OOH Glossary of Terms 2024

OOH Glossary of Terms

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Need a definition of a technical term in the out of home advertising industry? We’ve got you covered. Below is a growing list of terms widely used in our industry. Did we miss one? Contact us and we’ll add it!

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An advertising company that works as a middle man to buy OOH space for larger clientele.

A portion of land allocated or shared to a particular person or company. Allowing a small area of land to place a billboard structure upon.

The measurement in distance of prime visibility of a billboard or display. From the point of first sight to where the display is no longer visible.

Approach Shot
A photograph of a media unit or billboard from the viewer’s perspective (street perspective) as approaching the unit.

A demographic of people who see a certain billboard or display or a demographic of people more prone to buy a particular product or service.

The state or condition of mass awareness of an ad campaign.



A flat surface or display, usually outdoors, on which large advertisements or notices are posted.

Extra space given around the edges of a printed billboard to allow framing or wrapping around the structure.

Branding Campaign
An advertising campaign of which the sole purpose is to bring awareness to the existence of a particular business and stay top-of-mind.

A standard size billboard display. Usually 14’x48′. The larger of the standard industry sizes.

Bus Shelter
An advertisement/display located on a covered structure at a bus stop that is visible to people waiting for a bus.



An advertising plan consisting of specific ads, locations and targeting information. Usually to serve a specific purpose (brand awareness, product sales, etc.)

Cancellation Period
A specified period of time when a billboard contract can be terminated.

A core-based statistical area (CBSA) is a U.S. geographic area defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that consists of one or more counties (or equivalents) anchored by an urban center of at least 10,000 people plus adjacent counties that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center by commuting. Areas defined on the basis of these standards applied to Census 2000 data were announced by OMB in June 2003. These standards are used to replace the definitions of metropolitan areas that were defined in 1990. The OMB released new standards based on the 2010 Census on July 15, 2015

Selecting and scheduling specific ads to maximize the impact of an advertising campaign.

The average number of people that would be exposed to an ad campaign. Specifically, the number of Adults multiplied by the effective illumination rate of the billboard, multiplied by the average passengers in a car or vehicle.

Commercial Audience
An estimate of the people, motorists, or the target audience exposed to an advertising campaign. Used to measure the effectiveness of an OOH campaign.

Maximizing your billboard revenue by having advertisers run on a continuous basis.

CPM refers to what an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions of an advertisement. More often used in digital marketing, however it can be used in out-of-home advertising as well.

Co-Op Advertising
When a dealer pays a portion of the advertising cost for a supplier. Thus advertising the dealer and supplier on the same ad. See our top list of companies that offer co-op advertising.

Copy Area
The viewable area on a billboard.

The area, groups, or number of persons served or reached by a billboard, radio or television station, advertising campaign, business, etc.; market.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand
The cost of delivering 1000 impressions or ad views. CMP – cost per mille (thousand)

CPP – Cost per Ratings Point
The cost it will take to reach a desired goal in an advertising campaign. For example the cost it will take to reach 1 percent of your audience in a billboard campaign.

A billboard that is visible from across the street.



Daily Effective Circulation (DECs)
The first measurement standard in out of home advertising. The average number of people in a vehicle passing by an advertising display or billboard. Traffic count, minus the opposing direction of traffic, multiplied by 1.5 (the average number of people in a vehicle). DECs and traffic count are still widely used today but are slowly being replaced with better metrics.

Digital Billboard
An advertising display, usually fabricated with LEDs, with the capability of changing messages easily, at any given time, often remotely.

Digital OOH (DOOH)
Digital Out of Home Advertising. Advertising on a display or displays, usually fabricated with LEDs, with the capability of changing messages easily, at any given time, often remotely.

Digital Place-Based Media
A wide gamut of digital advertising displays including billboards, bus shelters, airport ads, kiosks and more.

Placement, location, arrangement, or disposition of an advertising campaign.

DMA – Designated Market Area
A region where the population can receive the same (or similar) television and radio station offerings, and may also include other types of media including newspapers and Internet content. They can coincide or overlap with one or more metropolitan areas, though rural regions with few significant population centers can also be designated as markets. Conversely, very large metropolitan areas can sometimes be subdivided into multiple segments. Market regions may overlap, meaning that people residing on the edge of one media market may be able to receive content from other nearby markets. They are widely used in audience measurements, which are compiled in the United States by Nielsen Media Research.

Dwell Time
The number of seconds a person has time to read an advertisement.



Effective Reach
Exposure to your target audience or market an ad or set of ads in an advertising campaign multiple times.

Additional features are added to a billboard to enhance its appearance or effectiveness. Ie: Eye Catchers (sparklers).

Someone physically looking at an OOH ad/billboard ad.

Experiential Marketing
Advertising campaigns that engage consumers directly through memorable experiences or interactions.

Something extended beyond the live size of a traditional billboard. Usually for impact or wow factor.



In OOH terms, a single advertising spot on a billboard or display. Vinyl wrap – 1 face. Trivision Billboard – 3 faces. Digital billboard – 8+ faces.

The direction a billboard faces. Visible to traffic driving the opposing direction. For example, a billboard facing east is visible to traffic heading west.

The process of adding pockets, grommets, hemmed edges, etc. to a traditional billboard vinyl. The finishing purpose is for attaching the vinyl to the structure.

The process of segmenting an advertising campaign.

The number of times an ad is seen over a specific period of time.



Geopath Out of Home Ratings
Geopath offers data measurement to advertisers and OOH companies.
The Geopath method involves:

  • Traffic counts, vehicle occupancy and pedestrian volume.
  • Traffic and walking speed in relationship to the display’s position.
  • Demographics and observed behaviors based on anonymous mobile location data.

Gross Rating Points (GRPs)
A standard measure in advertising that measures advertising impact. You calculate it as a percent of the target market reached multiplied by the exposure frequency. Thus, if you advertise to 30% of the target market and give them 4 exposures, you would have 120 GRP.



House Agency
An advertising agency owned and operated by an advertiser, which handles the advertiser’s account.



To light a static or trivision billboard at night. Usually with external lights.

An impression is a single view of an ad by an audience. It’s used in online advertising and also out-of-home advertising.



Jr. Poster
A standard size billboard display, usually measuring 6′ x 12′.

The process of ensuring that a billboard location complies with zoning laws and regulations.



A premium used to induce a consumer to take some action, such as completing a survey or trying a product.

Key Visual
The central image or element of an advertisement designed to attract attention and convey the main message.



Land Lease
The agreement between the billboard owner and the landowner for the use of the billboard space.

Likelihood to See (LTS)
In conjunction with (Opportunity to See) audience who are likely to see an ad. A much more narrow number when compared to DECs, as many factors may go into the likelihood of an ad being seen, vs. just being shown.

Line of Sight
An area or location in which a billboard or OOH unit is viewed.

Location List
An organized list of locations needed for a specific advertising campaign.



Geographic areas for buying and selling advertising.

Market Research
The process of gathering information about consumers and market trends to inform advertising strategies.

Market Ride
A detailed inspection of out of home advertising units/structures before or after a media buy.

Message Duration
The number of seconds a digital ad is shown before switching to the next ad.

Mobile Billboard
A vehicle (usually a truck) equipped with advertising units (static wraps, trivision panels or digital billboards), that can be driven around to target viewers.



National Advertising
Advertising which is aimed at a National Market, as opposed to Local Advertising.



Off-Premise Sign
A sign (or billboard) that advertises products or services that are not principally located, manufactured or sold on the premises of which the sign is located.

On-Premise Sign
A sign that advertises products or services that are sold, produced, manufactured or furnished on the premises of which the sign is located.

Out of Home Media (OOH)
All advertising media with the specific purpose of reaching consumers outside the home.



Place-Based Media
A wide gamut of advertising displays including billboards, bus shelters, airport ads, kiosks and more located in stadiums, retail environments, theaters, gyms, bars, restaurants and more.

Legal documents required for the construction and display of billboards, obtained from local authorities.

A media company or billboard company.

The number of people who live in a designated area. Often divided into demographic groups for targeting.

A standard billboard format, usually measuring 12’ 3” x 24’ 6”.

Posting Date
The date a billboard or advertising piece goes live or is installed for public viewing.

Posting Instructions
A set of specific instructions provided by an advertiser or agency detailing an advertising campaign’s dates, locations, materials and market.

Programmatic DOOH
The process of an advertiser or agency purchasing ad space on digital screens through a website where no human communication is necessary. This is often done on a bidding platform where you can set your own budget. See our articles about programmatic dooh here.

Proof-of-Performance (POP)
Proof that an advertising campaign has run, usually requested by an agency.



Quantitative Research
A method of advertising research that emphasizes measurement of the incidence of consumer trends within a population.



A percentage of an audience that notices an ad at least once during its campaign.

Ride Sheet
A document containing details about a specific media unit or billboard. Also called a rate sheet or spec sheet.



A digital advertising display.

A patch used to cover up part of an existing billboard. Often used to change a date. Usually printed on adhesive vinyl.

An impressive, large-scale billboard. Often with a build-out or moving part. 3-dimensional objects are also used.

Static Billboard
A traditional billboard with a fixed image or message.

Street Furniture
Bus shelters, benches and other public use objects that are turned into places to advertise on.

A supporting material on which an advertisement is printed.



Target Audience
A specific group of people with shared characteristics who are most likely to be interested in a product or service.

Target Rating Points (TRPs)

Advertising TRPs, or target rating points, are the percentage of a company’s target audience that sees its advertisements.

Traffic Count
The total number of vehicles and or pedestrians that use a specific street, road, interstate or highway on a daily basis.

Transit Advertising
Advertising displays attached to moving vehicles such as buses or taxi cabs.

Transit Shelter
A type of outdoor advertising structure found at bus stops or train stations.

Trim Size
The final size of a billboard print after its finishing parts have been added.

A billboard with multiple triangular panels used to display 3 different advertisements.



A type of billboard structure supported by a single pole or column.

UV Coating
A clear spray or adhesive vinyl used to prolong the life of a billboard print against the elements.



Vehicle Advertising
An advertisement printed on adhesive vinyl and applied directly to a vehicle. Commonly called a vehicle wrap, but for the sole purpose of advertising a product or service. See also programmatic taxi / auto screen advertising.

Vinyl Wrap
A method of covering a billboard face with printed vinyl material.



Wall Mural (Wallscape)
An advertisement painted or attached directly to a building.

White space
Unoccupied parts of a print advertisement, including between blocks of type, illustrations, headlines, etc.





The revenue generated by a billboard or advertising campaign relative to its cost.



Zoning Regulations
Laws and restrictions governing the placement and construction of billboards in specific areas.

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