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Nov. 16, 2020

Episode 054 - Drew Jackson and Michael Steinberg, Getting to know StreetMetrics

Episode 054 - Drew Jackson and Michael Steinberg, Getting to know StreetMetrics

When it comes to measuring ads that move, there are a lot of different ideas on the best way to do it.

For StreetMetrics, location data and an understanding of HOW things move in the real world has led them to creating one of the most exciting measurement tools for mobile media companies. 

Founder and CEO, Drew Jackson pivoted his family business into a location measurement focus to solve the problem - how do I measure my ad campaign on things that move?

They've built a sustainable platform with a great user-experience, updating their location data and campaign results every 24 hours so that #brands can have a finger on the pulse of  and understand the value of their #ooh campaign.

Special thanks to #Wrapify for making this conversation possible.

With data visualization, multi-channel retargeting and OOH attribution reporting, you can manage your entire mobile ad campaign from your laptop, just like your digital marketing.

Check out Boost by Wrapify at https://www.wrapify.com/boost/

Looking for your next job in OOH? Start here: www.oohired.com


Welcome to out-of-home insider. This episode is sponsored by boost by rapid rapid fire. Took it six years of product development and create a SAS solution that solves a greater industry problem measurement for stuff that moves boost by rapid fire is providing the nation's moving out of home providers with attribution multi-channel retargeting and data visualization.

To learn more, go to  dot com forward slash boost B O O S T rapid fire.com forward slash. To learn more. Thanks again for making today's show possible today. We're going to get to know street metrics, a company that not just measures ads that move, but actually attributes real-world results shows advertisers.

How out of home that moves can actually drive the bottom line. Drew Michael, thanks for being here to. Absolutely. So we've obviously got him some time to get to know each other offline and drew, we've talked a bit more at length, but talk to me about who street metrics is and ultimately how it came to be.

Yeah, for sure. So I guess in short street metrics, we're a media measurement and attribution software companies specifically designed for ads that move. Um, you know, it was five years ago. We. Crazy. It's been that long, but five years ago, um, my family decided that, uh, they wanted to sell ads on the side of their semi-trailers.

So my family is in the logistics industry and they operate, uh, several, uh, several semi trailers. And so, um, we wanted to put ads on them, so they kind of tasked me. With doing this post-graduation, uh, that was like my way of getting into the family business. And, uh, we jumped in and we had several thousand trailers kind of in our network from the get-go and we wanted to, uh, we wanted to monetize those assets in some form or fashion.

And so we, uh, effectively we set out on this journey to, to put advertisements on the side of him. It makes sense. Like, it's still seems like it makes sense. Cause you drive down the road and you just see, you know, a bunch of. Empty space. Uh, and what we found kind of in that process was we needed a way to measure the effectiveness of those ads.

That was kind of like the consensus that we get. We got rejected, I think probably like 10 to 15 times in the span of a week. And they all said the same thing. They said, we need to know how well our ads are performing. How is this driving behavior? Post-exposure right. And so people would put QR codes or phone numbers on the August real quick, shout out to Corona virus, shouts a Corona virus for saving the QR code.

Okay. Continue. Yeah. So, uh, our, our clients were, you know, the handful that we had or we're trying to be creative and, and give us, you know, have these unique ways to, uh, kind of attribute, um, action, post exposure, you know, do people call a numbers? Did they scan the QR code is for driving down the road, whatever, whatever they could.

I think we even tried beacons at one point because we were so keen on. On actually, uh, you know, measuring this and what we found was it was just really challenging. It really was, you know, from a top of funnel, just drink exposure. Um, it was really hard to identify, you know, the eyeballs, the amount of people viewing those ads and you know, that there were solutions that were coming on the market that were leveraging traffic data as a way to, to measure and breath.

Um, you know, we tried working with the trade bodies and we just really where the industry was going. We didn't, there wasn't really a solution that was available that we could leverage, um, to measure our clients, uh, exposure. And so that kind of set us on the journey to kind of get more involved in the technology side of the business.

And we brought on. You know, a couple of development leads and started going down this journey and we experimented and we ideated and we, you know, tested wifi sniffing and Bluetooth, beacons, and location, data on traffic data and all these different things. And, and, um, we ultimately landed on using location data as the foundation of our analysis, where we actually track the path of, uh, of our semi-trailers.

And then we identify maids or mobile device IDs next to the. And, you know, started working on a way that we could extrapolate measure impressions from, you know, the maids that we did identify. Um, and so we, what we realized is the technology that we built and that we were trying to leverage internally as a competitive advantage was amazing.

It was fantastic, but we quickly realized that media operators can't measure their own home. There there's value in third-party verification. Um, and so at the time we were really, it was, we were struggling to find a third party that could audit our media at a, because it was dynamic and it was always moving and going into different markets.

Uh, it was also really expensive, the options that we did find. And so we, we actually made the decision, um, that we would pivot the business entirely and stop selling ads on semi trailers. Um, and that we would focus exclusively on becoming a third-party media measurement company for ads that moved. And we wanted to see, are there other folks like us that are selling ads on vehicles that are having these same sort of problems?

And it turns out. Yes. There are a lot of people that are struggling with measurement, for ads that move and, and, and our original niche was like truck side semi-trailers, but it was outside of that. We like the micro mobility space, the scooters, the bikes, the, you know, the autonomous vehicles that are starting to come out.

Right? Like eventually there's going to be ads on, on all of those. Um, and there needs to be a way that they can be measured because if they can't be measured, it can't be sold. Uh, and you can't, you can't extract all the value from, from that media. And so. You know, that's how it, I guess that's how I got started and to realize that kind of mobility as a whole was shifting, you know, we're kind of at this inflection point, you know, you've started to see ads on a ride share and it's kind of moved from, from vinyl wraps to these digital toppers, kind of what you may see on like taxis and.

Just kind of seeing the evolution of public transit and, uh, and all these variety of, you know, various forms of mobility. Uh, it just really, uh, we saw a big opportunity for us to, to provide a value to an industry that we believe was, was desperately needing something to, um, to measure this media, you know, where they could really compete against dollars and, uh, not, they're not competing against, out of home dollars.

They're competing against digital dollars. And so, uh, when. Build a savvy, uh, product you need, you really need tools that can justify the buy. And I'm at street metrics. I guess that's the long winded way of saying that, that our entire technology, our entire. All of our time and resources are focused on, uh, on building a suite of tools that allow media operators specifically as a move.

Uh, we want to build a suite of tools that allows them to really understand the value of their media in a way that has really never been seen. And having seen the platform, uh, I can certainly attest to that. And th th the simplicity and the way that you deliver insight into a mobile out of home campaign, it's just like a Facebook ads manager.

And in fact, I think it's more user-friendly and user experience, right? It's visually appealing. Michael, you're an industry veteran you've seen. Obviously the industry continue to evolve. What needs to happen? Do you think for measurement to become standardized adoption? Where do you think we are in seriously having a conversation around all agreeing to, to a similar set of standards?

Um, you know, it's funny. I come from a world when I was, uh, running the time square division, right. For our spec to color later clear channel where we had, we were not yet. Right. We had nothing. Sure. Uh, and, uh, and it was very tough. I mean, there were certainly, there were certainly, uh, marketers that believed in enough and took positions there, but, uh, it's infinitely easier when you can establish who seeing an ad or hear who's being impressed.

And, uh, you know, my belief is that for us as a channel outdoors, To really compete with the other channels, two of which mobile and digital that have grown exponentially, you know, while we've been doing what we've been doing for the past 15, 20 years for us to catch up, we need to really hold ourselves to the highest standard we can.

And if we have an opportunity to be measured, right, we should be. You know, I always tell my kids a low-hanging fruit. If you've got a piece of homework that you can hand in, right. You don't hand it in, what are you doing? That's like, that's the easiest grade. Gimme yeah, you gotta do that one. So I think we want to be in that position, you know, and, and we need to work collectively as an industry.

To really kind of establish things that work for all of us, uh, establish measurement practices that work there are different players. That's obviously the case. We know that that's the case, but ultimately we're all trying to work together to do one thing. And that is to really prove out to the marketers and the agency worlds or agency world out there that we really are.

A, a visceral and effective medium. And we all know that it's, it's a question of really getting that out there. And so measurement, certainly one of those components and results. Attribution is another one. You know, one that I really lay a claim to, um, having really worked as hard as I have over the past, let's say six years.

Um, to establish that outdoor really does allow for significant results. And we have to tell that story as loud as we can. Where do you think that that conversation starts? If it starts anywhere? Does it start at the national level with big enterprise brands? Does it start at the local level? And the reason that I ask you.

In my own experience, I started to see some cool stories in Google analytics, things that were really tangible and could demonstrate the value of out of home to an advertiser. And I was cautioned against, I was cautioned against having that conversation with the advertiser and tying too much success to out of home.

Is that a thought process? Is it a legacy mindset? Where, where does it, where does the change need to start with. I believe that is a legacy mindset. And I'll tell you why I've had this conversation with people that have worked for me. And then people who I sit across the table from. If we can't establish a benchmark, we can establish a first step with the brands and agencies that we continue to talk to.

Whether it's national or local, it doesn't matter. We have no place to go from. We have to establish a benchmark and categories. Um, maybe it's for, um, you know, certain types of attribution methods, right? Whether it's driving in store or driving online, uh, app download, what have you, in order for us to have a place to start, because then we got to figure out what's the right mix.

What's the right share of voice. What's the right product. To show how we can increase the effectiveness of results. I do believe that results ultimately, attribution ultimately is what's going to help our channel, the outdoor channel raise past the 4%. Yeah, absolutely. Drew talk to me, uh, talk to me about the, the, the, the backend, the platform itself.

You could have measured it, any number of different ways, right. But you've chosen something that's got a really modern feel. What was the thought process there? You're trying to appeal to a certain type of end user. Uh, is it, is it just the, the, the platform continuing to evolve? Yeah, I think there's two kind of nuggets in there.

Right. So I think that we wanted the platform to be really simple to use, but we also believe that the cadence of reporting was extremely important, you know? Um, and that's why all of our insights are updated effectively every 24 hours for every attribution study, every measurement study everything.

Right now, 24 hours. And we'll, uh, and we did that strategically because we felt like it helps with pacing. It helps with understanding how well you can basically have your thumb on the pulse of the campaign constantly. Um, but to your previous point, the, we kind of, we chose location data as the foundation of our analysis, particularly because it was dynamic.

It was easily scalable. Um, you know, grant, we're not going to have access to every single person, you know, Trek, Chuck, all of them. There's just too many privacy and security issues there. But yeah, we can't, we can't get a really good sample right. Of, of people that are seeing the ads. And so, um, you know, some of the ancillary benefits that were afforded is that, uh, we could see the dynamic changes and.

Right. So when COVID hit and the lockdowns took, took a fact and you know, we've got our clients have ads that are operating in big cities, where we basically saw a cliff where we're like, we're not reporting any exposure. Wow. And, uh, you know, now that traffic is starting to ramp back up, you know, we can start to see the ebb and flow of, of, uh, of people move around.

Right. COVID was. It definitely highlighted it more so than others, but whenever your client's driving around MSG or Yankee stadium in New York, how do you attribute that additional exposure to your media? Right? You want to take it into consideration if you've got an ad at Coachella, right. We want to use the most up-to-date data that we have available.

And the only data set that we really have available is either local sensors, which is really expensive to deploy. And the accuracy is questionable. And second is location data. Location data is, you know, majority of it right. Is, is, is sent either from the a is going to be sent from the SDK. They are, you know, are we're important RTB data, and it's going to happen either in real time or some of that data's going to be prolonged and sent over, you know, some, some time window after it was actually reported.

And that gave us the ability to, uh, to harness it in a really powerful way that really, you know, allow the, the clients, the advertisers to understand how well their campaigns are doing just in a cadence that they've never had access to before. It's not based on historical traffic. Data is great as it is great as that data has been, you know, it's not updated.

You know, and the data that is updated frequently as a model, it's a, it's a guess. And so we're location data is a known verifiable device that we've identified within the viewer shed, the visibility code of our clients media. And we believe that that really is important and foundation. And, um, by doing that, that is kind of what that is.

To understanding, um, what a consumer did online. It is effectively the bridge between the physical and the digital world. And so at that junction, we can then start to help our clients understand more down the funnel metrics that they're used to receiving in other forms of media, is that what's the feedback that you're getting from the client side.

What is the demand for, in terms of recent. Yeah. Well, I think we we've been a little, uh, astonished at how many people are interested in, uh, in a product like this. Um, you know, we thought it was fairly limited in the us. Uh, we, we thought the scope of would just be like, you know, we, we would work with, you know, there's obviously your big four, right?

You're in, you're moving in his space and then you've got. No variety of other startups that are, um, kind of coming into the space, leveraging rideshare and other forms of mobility. Um, and it's, it's all powerful. We just, we were just betting on the future of mobility is that's really our big bet. And, uh, We've been surprised to see the amount of people that have reached out, um, from Australia, from Dubai, UAE, uh, Europe.

Oh, I mean, it's just, it's, it's, it's honestly a little astonishing at how many people have shown interest in this product. Um, because there really aren't, there isn't a tool that is designed to solve their problems. And so when you build a good product, which is like the core focus of, I was like, I'll tell you like all day long, like, I don't care if we have 10 customers.

If those 10 customers are happy and we can deliver excellence for those centers. We're happy. Right? Like obviously when we want to grow, we want to scale, but we have to deliver and we have to deliver at a high level continually, um, for it to be worthwhile for us to kind of keep pushing forward in this journey.

Uh, but yeah, it's, it's spent, it's been awesome just to see the amount of interest in folks that. Um, all over the world and that we can hopefully serve one day. Yeah. It is cool to see the, the global out of home community and how these things cross pollinate. So, so obviously you're not responsible for the campaign, right?

You're not, you're not doing the creative, you're not picking where the ads go. You're measuring. How do you define excellence in what you deliver in terms of results? Yeah. I mean, that goes all the way through supply chain. Right? So in terms of, um, the research that we've put in for the last four or five years, right.

And to just understanding, you know, distance and dwell time, and how far people from the ad, it goes down to, you know, where do you get your data from? You know, um, transparency is also another court conviction. Why is that so important? The source of the data? Well, location data is a misnomer. There's a lot of folks that there are big numbers out.

Um, and, and say they have the largest data set and a lot of folks do like a lot of folks do have to like quality. There's no question about that. Um, but the, but the difference between leveraging SDK data versus RTB data. So SDK app data RTB from the bidding systems. Uh, the granularity is, is, uh, very different, right?

And so the insights that you can, or the accuracy, rather from those different data sets, um, is, is very, uh, they're they're like in total is that they're playing in two different parks. Um, and so, you know, it starts there. Right. And then it goes into making sure we have, we don't look at just. You know, we do, we go down to the path level and try to analyze, you know, where was the vehicle on the path?

Uh, you know, there's just a lot of, of, uh, Small seemingly like unimportant things that we'd done from what we did for building the technology. Um, that took us a lot longer to get to market that we felt like we needed to master and we needed to deliver at a high level before we can scale it. You know, I was having, I was having this conversation with several folks at a, at a vector at intersection and, you know, they were like, you've been around for four years.

And we're just now hearing review. And I just looked at him and I said, guys, I'm not comfortable bringing a product to you that I can't stand behind a hundred percent. And so if it took waiting four years to build a product that could deliver at a high level for you, then that's, that's what it takes.

But when you get your opportunity, when you get your at bat, you need to be able to hit a home broad. You don't need to be able to hit a single. And so we wanted to make sure that whenever we could engage. That we can actually deliver. I think that that's a, it's a great mindset. Writes the old adage of, we only get one chance to make a first impression.

So, uh, I think that you're you, you made the right decisions for the right reasons. Michael, what do you think is the number one thing media owners are missing or miscalculating in terms of measurement and the importance of. You know, I think there's always a concern on the media owner operator side, that the numbers, aren't what they want them to be, right.

That they're gauging, uh, numbers or impressions against their potential revenue that they can, they can derive. Um, and. You know, in my head, I understand where they're coming from. Right. But at the end of the day, there's a whole nother way to look at that and that if I can prove to you or at least validate that I've impressed upon an actual individual, right.

There's a power in. And that's where we need to kind of start to think. Um, it's kind of like the classic, uh, CNBC or any, or any business network channel, right. Fewer viewers. But we know that there's a real good core group that you're reaching. So you're going to pay more per CPM. Absolutely. Sure. Because I'm a Xerox, right.

I want to reach guys that are thinking about business all day long. For me, a network television spot may serve for a branding at some point, but it's really. I'm going to help me all that much. Right? I think within our world, there, there's always that potential. When you start to look at different measurement platforms and processes, that impressions go down the opp the real opportunity of who we reach go down.

But we're S we're such a bigger world than that in terms of how we reach who we reach, the context within, we reach the creative that we can play with on the streets. If we were, if impressions, you know, are dwindled because of whatever process that exists, I can understand a media owner being, you know, scared, frightened of that, fearful of that.

But at the end of the day, we're such a powerful medium that I'd rather know. Uh, contextual message. That's really great. Isn't fact reaching a group that's validated and that we can then take those devices that we see and do any number of things with them. We target, which you know, of course huge in the digital world or rent server brand awareness study.

See if we actually affected, um, favor ability or receptivity or anything along those lines. And I don't need an extra 50,000 folks for that. I need a really good group that wasn't. And that can take action and say, yes, this, this ad that was, uh, positioned or that I was exposed to really made a difference.

And so I think we have to kind of gauge, you know, the sheer number versus the quality of what we do. And there's a lot of opportunities within our industry. Where the impressions are certainly something, the measurement is certainly something, but we're, we are bigger than that. We have an entirely different value proposition because we really we're really in the fabric of where people are all day, people are out of their homes.

People are out of the home 70%, right. That maybe that's not exactly the case, but we're a very strongly. Bright creativity and technology are our friends and they really do help our industry. Maybe in some cases more than other industries, right. Technology has taken us as an industry into places that I don't think we even knew we could go.

And so use those. Right. And, um, measurement's important. There's no doubt, um, and measurement, but true measurement, like a valid measurement. Right. And I also think on the agency side, um, even client's side, you know, something that's totally over the top and maybe really unfathomable. It's not doing anybody good.

Sure. Let's level set and agree that by being level set, we become a stronger leader. Um, because there's other value that we bring to the table. Yeah. I couldn't agree more. And, and especially for, at the local level to, to understand truly how to price the media, there's oftentimes no, no rhyme or reason and no sound basis for it, or.

Basing it off of, Hey, we sold that panel for $2,000 this cycle last year. So it's going to be 2,500 this year. It's not, it's not based on anything. And, and, and, you know, maybe that's just a, an anecdotal observation, but I think there's a great opportunity to price our inventory appropriate to the audience, create market efficiency.

And with that everybody wins. Michael, what are you most excited about whether it's street metrics or otherwise, what are you most excited about? I think as an industry, I love that the acceptance of results becoming more. More consistent. Right. And the street metrics is certainly pushing that, you know, I think what you want to do, especially with street metrics where they're coming in is you want to use the devices that you're using to measure your impressions as the devices that you can then use to see whether results took place.

I mean, that for me is a total win across the board, but ultimately I think that's where we need to go. And what I'm excited about. Is that the industry is becoming more receptive to results, to attribution, to really trying to push the limits. What I'd like to see is pushing the limits more, right. It's been standard fare to do brand awareness, um, and in foot traffic or in location, you know, studies for awhile, um, web conversion app.

Some companies are successfully really doing those types of attribution studies and it's become more of a standard offering. I'd like to see us explore some other options. I like to see us get to more to a pharma conversion and movie ticket conversion, and get to some places where we can open up these categories by showing results.

And yes. Is it possible? The results are going to be scary at first. I'm pretty sure that. I, I don't, I don't, I don't, um, pretend that that's not the case, but the idea that we could really show how well our channel can create these attributable results is a place that we really, I think need to go. And, um, and as we get there and as we learn to adopt and, um, frame that information the right way, I think it's going to open up our channel to a lot more revenue.

Absolutely agree. Drew, where can folks go to learn more about street metrics? Yeah. Check out our website. It's www dot street metrics. See us not with an x.io. That's right. Not with an X because anyone that spells street metrics that way is just wrong. Trust me. They exist. But gentlemen, Fun. I hope that you both enjoy the time here.