The Internet of the Automobile Drives the Oldest Form of Advertising into the Digital Age


Today is an important milestone in the US Out-of-Home advertising (aka billboard) industry.  Today, the $6+ billion industry expanded its audience measurement system to report on the amount of time drivers are exposed to out of home advertising based on traffic conditions throughout the day.  INRIX teamed with the “Nielsen of Out of Home Advertising”, the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB), to deliver a breakthrough that makes out of home advertising a time-based medium for the very first time in its 100+ year history.


Billboards are the original tweet. By integrating INRIX traffic speeds information by hour into TAB’s analytics platform, INRIX is helping advertisers not only better measure the impact of their investments in out of home, but provides them with insight that better informs when and where they make those investments.

With this INRIX-powered expansion of the ratings system, digital spot ratings are now being reported for each ad on a digital structure as opposed to a rating for the structure itself.  Because these ads are constantly being rotated, TAB needed to determine the number of people noticing each ad, and knowing the speed at which vehicles are traveling is where INRIX plays such a vital role.  As a Big Data company, INRIX analyzes billions of real-time data points crowd-sourced from nearly 100 million vehicles and devices to provide up-to-the-minute traffic information used in car navigation systems, mobile navigation apps and traveler information services from leading automakers, app providers and transportation agencies worldwide.  TAB’s integration of INRIX data into its measurement system represents a new way to leverage traffic information for the purposes of providing better insight to advertisers. Check out the infographic below to see precisely how this works.

Mary Sheehan, ESPN’s Senior Director of Media Strategy and Planning is one of the industry’s most important people.  Her support is critical and we have it.  According to Mary, “With consumers spending more time out-of-home than ever, it’s increasingly challenging for marketers to reach audiences who are literally moving targets.  Out of home can play an important role in building brands and driving sales, but it’s important to advance the audience measurement of the medium to speak to today’s modern, data-driven marketers.  The new ratings move us progressively forward.”

Here is what TAB President & CEO, Joe Philport has to say about today’s landmark roll out:  “We have improved the precision of our measurement system and expanded its coverage by including more major out of home formats.  As a result, the number of units reported by TAB will grow exponentially.  Our goal is, and has always been, to provide both buyers and sellers of OOH media with better and more exhaustive data and this update marks a huge step in accomplishing both.”

The Wall Street Journal just wrote a piece this morning that illustrated how increased traffic congestion is good for OOH advertisers with more people, who are driving slower with more money in their pockets.

Advertising is just one of many industries outside of transportation that are deriving value from the unique insight INRIX data offers.  We look forward to sharing more insight into unexpected uses of INRIX data in the months ahead.

After all, it’s all about time.


GM. GeoAnalytics, INRIX, Inc.