The Path to Out-of-Home: A Q & A with Geopath President Kym Frank

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Geopath President Kym FrankGeopath, the not-for-profit whose mission is to provide audience location measurement to the out-of-home (OOH) industry, leverages anonymous aggregated audience location data measurement to help marketers analyze their audience more accurately. Formerly known as the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB), Geopath’s roots go back to 1933. However, this not-for-profit organization is building a new platform to go with its new name and image to reposition itself in the evolving Out-of-Home and Digital Out-of-Home market. Digital Signage Connection caught up with Geopath’s President Kym Frank for a Q&A to explore how the new measurement platform works and what it will mean for the industry overall.

Q: Can you tell me more about who your ideal customer/client is?

As a not-for-profit organization, we have a variety of different member types, most of which are out-of-home media owners, agencies and advertisers. When there are different formats measured in a variety of ways, or metrics that are measuring various types of exposure and utilizing different methodologies, it’s a challenge to see how your plan performed against your KPIs. Having an independent, universal playing field industrywide ensures that everyone is measured the same way and makes OOH/DOOH easier to plan, buy and sell. 

This is why Geopath is so valuable to the industry. Our new platform will open us up to measure the OOH ecosystem with a universal, unified methodology, which helps to get a really robust reach and frequency measurement. There are no assumptions about duplication because it’s all tied to mobile devices. We will be able to help our members understand how out-of-home inventory can reach their specific audience, empowering them to deliver their messages to the right people, at the right time, with the right message.  

Q: Your website says that your systems will be able to do things like respond to seasonal, daily, and hourly variation and provide post-campaign delivery information and tells visitors to stay tuned. What is the ETA for all of these capabilities?

From start to finish, our new platform is around a 15-month development process and we’re already a few months underway. It’s an iterative process; we will be coming out with new additions over the course of this year. We recently released our Seasonal and Hourly Explorer in early May for non-commercial purposes, which provides impressions for all of the 400,000 pieces of roadside inventory we currently measure today.

Recently, to further the capabilities of the platform, we partnered with Streetlytics to provide our members with a 360-degree view of aggregated anonymous audience throughout the United States. We’ve also partnered with Esri Demographics, which will allow Geopath members to leverage accurate data and descriptions of America’s cities and neighborhoods. Our members will be provided with key data points about OOH audiences including retail visitation, spending behaviors, languages spoken, brand preferences and market potential insights.

Q: How does Geopath’s model overlap with the work you’ve done with the TAB?

I’ve just celebrated my second anniversary with the organization. I came on board to move them forward as a not-for-profit in a world full of exciting and disruptive startups. After exploring the brand’s strengths and weaknesses, we started working on a complete redesign, starting with a new name and tagline that highlighted the industry-changing technology we were bringing to our members. The Traffic Audit Bureau, with the tagline “Out-of-Home Ratings,” was too inventory focused. In September 2016, we became Geopath: Audience Location Measurement. Geopath is focused on the geo-location of consumers who move about their pathways throughout the day. It’s about measuring the entire U.S. population as they move about the country, focusing more on people and less on billboards or street furniture.

Q: How does Geopath specifically safeguard consumer privacy?

We do not have any personally identifiable information at Geopath. We have two fabulous partners that allow us to do that. The first is AirSage which is a data aggregator that strips out any personal or identifiable information. It then is manipulated and turned into the derived data we harness.  This process is managed by Streetlytics – traffic data experts. All of this happens behind their firewalls and does not enter Geopath. We only receive aggregated and anonymous data to calculate our ratings.

Q: Can you explain the monetization process from Geopath’s non-profit point-of-view?

Our members pay an annual flat membership fee, which is based on a rate card. This gives members access to our entire data set. It is all a shared cost, which is the beauty of being a not-for-profit—Geopath doesn’t have to make money at the end of the year. The more members we have, the lower the dues are, and it all gets invested in the OOH industry, which means more industry unity and more cost control for everyone.

 

For more information about Geopath and Kym Frank, check out these two videos below:

 

 

About Author

Jason is a screenwriter, filmmaker, multimedia journalist and editor of DigitalSignageConnection.com. After film school, he attended USF to graduate with a journalism degree. Since then, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, Gogobot.com and TBO.com. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee explored the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees and the various environmental/economic repercussions. The film became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival. In 2015, he became editor of DigitalSignageConnection.com at Exponation in Atlanta where he puts his combination of media skills to good use.

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