Calculating Accurate Mobile Impressions (S1-E000-01)

Written by PortMA

Calculating Accurate Mobile Impressions (S1-E000-01)

For so many experiential marketers, the challenge of collecting impression data in a clean, consistent manner is almost impossible.  How do you get multiple teams to gather something as abstract as “onsite impressions” in a reliable manner?

This is Part 1 in a 4-part series detailing the contents of Podcast OOO – Pilot: Defining the Dollar Value of Impressions. (Go to Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4)


Reliability vs. Validity

First, let’s briefly visit the problem of reliability vs validity.  You might have caught in an earlier article this distinction, but it warrants repeating here.  Data are “reliable” when collected in a consistent, replicable way. Data are valid when they are accurate.

Reliability is more important than validity or accuracy.  We explore why this is the case in our article titled, “Collecting Event Marketing Field Staff Data”

How do you collect data and what’s the data you should be collecting when it comes to impressions so that you are getting reliable impression data? There are three categories of impressions and each will require a reliable method of counting.  In this article, we’ll cover the first, Mobile Impressions.

(You can listen to the full podcast episode below.)

Mobile impressions are going to apply if you have a wrapped vehicle in-market and you’re driving from venue to venue.  We know these impressions have value because billboards exist.  Billboard advertising is sold every day.  Your branded vehicle is delivering the same thing; the same value.

The method for counting impressions for branded vehicles moving around in the market, it’s a multiplier against the miles driven. We look at miles as being all-purpose vehicle miles, so don’t try to dissect urban versus rural.

Industry Standard for Mobile Impression Multiplier

There is an industry-standard published in a study done by the American Trucking Association in 1977, titled “The Visual Impact of Trucks in Traffic.”  In this study, the authors reported a conservative multiplier of 101 impressions per all-purpose vehicle mile.


In this study, the authors reported a conservative multiplier of 101 impressions per all-purpose vehicle mile.


Most mobile tours will be recording miles for DOT logs so the process can be as simple as getting the starting and the ending mileage from the DOT log, for a “total miles driven in the market” figure. You multiply that by 101, and you’ve got a reliable method for counting mobile impressions.

If you wanted to be a little more on the liberal side of counting your mobile impressions, there are some studies that were done in the venture capital space that would argue the number might be closer to 220.  This research had more to do with the placement of the logo on the vehicle which can get complicated.  Our recommendation is to use 101 as your multiplier, and you can take it to higher levels if need be.

Further Reading

You can read more about the other areas of experiential marketing impressions and how to count them by reading the next article in this series titled, Counting Onsite Impressions.