Outdoor Advertising Jargon Buster

What is OOH? Don’t know your NFC from your CPT? Not sure how to calculate the Gross Rating Point for your 48 sheet?

When you step into the world of outdoor advertising you enter a minefield of business jargon and acronyms that can leave even the savviest of us scratching our heads in despair.

We want to make it as easy as possible to book your outdoor advertising space, so we’ve put together a list of the most common terms you’ll come across in the industry coupled with some straightforward definitions.

General Outdoor Advertising Terminology

Billboard & Poster Types & Sizes

Design & Printing Terminology

Measurement Terms

General Outdoor Advertising Terminology


Ambient advertising is a form of out-of-home advertising that uses non-traditional or alternative media. It’s about placing ads in creative or unusual places to encourage people to interact with or think about your message in a different way. Check out these great examples of ambient advertising


An ‘Audience’ is the group of people that an advertising campaign targets; that is, the potential customers for the product or service being advertised. Amongst other factors it can be defined by age, gender, income, geographical location or ethnicity.


An organised, strategic group of adverts that actively works towards a goal.  This could be client awareness, reaching new potential customers, branding or promotion of an event.

Hashtag (#)

Hashtags are used by social media sites to identify words or phrases on a specific topic. They’re a useful tool to engage with consumers beyond an out-of-home campaign.


iBeacon is the name for Apple’s new wireless technology that provides location-based information to iPhones. The beacons are small Bluetooth transmitters that send out signals to your iPhone. Apps installed on your iPhone respond to these signals when they come within range of a beacon.

Media Owner

This is the organisation or individual who owns the right to sell outdoor advertising space


Near Field Communication (NFC) is short range wireless technology that enables two devices to communicate by bringing them within about 4cm of each other. NFC can be used to enable consumers to interact with adverts using their smartphones, Its also how your oystercard or contactless payment works


Out-of-Home (OOH) refers to any advertising that targets consumers outside of their home, in public spaces

Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor Advertising is any advertising done outside, including (but not limited to) ads on billboards, at bus stops & train stations, in malls or on vehicles.

QR Code

Quick Response codes are those little black and white squares you often see in the corner of print adverts. They can be read by the cameras on smartphones which will translate the code to provide the user with a web address or more information about the product being advertised

If you want to try it out scan the Q.R. Code below to go to our blog page

Bubble QR Code


Signage is the use of signs to communicate a message, particularly for commercial or marketing purposes


Short Message Service – better known as a text message

Billboard & Poster Types & Sizes

48 sheet

A 48 sheet is your classic billboard. It’s a 20ft by 10ft space, so quite large and ideal for viewing from a distance

96 sheet

Like a 48 sheet, but double the size (40ft by 10ft). A 96 sheet is basically two 48 sheet billboards side-by-side

6 sheet

With over 80,000 of this poster size across the country these 1.8m x 1.2m sites are most commonly found at bus shelters but also in railway stations, the underground, malls and numerous other environments across the country


Exactly what it says on the tin: lit from the back. Backlit describes poster displays that are illuminated from behind. Sometimes abbreviated to BL.


Banners are large vinyl poster sites that tend to be placed on the side of buildings


Billboards are large format advertising spaces, which are best viewed from a distance. This includes the 48 sheet and 96 sheet boards.

Digital Out-of-Home

Digital Out-of-Home (or DOOH) refers to advertising panels that use digital technology to display an ad. It can be more flexible and versatile than printed adverts as it is easier to change advertising content. That doesn’t include TV or Radio advertising. Think Piccadilly Circus


The face is the surface area of the panel on which the advert is displayed. With some advertising spaces (scrollers) there are more than one face on a location which rotates between multiple adverts.

Head on poster

Head on posters are those that face oncoming traffic or pedestrian flow

Illuminated face

A panel equipped with lighting in order to illuminate an advertising message after dark


A panel is an alternative term for a poster site

Parallel poster

Parallel posters are those that are positioned along side the main flow of pedestrian or vehicle traffic. As they’re positioned parallel to the traffic they’re visible to traffic from both directions.

Transit / Transport Advertising

Transit Advertising refers to adverts that are fixed to moving vehicles or in transit stations

Design & Printing


Sounds severe, but Bleed is a printing term that describes any images or elements that extend beyond the edge of a panel frame


Copy is the industry term for the written words or text on an advert


Typography is the visual appearance of written words, commonly defined by font, size and colour

Measurement Terms


The Coverage is the percentage of people from a specific audience group reached by an advertising campaign


In English, ‘Cost Per Thousand’.  This refers to the price of 1,000 impressions per ad. That is, how much it costs for 1,000 individuals to see your ad

Cycle / Period

This is the 2 week period during which an outdoor campaign is in place. You can extend the length of a campaign by buying several cycles

Display Period

As you might expect, this refers to the time period during which an advertising campaign is displayed

Dwell time

The dwell time is the period during which a consumer is in close proximity to an outdoor advert. So if your bus is running late you’ll have an extended dwell time next to a bus shelter ad


Also referred to as ‘Impressions’, Impacts are the number of times an advertising campaign is seen


Opportunity To See (OTS) refers to the number of times a person is likely to see a particular ad

Pedestrian Count

Pedestrian Count measures the number and types of people passing a particular location. It can be used to determine the effectiveness of a potential advertising site.


Point Of Purchase. Also Proof or Posting, a photo that shows when a poster has been put up.


Point Of Sale


An advertising Reach is the percentage of a target audience your ad reaches


Share Of Voice (SOV) is the weight or percentage of a brand’s advertising activities compared to the total advertising activity for that sector or product type


Total Rating Points (or Gross Rating Point) is an indication of an advert’s exposure to the target audience. TRPs are calculated by multiplying an advert’s reach by the frequency of its exposure. So, the number of people that have seen an ad multiplied by the number of times those people see the ad.

Traffic Count

Traffic Count measures the number of vehicles or pedestrians that pass along a particular road, intersection or path


The Visibility Adjusted Contact (VAC) indicates how many contacts an advertising panel will get; ie how many people are likely to see that advert. The VAC is calculated by taking into account various different factors, including size, viewing distance, and any obstructions etc.

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