GeopathBlack.png
  KYM FRANK  President- Geopath

KYM FRANK
President-
Geopath

 

EYE REPORTER WITH KYM Frank

EYE Reporter asked Kym Frank, President of Geopath, about her outlook for the future of the OOH industry. 

Kym Frank is an admitted data nerd with a passion for media research. Over the last two decades, she has worked across every media channel in some capacity – and is thrilled to have most recently added OOH into her media mix. Previously, she held leadership positions at Symphony Advanced Media, Zenith Optimedia, FTI Consulting, CBS Television Distribution, and King World Television.    

Kym was elected TAB President at the 2015 OAAA/TAB Conference. In September 2016, Kym led the organization through a full rebrand under the new name, Geopath. Geopath provides the industry standard currency for OOH in the United States. This year, Geopath launched a new, state-of-the-art, OOH measurement system that harnesses the power of location data. Aggregated from hundreds of millions of mobile devices, this new measurement system measures the movement of the entire population of the United States every hour throughout the year.

She is co-chair of the Digital Signage Federation’s Global DOOH Council, Founder of the Global OOH Research Leads Group, and a member of the Market Research Council. In her free time, Kym runs a volunteer comedy group that raises money for charity.

 

EYE:

You get a time traveling ticket to see any Broadway show current or past. 
What show do you go see, from when, and why? 

 

Frank:

If I could see any Broadway show, current or past, I would have to go with “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade,” aka Marat/Sade which ran at the Martin Beck Theatre in the mid-sixties. This is my absolute favorite piece of theater.  It is so gorgeously grotesque! I have directed several theatrical productions throughout the years, and the style of this piece was a major influence. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a live performance of this show, but directing it myself is certainly on my bucket list.   

EYE:

You are given an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world for you and your family. Where do you take the family and what do you see? 

Frank:

I am absolutely dedicated to taking my family on an extended cross-country trek in our RV, Miles. As part of my role at Geopath, I spend a lot of time on the road visiting cities and members, large and small, across the United States. Unfortunately, I typically do not get to spend enough time in any market to fully explore it. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to share the amazing country we live in with my children.  It also wouldn’t hurt to have my two mutts, Gozer and Zuul, along for the ride. They are big fans of our RV road trips.   

EYE:

You are walking on the beach, waves hitting your feet and you come across a beautiful bottle of colored glass and inlayed rubies. You rub the sand off the bottle and POOF a Genie appears and grants you one wish. What do you wish for? 

Frank:

Am I not allowed to wish for a million more wishes? 

EYE:

What is the last out-of-home ad you saw that made you either go do something (make a purchase, take a trip, see a show, etc.) or stop and say “WOW great execution”? 

Frank:

I drove my last car, a silver Corolla, into the ground. 

There was this super-cute, orange, convertible Mini Cooper on a billboard on Route 46 in Rockaway, NJ by my house that I always admired when I drove by.

One cold January day, my Corolla with 170K miles on it decided to abruptly bite the dust. The driver’s side window fell into the door of the car. As freezing air whipped me in the face, I grabbed the lid of the console to get my cell phone and the entire lid ripped off in my hand. That was it. I drove to the Mini dealership the next day. And there it was, the little orange car that was featured on the billboard was in the showroom. Unfortunately, it was a manual, which I didn’t know how to drive. I bought it anyway and learned how to drive it over the next week. I only cried twice.

EYE:

As you look across the out-of-home media landscape, what shifts are happening in 2018 that are having the largest positive impact on our industry?   

Frank:

The uptick in concerns that immediately come to mind are centered around consumer privacy, data protection, bot fraud and walled data gardens, which from my perspective, highlight the mistakes made by the online advertising industry. At Geopath, we’ve noticed a shift in the way the OOH industry is talking about these topics.  

We are frequently asked about consumer privacy with regard to our new measurement system. When we built the system, privacy and the responsible use of data were of primary importance to us, so we made sure that nothing we were doing would reflect badly on the industry. 

The interest in universal, third-party audited measurement has spiked recently. In fact, we’ve gotten 47 new members to date in 2018 and are hitting record membership levels for the organization. We believe this is a direct result of some of the issues plaguing within the online space. 

Addressing these advertising issues head-on as a channel, makes OOH more trusted and more transparent. This, in turn, makes it easier for buyers to recommend Geopath to their clients.     

EYE:

We are arguably in early stages of technology shift across our industry. From digital screens to the impact of mobile and measurement to the opportunities around augmented reality and virtual reality. What technology shift happening today do you predict will have the biggest positive impact on the out of home industry and why?

Frank:

The increased availability of data has massive implications for our industry, which is exactly why I took on the role at Geopath. When they called me to interview for the position, I examined the OOH marketplace and saw that there was a tremendous amount of opportunity for growth, especially if the industry could adopt more robust use of data. 

With the increased use of data, operators can take OOH to the next level. They can better understand the consumer journey to more effectively target audiences with both OOH and mobile ads. Creative can be optimized based on real-time data triggers and in turn, campaign effectiveness metrics, including purchase behavior, brand perception lifts, and increases in footfall can be provided. 

EYE:

As you look at how 2018 is shaping up, the OOH industry is reporting continued single digit growth but individual operators report mixed results. What trends are you seeing in 2018 that you believe offer the biggest opportunity for OOH media growth?

Frank:

Among our members, we’ve seen a shift in ad spend from various channels on the local side. We attribute much of this to the operators’ ability to provide better data and insights regarding various audiences. Over the past few years, the political space has been a major opportunity for OOH, so we have recently added several new political audience targets to our platform to help our members seize incremental dollars.

EYE:

As you speak to GeoPath members, are there any trends you are seeing in the way they are using measurement and data today vs. a few years ago? 

Frank:

Definitely. Our members are now providing insights in a more consultative way to their clients. We have seen them talking less about units or billboards and talking more about audiences.

EYE:

Once we have a full measurement system in place across media types and formats,
what do you believe will be the next step we need to take as an industry related to
audiences and data? 

Frank:

People often say that OOH is hard to “plan, buy and measure.” At Geopath, we are making it easier to plan and measure, so I believe the next step for the industry is to make it easier to buy. 

EYE:

Is there anything happening with measurement or use of data in other countries you think we need to either pay attention to or that will have an impact on our market in the future?   

Frank:

This June, I kicked off the Global OOH Research Leads group at Fepe, where members of many counties across the globe came together to discuss the status of measurement in our markets.  We are fortunate in the U.S. to have such robust measurement for our industry. I believe we are truly leading the way. In fact, we are constantly getting inquiries from other markets who are interested in having us measure their advertising.   

We work closely with our counterparts at Route in the UK, MOVE in Australia, and COMMB in Canada to share best practices and learnings.

EYE:

There are some amazing digital place-based networks in the market today in cinema, airports, gyms, elevators, taxi’s, gas stations, shopping malls, bars, and more. What is the single most difficult variable in these location networks when it comes to measurement? 

 

Frank:

At Geopath, we audit every piece of inventory that we measure. We ensure that the unit is where an operator says it is, that it is the correct size, and is angled properly to the audience, etc. We do a lot of this work through satellite imagery – which does not work indoors. Many operators are unsure of the exact location of their ads, especially within buildings. So, our biggest challenge has been identifying which units are where and the exact specifications. 

EYE:

As a static media locations get digitized, what benefits come from sound and motion and what challenges come from multiple advertisers sharing one location when it comes to measurement? 

Frank:

(I’m skipping the first half of this one.)

We are actually one of the only countries in the world with a currency that is able to measure digital OOH at the spot level. Our formulas consider dwell time, noting distance, number of ads and ad duration – as well as our own proprietary visibility model. 

The challenge we run into most often is why the impressions look the way that they do. Some want to simply take the total number of impressions received by the unit itself and divide it by the number of ads in rotation, but it is more complicated than that. If an audience is in front of a unit for a few seconds, they may only see one ad, but if they are there for longer, they may see 3 or 4. Our methodology takes that into account.   

EYE:

Attribution is looked at as highly important to some advertisers. Do you see attribution capability at scale on the horizon? 

Attribution is obviously a hot topic…but it also comes in many forms. I’m not sure we are always speaking the same language in the OOH industry when we talk about it. In its most basic form, attribution determines the contribution of each individual marketing touchpoint to some specific KPI. 

This is typically done through the use of a model. These models are very expensive and typically custom built for an individual brand. 

Sometimes when people in the industry talk about attribution, I believe they are actually talking about campaign effectiveness work. In other words, did my OOH campaign increase my key metrics?

The problem with building a “scalable” campaign effectiveness solution is that there are a variety of KPIs that may be important to a brand and each KPI may require a different methodology. For example, an awareness campaign may need to run a survey to identify if exposed audiences are more aware of the brand than those that were not exposed.  If the KPI is footfall, you may be able to capture this passively utilizing mobile data.

At this time, doing any of that work to “scale” can be quite a challenge. Finding exposed samples that are large enough to be statistically significant is not always possible unless there is a sizable spend.

So – often these studies need to be built as custom solutions, brand by brand.

EYE:

If you were advising an out-of-home media company given the dynamic shifts happening in the industry today, what are the top 2-3 considerations you would recommend that media company pay attention to as they try to position themselves for the future? 

My top recommendations:

1) Talent. Make sure that you have the right talent in place to secure your success in the future. This includes people who can understand data and technology, but also, people who understand the media ecosystem beyond OOH.

2) Embrace change. Other media channels have suffered greatly because they were not willing to change their businesses.

3) Don’t chase after shiny things. With change comes an influx of shiny new objects, whether they be new technology, data products, software, dashboards, etc. Not all that glitters is gold.  Make sure you have the right talent in place to know the difference.