Outdoor advertising balanced scorecard indicators

Outdoor advertising is one of the oldest media for consumer goods advertising. Billboards, sites on walls, hoardings and bus shelters can be leased for a fee per calendar month. In addition, many vehicles (buses, trucks and taxis) now carry external advertising, and some are tailor-made to do so (advertising "floats").

Trains and buses also offer internal advertising position. Size and visibility of the sites are the main consideration for the choice of outdoor program. Outdoor advertising is characterized by poor targeting (no audience selectivity, except by site), very low cost per contact, slow response speed, nil response percentage and nil response volume. In fact, outdoor advertising is never used as a separate campaign and usually supports the campaigns aimed to raise awareness and boost store traffic.

There are not so many indicators that can help to measure the efficiency of the outdoor advertising. As it has been already mentioned the issues of primary importance are size, visibility and site selection. So while planning the campaign it is vital to give careful consideration to the choice of sites or routes of advertisement carriers. Additionally, the following indicators can be used: SOV (share of voice)/competitors' SOV ratio, SOV/SOM (share of market), duration and budget allocated for the campaign. The information on competitors' outdoor activities is easily obtained at the specialized monitoring agencies, sometimes even free of charge, besides such agencies can provide information on the best outdoor service providers. Regular analysis of the outdoor campaigns in terms of sites, sizes and duration will help to plan the future ones.

The main control indicator is awareness, however, it requires specialized research and, in case of outdoor advertising which is rarely used alone, it is difficult to distinguish the source of information. The supporting indicator is the growth in inquiries or store traffic. In addition, there are two more disadvantages of the outdoor advertising that need to be controlled: difficulty of verification of exposure and weather. So it is crucial to regular monitor the condition of the outdoor advertisements. This can be done by means of photo reports provided either by the outdoor agency (which is their obligation and therefore free of charge) or by the specialized monitoring agency (that is more reliable though will require additional expenditures). Thus, it is advisable to order photo reports proving the start/end of a campaign, then every 15 days for posters, every month for transport, city-lights, backlights and etc., and additional photo report following the nasty weather.

As with other advertising activities any significant discrepancies in indicators with internal perspective will point out for some internal or external problems in the work of advertising and marketing departments. With regard to financial perspective, such indicators as Cost to Sales/Inquiries reveal general trend and therefore may be considered as additional means of control, especially when direct means are somehow unavailable.