IOAA's out-of-home measurement tool 'Roadstar' ready to roll

After presenting RoadStar before AAAI last week, IOAA said that it may take a few weeks for the tool to become an industry currency since AAAI has been seeking clarity over unified privacy protocol

by Kanchan Srivastava
Published - May 13, 2024
6 minutes To Read
IOAA's out-of-home measurement tool 'Roadstar' ready to roll

After years of discussion and hard work, the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) has devised its first-ever unified audience measurement system for the outdoor industry named RoadStar. 

Based on GPS, RoadStar has been developed by Mumbai-based firm Relu AI. The software, first launched by the firm in 2020, is already being used by some media owners like Times and Jagran groups. It has been upgraded further over the last year in consultation with IOAA.

The IOAA presented the tool before the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) on May 8 for their feedback and approval. While most of the advertising agencies hailed the software, GroupM and Rapport have reportedly raised concerns related to data safety and legal contracts associated with the system.  

“Rapport wanted clarity on certain legal bindings related to data safety. To address that, a copy of the legal contract was shared with AAAI members soon after the meeting. GroupM seeks to consult its IT team to streamline their privacy protocol with the one associated with RoadStar,” sources said. 

“We have started working on upgrading the tool. Hopefully, RoadStar will get an official stamp of AAAI by the end of this month,” Praveen Vadhera, CEO of the IOAA, tells e4m. 

Praveen Vadhera, CEO of the IOAA

The Software can be upgraded with a few weeks by incorporating AAAI members suggestions, Magesh Poondi, founder of Relu AI told e4m. 

Vadhera explains, “The Roadster has been developed based on the consultation with stakeholders and their feedback at various steps. It covers 800+ markets in India till Taluka level. It provides impressions and profiles of consumers exposed to more than 63,000 outdoor media properties across India.”  

IOAA is the national body of Outdoor Media owners with more than 80% of top out-of-home media owners and over 220 members across India. At present, outdoor players are using their own measurement and data privacy protocols to analyze the effectiveness of campaigns. 

The lack of a unified measurement has been the biggest challenge for the outdoor advertising industry and believed to be hampering its growth despite being a very effective medium. IOAA has been working on fixing the measurability of the medium for over five years now. 

The OOH industry commands nearly 4 percent of India’s total advertising spends market (roughly Rs one lakh crore). Experts believe that the industry can grow its pie to 10 percent in the next three-four years if it is able to demonstrate its effectiveness through data, just like digital advertising.  

Pawan Bansal, Chairman of the IOAA

Pawan Bansal, Chairman of the IOAA, remarks, “Once RoadStar is adopted and implemented, OOH will be evaluated at par with the other media in the media mix. We certainly hope once the objective metrics for the medium are in place, we will be able to garner a larger share of the ad spends, thus hopefully facilitating an exponential growth in the OOH spends.”

Cost factor

Agencies will have to spend Rs 24 lakh per annum if they subscribe to RoadStar by the year-end. The company plans to hike the cost to Rs 36 lakh per annum for clients who will come on board next year. 

For media owners, the cost is just Rs 1,250  per site, per month. However, they will have to subscribe for at least 25 sites, says Poondi. 

How does RoadStar work? 

RoadStar covers over 800 markets across the country, ranging from the metro cities to non-metros to the taluka level. It delivers comprehensive metrics for over 60,000 media sites. 

Leveraging data from an anonymous panel of over 35 million mobile users, refreshed monthly, the platform discerns high-traffic areas and lesser-used locations, offering optimized advertisement placement for maximum visibility and efficiency.

“It maps consumer movements through over 3 million places of interest, spread across more than 120 consumer categories. This allows planners to accurately identify target audiences based on real-world behaviours and preferences,” Poondi explains. 

RoadStar draws from four primary data sources:

  1. Mobility data: Aggregated from millions of mobile phones via various mobile apps, this anonymous GPS data is provided by the third-party aggregator Unacast. 

  1. Census of India

  1. Global Administrative Areas Maps: Open source shape files defining geographical boundaries at various administrative levels across India

  1. Profile and POI Data: Mapping mobility data with places of interest to create behavioral mappings for individuals

Designed to align OOH media metrics with those of other media types, RoadStar offers metrics such as Unique Reach, Gross Reach (Impressions), Frequency, Cost Per Thousand (CPT), Effective Reach, and Cross-Site Visitations, with detailed breakdowns by date, hour, and day. 

Furthermore, RoadStar integrates machine-generated data with market research methodologies, employing a sample-based approach to accurately measuring OOH media audiences, Poondi stated. 

Product modules

RoadStar offers various product modules such as Client Module (manages client information), Project Module (Builds and manages campaigns), TG Definition Module (Defines target audiences using Boolean-based queries), Site Recommendation Engine, Plan Optimizer Module (Facilitates addition and deletion of media sites to campaigns), Campaign Reports Module ( Provides detailed pre-built reports on various metrics), Attribution Module (Assesses the impact of campaigns on footfall generation) and Sites Master Module that provides visibility to all sites included in RoadStar. 

Data Processing and Reporting

The processing and reporting in RoadStar involve several steps such as Data Cleansing (removing dot logs, eliminating duplicates, and validating panel membership), Visibility Cone Creation (based on the first and last instances of visibility), Data Weighting and Data Aggregation at site, market, and campaign levels.

Campaign reporting 

1. Reach by: Local Traffic Vs Transit Traffic

2. Effective Reach:  1+ to 5+

3. Count of sites exposed: Explains reasons for frequency

4. Campaign reach quintiles: Explains the time taken to reach 20% of audience each

5. Metrics at 3 different levels for all the campaigns

a. Campaign level

b. Market Level

c. Site Level

For media planners

The software provides location-based identification of Target Audience - enabling selection of sites, Dynamic Visibility cone, a robust database of 60,000+ sites, search by latitude and longitude, site clusters within 100 m, 250 m, 1 km linear stretch, Client and competition locations, different icons to identify different layers and auto segregation of markets for reporting- from a single excel upload.