Les Binet and Peter Field’s recent IPA study, Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era, again draws attention to the importance of reach and time spent with a medium as key drivers of effectiveness. The fact that out-of-home, in its entirety, continues to deliver more than 90% reach and three hours spent in its company every day, underlines its importance and resilience in a transforming media landscape.
Interestingly, the report also observes that, since the advent of digital OOH, effectiveness of the medium has nearly doubled. I believe this is just the start.
I think OOH is nearing its "big bang" moment, where data, technology and physical infrastructure genuinely and seamlessly connect to enable a new era of efficiency and effectiveness for advertisers. All of the key ingredients are in place so here’s why the medium will be bigger and better then ever.
OOH at the speed of life
OOH has been transformed by digitisation over the past few years and that aggressive digital focus will continue in 2018. Fifty per cent of OOH revenue will be digital, and digital alone will be able to reach 50% of the population.
A significant development will be the delivery of more scaled automated trading. We’ve seen lots of column inches and many promises but we’re starting to see the full delivery of automated booking across the industry, albeit at varied pace. For advertisers, the key benefit is speed.
OOH planning and buying has traditionally occurred months out from live dates with the exact sites selected, negotiated and transacted upfront. Now channel investment can be more flexible with some campaign parts confirmed days before the live date.
It can also enable upfront impression commitments but with agile deployment; automated guaranteed, in other words. This will provide a more compelling and competitive proposition to deliver more responsive and reactive broadcast reach.
More flexible, more dynamic, more effective
This more frictionless connection across digital OOH products will see an increasing application of dynamic content and ad-serving to optimise creative delivery. Messaging that reflects more closely what audiences are thinking, feeling and doing at specific moments, in specific places.
Powered by more prolific, accessible and usable data, digital OOH will be used in more dynamic ways and deliver a growing array of benefits to advertisers.
Research has revealed that dynamic digital OOH used to serve more contextually relevant messages increases spontaneous advertising awareness by 18%. Furthermore, ad-serving relevant content by audience increases the effectiveness of a campaign by at least 15%.
Ultimately, where data-driven, location-based insights reveal the customer "moments that matter", and where OOH is planned and activated around these, it works harder and delivers significant ROI improvement.
Launch of new OOH products
Media owners’ tireless and relentless pursuit of a better product will bring an incredible line-up of new offerings in 2018.
These will include the roll-out of Wi-Fi-enabled Inlink units, a reimagination of BT’s phone boxes, Clear Channel’s smart payphone project, JCDecaux’s continued screen investment, Exterion’s full-motion Underground cross-track screens and Ocean Outdoor’s recent launch of the biggest digital OOH screen in Western Europe, the Piccadilly Lights. All of which will support more convergence with other digital media, principally mobile, resulting in better media campaigns for the advertiser and better experiences for consumers.
Closing the loop
Big strides in performance and effectiveness will come from the integration of feedback loops into the dynamic, digital ecosystem. Sales, stock levels or footfall will be used to calibrate, in real time, the weight, frequency and nature of messaging.
We’ve already seen pockets of activity across categories, such as British Airways’ flight sale campaign earlier this year where messaging changed depending on BA’s weekly "priority" routes and availability of specific destinations.
In particular, we’ll see the obvious symbiotic relationship between mobile and OOH become more of a reality. Accessibility of mobile location data, greater collaboration with location-based mobile media owners and the ability of OOH planning systems to seamlessly ingest and process this data, will enable more holistic, integrated and effective activation across both channels.
A creative renaissance
There is undeniable and enduring power and purity in a great idea, articulated with a striking image and pithy copy line – a classic poster. There is, perhaps, a perceived simplicity to this task that makes it a less alluring creative challenge in a world of one-to-one communication. The fact is, simple is hard and we must do more to acknowledge and celebrate this among the creative community.
Mass digitisation of OOH presents a new creative palette and we’ve seen only a fraction of what’s possible as the creative industry starts to embrace the new opportunity.