser accountability compared to the standard online.

7. DOOH Audience Data Comparison – Computer Vision vs Mobile Data: Mobile data is the most popular alternative and complement to Quividi data for OOH measurement. This article explains the different types of mobile data, how they rank on the accountability checklist.

These articles are excerpts from a larger work, the Audience Impression Whitepaper which will be available for download in the future. To sign up to receive the whitepaper when it is published, click the button below:


Glossary of Terms

This series will use some words which have technical definitions. We have grouped those together, alphabetized them and we present them in a table below:

AccreditationIn the field of audience measurement, this is the result of an audit and review of the audience provider’s model and methodology for accuracy and compliance with audience measurement standards.
Actuality AdjustmentA mathematical transformation which convert a detection metric into an estimated actual audience number for an advertisement.
Advertising ContentMedia files which are paid to be played on a third party media owner’s display units for the purposes of achieving an advertiser’s campaign objectives.
Advertising TransactionAt the macro level, this is the advertising insertion order which details the commercial and operational parameters of an ad campaign. At the micro level, this is the individual ad play which is the actualization of the insertion order by execution.
Audience CurrencyThis is the atom of accountability in the advertising transaction and represents the actual viewers of the ad content, both prospectively during planning, and then retrospectively during reporting. The ad industry at large is moving towards a universal cross-media audience currency.
Audience ImpressionThis is the viewing by an individual of a particular advertising content play. An individual can only qualify for one impression per ad content play, but may generate many audience impressions if they see many ad contents.
AuditingThe process of reviewing a model and methodology comprehensively in order to identify issues of compliance, veracity and accuracy. This process is expensive and time consuming, so it happens infrequently, e.g. annually or less frequently.
Average Unit Audience (AUA)A model of audience measurement created by the DPAA which is able to convert venue circulation numbers into an average audience for each ad play.
Bottom-Up MeasurementA methodology of measurement which uses always-on detection technology local to the display unit to feed a real-time or near-time audience model. This is the opposite of Top-Down Measurement.
CirculationA raw count of human bodies that frequent a venue or the wing of an establishment. The major OOH markets have abandoned circulation as an audience currency for a more qualified count, e.g. VAC or AUA. Circulation is used in Top-Down Measurement.

Canadian Out-of-home Marketing and Measurement Bureau uses as their currency a qualified circulation metric which it calls Reliable Opportunity-to-See: 

  • Outdoor circulations include only those vehicles driving toward an advertising face. 
  • Circulations for COMMB outdoor products must adhere to industry-approved visibility distances.
ContentThis is a media file, either a motion video or a still image, which is to be played on a device. This whitepaper focuses exclusively on advertising content. 
D/OOHThis means out-of-home and also digital out-of-home. Used in the context where we mean the wider out-of-home market, which includes digital.
DOOHDigital out-of-home is the fastest growing segment of the out-of-home market. Instead of a billboard, it uses a screen and the internet to deliver many advertising contents in the same physical space.
DPAADigital Place-Based Advertising Association is an international industry association focused on DOOH. They created an industry currency called the Average Unit Audience (AUA).
ESOMARESOMAR is a membership organization representing the interests of the data, research and insights profession at an international level. A consortium of major international buyers and sellers of OOH worked with ESOMAR to establish a currency for OOH called the Visibility Adjusted Contact (VAC).
GeopathEstablished in 1933, Geopath, originally the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement Inc., is a not-for-profit organization governed by a tripartite board comprised of advertisers, agencies, and media companies. Geopath’s historical mission was to audit the circulation of out of home media in the United States. Geopath uses LTS or Likelihood-to-see as their established audience currency.
Human-ValidityThis is an up-and-coming standard online which qualifies ad impressions as human audience impressions and disqualifies bot-driven or otherwise non-human traffic.
IABThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is an advertising business organization that develops industry standards, conducts research, and provides legal support for the online advertising industry. They worked within 3MS to establish Viewable Impressions as the digital audience currency.
Likelihood-to-see (LTS)A more qualified version of opportunity-to-see which counts the individuals which have a high probability of seeing the ad. This is typically calculated by using circulation and discounting it via a model created from visibility studies.
OcclusionAn obstacle between the screen and the viewer interrupting their viewing of the ad on the screen.
Out-of-home (OOH)In this document, OOH is meant as the legacy out-of-home advertising industry (sometimes referred to as Classic OOH). This does not include DOOH.
MOVE (OMA)MOVE is the audience service of OMA in Australia. They use Likelihood-to-see as their currency.
MRCThe Media Rating Council is a US trade body which accredits audience measurement systems in the US, but also globally. They are one of the founding members of the online digital standards consortium 3MS, the ESOMAR standard and the DPAA standard.
Opportunities-to-see (OTS)This term is somewhat vague and is therefore used as an equivalent to a raw circulation number, though it is often scoped to the area in front of the billboard or screen. Another word for OTS is traffic.
Route UKRoute is the audience service in the UK for the OOH industry. They use as their currency the Realistic OTS (ROTS) and it is derived from visibility studies and traffic intensity models.
Served ImpressionsThese are ad exposures which were played on the target device. They are not necessarily qualified as viewable impressions (which requires the screen be on, the ad be showing, etc.) or audience impressions (which requires they be viewable and at least one person is present, facing the ad).
Top-Down MeasurementThis measurement approach uses a large neutral data set such as venue circulation or census data and the starting point for an audience model. Typically, the model qualifies a part of the circulation as having a reasonable, realistic or likely opportunity to see the ad.
UnoccludedThere is a direct line of sight between the audience and the screen with no obstacles in between.
Visibility Adjusted Contact This is the standard currency established internationally with ESOMAR in 2009. It explicitly uses a top-down measurement approach.
Viewable ImpressionThis is the standard currency established internationally with 3MS in 2014. It explicitly requires a bottom-up measurement approach.
ViewabilityThis is the condition where we say the ad can be seen by the audience.
WatcherQuividi’s detection metric. It is a detected face.


Come back next week for our second article on DOOH Audience Measurement.  And don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts by contacting us at