How location data and analytics are revolutionizing JCDecaux’s OOH business

  •   August 11, 2020

There’s probably no other media segment that has benefitted from the advent of location intelligence as much as out-of-home (OOH). The availability of mobile-location data for better audience targeting and offline attribution helped transformed industry into the only traditional channel whose growth is accelerating.

That’s good news for JCDecaux (JCD), the leading outdoor advertising company worldwide. Founded in 1964, the company has placements — either street furniture, transportation advertising, airports or billboards — in more than 80 countries, which reach 410 million people in 4,031 cities. It’s now working with location data in multiple ways to define and segment audiences, inform media placements, optimize campaigns and measure their real-world impact on store visitation — and eventually purchases.

“The fourth quarter of 2018 produced the strongest quarterly growth for total media ad sales in 18 years,” according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, with some of this is attributable to the location-data revolution.

Using location for audience insights, targeting

Recently JCD announced an expanded partnership with identity resolution company Neustar. Using location data and real-world behavior analysis, the partnership allows JCD to understand which of its thousands of locations will index higher for a brand’s desired audiences.

According to Mark Costa, JCD’s Chief Digital Officer, the brand specifies the audiences and campaign objectives. Neustar location data then allows JCD to understand where to best reach desired audiences, their other offline behaviors and affinities and “deliver a data-driven story to the client.”

Neustar’s location data, a mix of first-party and licensed third-party data, can be used to:

  • Visualize mobile signal density of an audience, location, or custom geo-fenced area to determine ideal target markets.
  • Develop audience profiles by connecting pseudonymized location to demographic/psychographic variables.
  • Analyze audience foot traffic patterns, daily commutes, and daytime/nighttime population data
  • Improve campaign efficacy by engaging audiences with personalized campaigns
  • Geo-fence a custom polygon around a competitor’s locations to engage interested potential audiences with custom offers

Store-visits attribution

After campaigns are in market, JCD uses another company, Ubimo, for store visits measurement and foot-traffic attribution. Ubimo has an opt-in panel for location attribution and uses a control and exposed methodology to determine whether the ad exposure has actually influenced store-visits — to escape a kind of “last click” bias.

JCD’s Costa says that Ubimo offers a sophisticated and unique attribution methodology that controls for other potential biases in the data, such as store-location bias and active device bias. (Explaining this is a longer conversation that we’ll dig into later.) Costa adds that Ubimo’s self-service attribution reports allow more studies to be done faster. That also allows for potential mid-campaign optimization.

“Ultimately brands are trying to get people into a store,” Costa said.  However, OOH has historically been an awareness medium because it couldn’t be easily measured. Now that it can, I asked whether he thought that OOH might one day be sold as direct response advertising? But Costa sees the offline visitation data as a complement to rather than replacement for awareness.

“Brands haven’t had this data before, so they’re very happy to get it,” he said. Costa adds that among JCD’s brand advertisers, the availability of location attribution and audience insights is generating a lot of buzz.