It is time for out-of-home advertising to take centre stage
The out-of-home industry is showing advertisers that it can engage hard-to-reach audiences on the move, which is why it is a growing marketing channel, says Exterion Media’s Malcolm Stoodley.
The out-of-home (OOH) industry took a huge step forward in 2015, both in terms of revenue and market share, and Carat has forecast OOH advertising spend will rise 4.3% in 2016.
Growth in digital out-of-home (DOOH) has figured enormously in this, but the raft of technology flooding into the OOH industry is by no means confined to digital screens. Wi-Fi on the London Underground and on buses, near-field communication and beacons no bigger than a box of matches are just a few of the tools now routinely employed to transform ordinary journeys into extraordinary experiences for consumers on the move.
Brands increasingly have the ability to not just communicate messages through our OOH broadcast medium, but to really bring these messages to life – just look at Easyjet’s innovative ski lift adverts for digital escalator panels or the M&S Christmas bus campaign last year.
Getting creative with data
The explosion of data in the sector, driven by technology, is allowing media owners to facilitate campaigns that are more targeted and contextual, driving engagement with consumers like never before. Campaigns are also more measurable, offering greater accountability to advertisers keen to optimise their messaging and creative in real-time.
Strategic partnerships, such as ours with Telefónica, have enabled media owners to tap into external resources and yield ‘best-in-class’ data to gain an in-depth understanding of audiences to rival and add value to other mediums.
Our new insight tool Abi (Audience Behavioural Insights) draws on anonymous data from Telefónica UK’s 25 million O2 customers, to generate actionable demographic and behavioural detail about London Underground users. It therefore offers brands and advertisers the ability to better understand and target consumers.
We are also increasingly looking at how consumers behave, think and engage with advertising throughout their journeys on public transport, by analysing things like eye tracking and using data from work.shop.play. – our own award-winning 11,000-strong insight community.
By understanding our audiences better, we can install the right technology and help advertisers optimise their creative messaging and context to increase engagement.
Building on the granular insight we already have through our work with Transport for London and outdoor audience research body Route, as well as through work.shop.play., we hope to deepen our understanding of how best to reach consumers travelling on the London Underground, one of the best monetised metros in the world from an advertising perspective.
The intelligent use of data is allowing advertisers to get far more creative with their campaigns, as we saw last year with ice cream brand Wall’s Goodbye Serious and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home’s #LookingForYou campaigns.
It is also helping us to transform the sales process, providing the market with world-class insight and accountability. In order to super-serve our advertisers and compete effectively with other mediums, we need to give them as much intelligence as possible to inform their campaigns at every stage of the planning, buying and measurement process.
Automating the process
Automating the process of buying and selling OOH advertising is accelerating and will create a host of new opportunities in 2016. Every OOH advertising frame in the UK has been given a 10-digit code to facilitate the eventual automated trading of sites between media agencies and owners.
This will enable the automation of both classic and DOOH advertising trading processes, to minimise costs and time inefficiencies while maximising revenue and consumer reach for buyers and sellers. This greater efficiency will allow our talented sales and marketing teams to spend more time growing the client base that will allow OOH to get its fair share of UK advertising spend, especially among the young, urban and affluent.
Engagement on the move
Millennials are bringing with them a change in the way media is traditionally consumed. Facebook’s survey on consumer behaviour is testament to this, revealing fast-scrolling millennials consume ads 2.5 times faster than the baby boomers. Brands need to invest in visuals that will appeal to the next generation.
Mobile data, and the greater connectivity it provides, is one of the OOH industry’s biggest game changers. At 94%, London has the highest penetration of smartphones in the UK, according to Exterion Media’s online urban community work.shop.play. The ability to connect with consumers while they’re on the move, through their mobile device, opens up a wealth of opportunities.
Mobile data can bring both classic and DOOH assets to life and in 2016, incorporating mobile connectivity with OOH will become the norm and not a ‘special’ part of a campaign.
We have already seen numerous innovative campaigns like last year’s Magnum Pink and Black wrapped buses to promote the brand’s new limited edition ice creams. Each bus was equipped with free Wi-Fi to encourage consumers to view branded content on a Time Out microsite using their mobile device.
Mobile is fast becoming a seamless extension of OOH. The two are complementary mediums, and in a world of connected devices, we expect socially-driven content to be a significant development in the OOH space in 2016. The rise of user-generated content has neatly coincided with the rise of DOOH, and web content is increasingly dominated by UGC, according to Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report.
Companies such as social media aggregator TINT are helping brands to create socially-driven branded content experiences and publish them in moments, giving consumers a new way to access all the social media channels they use on a daily basis whilst they’re out and about.
Coca-Cola, for example, ran an OOH digital push for its #ChooseHappiness campaign using Twitter to display mentions of the hashtag. The campaign ran across 300 digital sites in London, including on the London Underground last year.
We believe that OOH should command greater market share. The key to this is to demonstrate and prove to advertisers that OOH engages hard-to-reach audiences on the move with inspiring and innovative campaigns that make the everyday inspirational.
We are entering the golden age of OOH and we’re taking our advertisers with us.