Six Things You Might be Surprised to Know About Geopath

Six Things You Might be Surprised to Know About Geopath

Out of Home media measurement has evolved dramatically in the last several years. And so has Geopath.

Today, Geopath can access, analyze, and integrate a host of data sources to provide members with deeper insights and more precise ratings for each piece of inventory. That said, in discussions with prospective – and even some existing – members, we have come to realize that there are some misconceptions about our organization. In other cases, we encounter members who are simply surprised to learn things they didn’t know.  

With that, here are a few things you might not know about Geopath:  

The Only True JIC in the U.S. 

There has been a lot of discussion related to the TV industry’s efforts to form a Joint Industry Committee, or JIC, to establish currency certifications. Most people don’t know that Geopath, as the organization with the sole responsibility for audience measurement in the OOH industry, is the only true JIC in the U.S. and has been since 1934. The benefit of being a JIC is that we collaborate with members who have input into establishing measurement processes that are recognized and utilized across the industry.  

Unique Structure and Board Requirements 

It is not uncommon for a trade-industry association to be structured as a not-for-profit organization. Where Geopath differs from the norm is the tripartite structure upon which we are built, comprised of agencies, media owners, and advertisers. We are bound by strict rules that govern our Board leadership and representation. For example, our Board must always have at least one more agency than a media owner and our chairperson must always come from an agency. 

The Granularity of Inventory Audits 

Members are often surprised, and sometimes amazed, to learn the granular level of detail that goes into auditing inventory and producing an impression number. Each piece of roadside inventory is reviewed by someone on the Geopath team using digital mapping tools to ensure all the attributes (location, size, illumination, etc.) are accurate, and to understand the various vantage points and angles from where it can be seen. The precise degree of every frame is analyzed to determine how it faces the audience, with some units having as many as 14 different “assignments.” While we are working to automate this process, auditing inventory remains a physical and time-consuming effort, but one that is certainly worthwhile as it produces an extremely precise end-product and increases the value of the OOH inventory we audit for all our members. 

From Thumb Drives to Terabytes 

For decades, Geopath relied primarily on data from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to arrive at impression numbers. In fact, as recently as 2017, Geopath ratings were based on DOT data collected from just a handful of cities and extrapolated to the rest of the country.  

Today, however, we use aggregated and anonymized observed mobile device data to better understand where people are traveling and to capture the frequency and purpose of trips. We validate our data by cross-checking against a variety of available data sources, such as gasoline consumption, miles traveled per vehicle, and a range of other mobile, pedestrian, and Federal Highway Safety data sources. Six years ago, the volume of Geopath data could fit on a 32 gigabyte thumb drive one might use to store or transfer files from a personal laptop. Today, our data is measured in terabytes (1 TB is the equivalent of 1,000 GBs) and resides in the cloud.   

Hours of Training and Educational Engagement 

Enhanced OOH measurement capabilities are spurring advertisers to incorporate OOH into broader marketing plans with greater frequency. However, with increased complexity around measurement processes comes the need to ensure that all industry members are familiar with the latest approaches and can coherently explain them to clients.  

In the last 6 months alone, Geopath has spent more than 1,000 hours with members in pursuit of this – whether it’s responding to the almost 1,000 GeekOUT and API support requests during the same period, or coordinating webinars and trainings, we are committed to providing the education our members need at the desired level of complexity.  

A Small, Yet Nimble and Multifaceted Group 

Given the time and resources it takes to audit inventory, generate impressions, manage multiple data sources, provide support and training to members, and consistently enhance the technical functionality of the platform, many think that Geopath must be a sizeable organization with teams of employees branched out across the country. The opposite is true. With just 20 employees working out of an office in New York, Geopath is a small organization. Despite our size, we’re able to meet the ever-evolving needs of membership and the industry by being a nimble and collaborative group.  

Again, these are just some of the common misconceptions we come up against in our daily interactions with members. As the OOH industry continues to evolve, Geopath is committed to providing the foundational data and insights needed to inform more precise targeting, planning and execution of campaigns. If there’s a question you have, we are always available to respond at [email protected] 

Leave a Reply