Which OOH KPI Matters Most? It Depends

Dollar sales. Unit sales. Sales lift. Number of new buyers. Return on Ad spend (ROAS). With all the different sales metrics, is there one that stands out among the pack? I am just going to say it … there’s no be-all-end-all metric when it comes to measuring the success of an Out-of-Home (OOH) campaign.

It’s important not to lose sight of your brand objectives when planning a campaign – and measuring its impact. For instance, a client’s recent brand campaign objective was to maintain sales during a packaging change. If the brand had only looked at ROAS, they might have overlooked key campaign insights that are helping them engage new buyers and optimize future campaigns to drive sales lift.

In this case, we discovered that brand sales remained constant throughout the packaging transition, but loyal shoppers were not the only ones driving purchases. Nearly 20% of consumers who were exposed to the OOH advertising – and bought during the campaign window – were new to the brand. Even more impressively, nearly 50% of these new buyers made a repeat purchase.

Success stories like these are why OOH is earning its rightful place in the media mix across all client objectives. As CPG marketers begin to see the value of OOH extending far beyond brand awareness, it’s time to take a page out of other media channels’ playbooks and apply it to OOH. Specifically, leveraging the tried-and-true combination of delivering the right message, at the right time and right place, to drive performance of OOH campaigns.

Let’s look at some best practices for designing and executing OOH campaigns for specific objectives.

Defining the right audience, creative, and environment. 

Like other media channels, OOH campaigns include the audience and creative, plus the added element of environment. 


OOH has long relied on demographic and movement-based targeting. With the introduction of new capabilities that allow us to understand where a purchase-based audience is mostly likely to see an ad, marketers should consider applying the same audiences they target on other media channels for OOH campaigns. For instance, a brand launching a new protein bar should focus on OOH inventory seen by the people already buying protein bars who are being targeted in their CTV and digital media campaigns.


The ability to bring a message to life in a unique way is a strength OOH has over other media channels and advertisers should consider their objective as part of the creative design process.  A campaign driving awareness of its new item should be bold and eye catching, whereas the creative to drive volume of an existing item at a specific retailer should be more nuanced and include a strong call to action, perhaps with a QR code to a digital coupon.


A shopper’s receptivity to a message about a brand or product is driven in part by the environment they are in when exposed to the ad. Being exposed to an ad for a fast-food restaurant in a gym would feel out of place, while an ad for a new healthy quick serve restaurant would be on point. Making sure the ad matches the environment is key to effective delivery.

Aligning metrics to objectives

A successful omni-channel campaign hinges on a clear definition of the brand’s objectives and the metrics that are best suited to measuring how well it performed.

Marketers tend to use ROAS to measure the success of any advertising campaign, but it’s not necessarily aligned to all objectives. Recently, a major battery brand ran a campaign aimed at driving sales at a specific retailer. This lower-funnel objective made ROAS a well-suited measure of success. They deployed media in the direct vicinity of those stores and earned a 14.1% sales lift and $1.66 incremental ROAS.

However, for a brand launching a new item, one would expect only a marginal ROAS because the cost of customer acquisition is so high. Instead, the brand should focus on the number of new buyers and their repeat rates to gauge the success of the campaign.

I encourage our industry to open dialogues with CPG CMOs and brand managers, focusing on how to align their objectives to execution and, ultimately, the right measures of success. We now have the measurement tools to demonstrate the power of our medium as a creative, cost-effective way to improve awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Modified: 2 years