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General Topics
When Ratings Become Available

Developing a TAB Out of Home Rating is a process, and involves several steps. In areas that TAB has studied, ratings may be developed very quickly. New locations may require substantial processing before they are TAB ready, and will see a longer time before a rating is available.

The vast array of information available through TAB Out of Home Ratings depends on TAB’s extensive database of road networks, called “count stations.” TAB count stations keep track of how many people are driving on the road, as well as their demography. How soon a unit receives a TAB Out of Home Rating mostly depends on whether it falls within TAB’s existing network of count stations.

In general, panels submitted to TAB can expect this delivery schedule:

  1. Panels submitted through www.tabviewonline.com are reviewed within seven business days.
  2. If the panel is covered by an existing count station, a TAB estimate is reported directly to the operator quickly. The operator may request this report be posted on the TAB audit website.
  3. If the panel falls outside of any existing count station, a new count station must be developed. In most cases, a TAB estimate will be ready within two months. TAB reports an estimated delivery time to the operator once the submission is reviewed.
  4. After the initial TAB estimate is developed, the panel will be included in the next quarterly update to the TAB audit. (Release dates are listed here.) Units that are finalized within two weeks of a scheduled update can be expected to be rolled into the next update.


Important Dates

January 1

  • Annual TAB Out of Home Ratings audit release (including updated traffic and population)
  • Deadline for TAB members to submit updated inventory data

April 1

  • Quarterly update to all TAB Out of Home Ratings providers

July 1

  • Quarterly update to all TAB Out of Home Ratings providers

October 1

  • Quarterly update to all TAB Out of Home Ratings providers


Regular Inventory Updates

TAB updates its reported inventory every year. All TAB members are responsible for delivering their complete inventory to TAB by January 1. TAB uses this data to synchronize the audit with each media company’s most up-to-date inventory, as it appears in their own systems and proposals. Updated inventory is introduced into the TAB Out of Home Ratings audit in two phases:

  1. For existing inventory, updated descriptions and attributes are posted in the first quarterly update to the TAB Out of Home Ratings audit, in April. New ratings as a result of these changes are available at that time. Also included in the April update is the removal of inventory no longer sold by the member company.
  2. New inventory locations are posted to the TAB Out of Home Ratings audit in the second quarterly update, in July. Some new locations may also be included in the first quarterly update.
Additionally, local TAB operators have the ability to submit inventory changes and additions throughout the year using TAB’s inventory maintenance website, www.tabviewonline.com. Tabview submissions are included in the quarterly updates to the TAB Out of Home Ratings audit. The combination of annual updates and Tabview submissions allows TAB to provide the most accurate and up-to-date inventory ratings possible.


Submitting Acquisitions

TAB member companies are able to keep their TAB Out of Home Ratings audited inventory up-to-date by using our inventory maintenance website, www.tabviewonline.com. Tabview is ideally suited for making individual changes and additions to operator inventory, and any new TAB Out of Home Ratings are made available to operators as soon as they are calculated. However, if an operator acquires a substantial amount of new inventory, they may prefer to submit it in bulk for processing. When adding a dozen or more panels to the audit, sending the data directly to TAB may be more expedient than entering each individual unit through Tabview.

For data submissions, TAB requires the same fields that are used in Tabview. These fields are noted below. Operators can use this spreadsheet as a template for how data should be submitted to TAB.

Once a submission is received, TAB reviews the data to ensure that it meets the standard requirements of the TAB Out of Home Ratings audit. The operator will be contacted if data refinements are needed. Once data standards are met, TAB will begin developing TAB Out of Home Ratings for the inventory. Time of completion depends on the amount of inventory that has been submitted. TAB will alert the operator as soon as ratings are available for that inventory.

Required Fields:

  • Unit#
  • Illumination
  • Media Type
  • Size (for Bulletins)
  • Primary Artery
  • State/County
  • Street Side
  • Facing
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

Send Data Submissions to:



Audited Media

TAB currently publishes TAB Out of Home Ratings for a variety of formats viewable from vehicular roadways. Audited media include:

  • Bulletins
  • Posters
  • Jr. Posters
  • Digital Signage
  • Wallscapes
  • Transit Shelters
  • Phone Kiosks
  • Pillars and Kiosks
  • Urban Panels

TAB continues to develop TAB Out of Home Ratings for additional media in different settings. Ask TAB if your media type is TAB Out of Home Ratings ready.


Pedestrian Traffic

Pedestrian traffic is currently incorporated into TAB Out of Home Ratings for selected markets. Markets including pedestrians are:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington, DC
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • San Francisco

Pedestrian traffic is applied across the entire DMA, not just in specific areas. Pedestrian traffic levels can be developed for additional markets if sufficient interest is expressed. Please contact TAB if you would be interested in supporting the development of pedestrian traffic in your market(s).


Manual Traffic Counts

TAB has made many improvements in standardizing its audit procedures. One of these improvements is in the use of manually collected traffic counts.

In the past, TAB member companies would submit traffic volumes collected by hand. This served as the basis for a panel’s circulation. Today, under our revised audit standards, TAB is solely responsible for the collection of traffic data used to generate TAB Out of Home Ratings. Wherever possible, TAB will use DOT or other traffic engineers’ published traffic levels as the basis for TAB Out of Home Ratings. Where no published count is available, TAB will use a traffic engineer-approved estimate, or will collect its own manual count using an updated methodology developed to match the accuracy of published DOT counts.

These improvements enhance the continuity of ratings across a DMA, and they relieve operators from collecting and submitting manual traffic counts. TAB operators retain the right to appeal any traffic volume reported by TAB, as long as they provide a third party traffic count to support their appeal.


Field Audits

TAB performs periodic audits of rated inventory to ensure the continued quality and accuracy of published TAB Out of Home Ratings. TAB staff visit a market to be audited, and ride a representative sample of the inventory in the market in order to determine if it is being reported accurately. If problems are discovered in a company’s inventory, TAB will work with the operator to correct the issue. Companies that fail to comply with the TAB audit run the risk of being removed from the TAB Out of Home Ratings measurement system.

Markets scheduled for field audits are selected by TAB based on perceived need. TAB notifies local operators in advance of the audit, and is available to meet and discuss any potential audit issues. Field audit results are reported to the audited companies upon completion.


Data Standards

All inventory reported in TAB Out of Home Ratings is required to meet a high standard of data accuracy. These data standards ensure that published ratings are verifiably accurate. Any inventory submitted to TAB that does not meet TAB data standards will not be given a published rating.

Unique Panel ID: All units submitted to TAB must have a unique ID for each panel. Since audience is calculated for each individual panel, this unique ID serves to identify which panel is receiving what audience.

Accurate Location Description: All units reported in the TAB audit must be described in such a way that it is clear what road they are viewed from, and where on this road they are located. It must be clear which direction the unit is facing, and which side of the street it is on. This information is vital to determine what audience is exposed to the unit, and their likelihood to see the panel.

Accurate Panel Attributes: TAB requires the exact size of each advertising facing, as well as the exact hours that it is illuminated, to help determine the visibility of the panel.

Accurate Geocodes: A geocode is a unit’s latitude and longitude coordinate on a map. Geocodes are essential for locating inventory and determining what roadways they are exposed to, as well as how far they are from the roadside. All audited units are required to have geocodes, and these geocodes are to be no greater than 30 feet from the center of the panel facing.

TAB verifies these data standards through several auditing processes:

  1. When inventory is submitted for the first time, any panels that are missing required data are returned to the media company for correction prior to resubmission.
  2. New inventory receives an initial review using remote mapping. This review includes an audit of the inventory geocodes, and the general panel description information. Inventory that does not pass this initial review is reported back to the media company for correction before any ratings are assigned.
  3. Once ratings are established, TAB performs periodic field audits to ensure that the data reported in the TAB audit remains accurate. TAB visits individual units to verify that the submitted data accurately reflects what is being bought and sold. (See Field Audits for details.) If TAB finds that inventory is not meeting the required data standards, further action is taken to ensure compliance with TAB standards.


Click here to email us Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, Inc.
561 Seventh Ave., 12th Fl., New York, NY 10018. Phone: 212/972-8075