Outdoor Advertising Glossary


Allotments- The number of units required to achieve a desired GRP level in a particular market.
Animation- Technique used to gain added attention to a billboard. Uses moving components, flashing lights, or other special treatment
Approach- The total distance measurement that copy on a structure is readable. Usually 1500, 1000, and 500 feet.
Arteries or Arterials- The major secondary streets of a city (not freeways) where speeds are usually lower.
Artwork- The visual image of an ad, to scale, that will eventually be posted on a billboard or other advertising structure.
Audited or Authenticated Circulation- The "Traffic Audit Bureau" is an independent organization made up of ad executives and advertisers. They audit outdoor plants around the country using standard measuring procedures for traffic counts. These numbers are eventually converted into DEC's (daily effective circulation).
Availability or Avails- Space available for sale at a given time.

Backlit- Advertising structures that have illumination which sends light through the advertisement for higher visibility. Ads must be printed on special translucent surfaces.
Blanking- A white paper border surrounding the poster copy area.
Blanking Out- A white paper used to cover all or a portion of a poster design. Typically used to cover an ad that has expired until a new advertiser can be posted.
Bleed-through- A production difficulty where the previous design used on a structure can be seen through the current message. Can occur because of the kind of paper used, a chemical reaction of certain pigments, or because of excessive wetting from heavy rain. SEE COAT OUT.
Blister- Air pockets on a board resulting from the separation of the paint or paper from the board.
Boards- Common name for Poster panels or Billboard bulletins.
Bulletins- Common name for traditional billboards which measure 14 x 48 feet. Copy is produced primarily by two methods: painting directly on the surface or posting vinyl with the advertising message pre-printed digitally.

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Car Cards- Advertising displays of various sizes posted in buses, subways, and commuter trains.
Cancellation Period- A specified period of time when a contract can be terminated. Most outdoor contracts are non-cancelable.
Charting the Showing- The process of selecting individual unit locations to maximize out-of- home advertising objectives. Circulation- Traffic volume in a market.
Coat Out- Covering an advertising message with white or grey paint before a new copy is painted to insure that none of the old copy shows through.
Color Chart- A chart containing samples of standard colors available from paint manufacturers for use as a guide in designing artwork. Computerized displays- The use of LED displays for Out-of-Home advertising structures. This innovation allows the advertising message electronically on a continual basis.
Computer/digital Printing/Painting- Method that uses computers to apply artwork and design to a vinyl. Computer printing allows for four color process artwork and insures accurate reproduction without a loss of quality from copy to copy.
Continuity- The elimination of gaps in a media schedule by maximizing the duration of a campaign, ideally 52 weeks.
Co-op- The sharing of advertising costs between various entities such as a manufacturer, distributor, dealer, vendor or supplier.
Copy- Artwork displayed on billboard or other out-of-home structure.
Cost per Thousand- Cost of reaching one thousand potential viewers.
Cost per Point- Cost of exposure opportunities that equal one gross rating point in a market or one percent of the population.
Coverage- The boundaries of a market; or, the percentage of a county or counties exposed to out-of-home advertising.
Cross Read (lefthand read)- A Poster or bulletin which is visible from the opposite side of the road that the cars viewing the board are traveling on.
Customized Rotation- Moving a painted billboard periodically during the contract period to different locations throughout the market.
Cut-Outs/Embellishments- Any lettering, image, or mechanical device that extends beyond the standard face of a billboard to attract more attention. This is only allowed in certain areas.

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Daily Effective Circulation (DEC)- Audience of potential viewers who have the opportunity to see an out-of-home message during a 24-hour period. DEC's are typically measured and adjusted for an 18 hour day and for 18+ buying population.
Demographic Profiles- Audience breakdowns based on various characteristics such as age, sex, income, education, etc. Design- The artwork and text which comprise the poster or painted bulletin display.
Diorama- A backlit display located in airports, malls, bus terminals, and sports arenas.
Display Period- The exposure time during which the individual advertising message is an out-of-home structure such as a billboard. Bulletins display period varies depending on individual contracts.


Efficiency- The degree of value delivered by an audience relative to the cost of the advertising space. Usually expressed in cost-per-thousand (CPM).
Eight-Sheet (Poster Panel)- A 5' x 11' poster panel generally placed for exposure to pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic. Frequently used in densely populated urban areas as well as suburban shopping areas and point-of-purchase locales.
Exposure- A potential seeing of an advertising message.
Expressway- Limited access roadways, usually with speed limit of 55mph.
Extension- The area of design made as a cut-out that extends beyond the basic rectangular space of an advertising structure. Added costs are normal practice for the use of extensions but are typically worth the added expense as they make your ad stand out.

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Face- The surface area on an out-of-home unit where advertising copy is displayed. A unit may have more than one face as most billboards have two faces, one in each direction of the highway.
Facing- The direction that a billboard faces. South-facing billboards are seen by drivers travelling northbound.
Faded- Loss of color brilliance due to length of exposure, weather conditions, or technical problem with production.
Flagging- A tear in paper used on the advertising structure, causing the paper to hang loose and "flag".
Flex face Vinyl- One piece vinyl used on billboards, can be computer or hand painted.
Frequency- The number of times an average individual has the opportunity to be exposed to an advertising message during a defined period of time. Frequency in outdoor usually refers to the calendar month since this time period coincides with the standard contract practices. Fully Wrapped Bus- Bus advertising display in which the entire bus vehicle is covered with the advertising design, including windows, through which passengers still have visibility due to special material.


Gross Rating Points (GRP)- Total number of impressions delivered by a media schedule expressed as a percentage of a market population. Sometimes referred to as a showing.
Gross Impressions- Total number of impression opportunities an out-of-home structure or advertising space can produce measured against a target audience in a market. Cumulative impressions can be combined to reflect an entire out-of-home campaign.


Hand Paint- The placement of copy onto an out-of-home structure or piece of vinyl using an artist who actually paints the artwork onto the vinyl by hand.

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Illuminated- Outdoor advertising structures with electrical equipment installed so that the advertisements are lit and visible for certain hours of the night.
Impact- Effectiveness of advertising generated by an Outdoor campaign
Initial Painting- This is the first copy produced and placed on an advertising structure such as a billboard.
Inflatables- Gas-filled, three dimensional displays for use at point-of-sale or special events; usually taking the shape of a product, trademarked character, etc.


Line of Sight- The simultaneous viewing of more than one out-of-home unit. Standing at one billboard, all other billboards that can be seen from there are in the line of sight of that board.
Live Copy Area- All print should remain within this dimension. The purpose of this dimension is to enhance readability by keeping the copy from coming too close to touching the frame.
Load Factor- The average number of persons riding in each vehicle. Determined by gov't research and reports for highway capitalization. Location Codes- Letters used to identify the location of an advertising structure. Several abbreviations are typical: E/S- East Side; W/O- west of; C/L- city limits, N/L- northline etc.
Location List- A listing of all locations included in a specific out-of-home program.

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Mall Displays- Backlit advertisement structure located at strategic points in shopping malls; usually two or three-sided.
Mandatory Copy- Copy required by law to appear on the advertising of certain products, such as liquor and attorney ads.
Market- A designated political, geographical, economic, or statistical area.
Mass Transit- Public conveyances such as buses, trains, subways, and other rapid transit commuter systems.
Mechanicals- Information given to the creative person so he/she can create and scale the artwork according to the particular of a given ad structure.
Minimum Showing- The smallest sized showing an advertiser can purchase without per ad pricing which is typically more expensive.
Mobile Billboard- A truck that is equipped with one or more poster panel units. The truck can either be parked at specified venues or driven around designated localities.
Multiple Facing- An outdoor advertising location where there are two or more displays facing the same direction within 25 feet of each other.


One-Sheet Poster (Transit)- Poster used on subway and train platforms.
One-Sheet Poster (Non-Transit)- Poster panel placed near the entrances of point-of-sale locations.
Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA)- An association of billboard and other out-of- home companies which set industry standards.
Override- The free continuation of an advertising run past the time contracted for.

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Painted Bulletin- The artwork is painted onto the a peice of vinyl or the structure itself.
Painted Wall- Advertising message painted on the side of a building. Permanent Bulletin- A display which remains in one place for the entire term of an advertiser's contract.
Phone Kiosks- Displays affixed to pay phones.
Plant- Refers to an Out-of-Home advertising company.
Plant Capacity- Total supply of advertising structures or faces available through that out-of-home company.
Plant Operator- A company or individual who owns and operates out-of-home advertising.
Poster- Term used for advertising messages that are posted on advertising structures.
Poster-30-Sheet- An advertisement with copy area measuring 9' 7" high by 21' 7" wide, about half the size of a traditional permanent billboard
Poster Panel- An outdoor unit that can accommodate 30-sheet and 8-sheet poster displays.
Posting Date- Date when a program is scheduled to begin.
Posting Instructions- Strategic information that an advertiser provides to the outdoor company for them to use in selecting locations.
Posting Period- The display period that a 30 sheet or other poster panel is displayed. Typically 30 days.
Post-Ride- A market check of billboard locations with advertising copy in place.
Pre-Ride- Advertiser or agency drives around a market looking at all the possible locations for advertising and to select specific locations to use.


Queen Size Bus Poster- Posters affixed to the sides of buses. Copy area on queen size buses is often approximately 27" x 85" depending on markets.
Quintile Analysis- This is a statistical analysis of a market to determine where the heaviest concentration of a particular demographic are located. Areas are ranked and divided into five areas so that advertisers know the five most concentrated areas of their demographic.


Reach- The number of people potentially exposed to an ad expressed as a percentage of population.
Regular- Unilluminated billboard or other structure.
Renewal Paper- Replacement posters used if original posters are damaged during display or are used if the ad continues beyond the initial term. Advertisers typically produce 15% more paper than they need for insurance.
Repaint- A second set of artwork to replace the first set sometime during the display period.
Repetition- The average number of times each person is exposed to an advertisment. Also known as "frequency."
Reposting Charge- An additional fee for changing artwork during a given display period.
Riding the Showing- A physical inspection a market to see the billboards and evaluate them after they have been posted.
Rotating Bulletin- A type of campaign where the billboard moves from location to location at set intervals. This increases the reach of a campaign, covering more of the market for the same dollars as one permanent location billboard.

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Setback- This is the distance that a structure is from the area where traffic flows. The more setback, the farther from the road the billboard is.
Showing- Total number of panels in a buy.
Snipe- This word has many meanings but commonly is referred to as a small piece of vinyl used to go over a part of your intial copy to change pricing or products advertised.
Spectacular- Outdoor display which is larger than normal or located in a specific area whereby it is unusually and "spectacular" to the viewer. Typically long term contracts only.
Spotted Map- A market map with dots or arrows to show the avaialble locations for a buy.
Stacked Panels- Advertising structures built with each face set on top of the other
Super-King Bus Posters- Posters affixed to the sides of buses. Typically Super-King posters have the most copy area with dimensions 30" x 240".
Surface Arteries- Major streets of city or town that are easily accessable.


Target Audience- A consumer group selected to be reached by an advertiser.
Taxi Display/Taxi Tops- Advertising structures that are part of taxicabs, on the roof, rear or window.
Thirty(30)-Sheet Poster- The largest poster size which is about half the size of a traditional billboard measuring 12' 3" by 24' 6" in overall size.
Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB)- Independant organization made up of ad executives and advertisers. They audit outdoor plants around the country using standard measuring procedures for traffic counts. These numbers are eventually converted into DEC's (daily effective circulation).
Traffic Count- The number of vehicles that pass an out-of-home unit each day. Used to calculate DEC.
Transit Advertising- Out-of-home media typically found on the outside or inside of public transportation vehicles or stations such as buses, subways, and trains.
Transit Shelter- Structures for people to wait for public trnasportation at. Out-of-home companies often create advertising space on them for traffic and pedestrians.
Tri-Vision- Advertising display usually the size of a tradional billboard that uses moving panels to rotate its surface. This shows three different ad messages in predetermined order and for set amounts of time each, usually 6 or 7 seconds.

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Unilluminated Unit- Billboard not equipped with lighting for nighttime illumination.
Unit- A poster panel or painted bulletin.


Viewing Area- This is the entire area of the poster which can be viewed after poster has been installed.
Vinyl- A sheet of material on which an advertising message is either painted or printed onto for the purpose of outdoor display.


Waiting List- A list where an advertiser can place themselves next in line for a billboard or other display that is currently unavailable.
Wallscape- Murals painted or attached directly onto the exterior surface of a building.
Wave Posting- Concentration of poster showings in a succession of areas within the market. Usually coincides with special promotions in each of these areas by the advertiser.

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