Digital "to account for a third" of all out-of-home by 2020
35 per cent of all outdoor advertising will be digital within the next five to six years, a leading industry expert has said.
Speaking at Media Playground on Wednesday, Martyn Stokes, chief strategy officer at Kinetic UK, said: "Digital accounts for about a quarter of all outdoor revenue now and about 5% of all outdoor posters - and lots of clients are jumping in because it's new and exciting and is clearly very impactful."
However, by 2020, what is now being described as the "fifth screen" in the digital mix, is expected to play a much larger role in the world's oldest ad format, Stokes said.
Although 96% of out-of-home (OOH) sites are still static, according to Kinetic's Future of OOH Report 2014, last year digital out-of-home (DOOH) totalled revenue of £230 million, up 17.5% year on year.
Separate research from PQ Media revealed that DOOH media exposure surged 75% between 2007 and 2013, second only to mobile, with the average global consumer exposed to various DOOH media for 14 minutes per week in 2013 compared with eight minutes in 2007.
Stokes said that digital outdoor screens allow for much higher targeting capabilities via real-time campaigns, making it an attractive offer for advertisers.
Citing a 2013 Kinetic campaign for allergy medication, Benadryl, the team was able to provided live pollen count information on outdoor screens at "postcode level". The campaign was also accompanied by an app that consumers could download for further pollen count information based on their location.
Over the two weeks that the campaign ran, mobile traffic increased 54%, desktop traffic rose 65%, and there were 150,000 Benadryl app downloads.
"Compared to where [DOOH] was just a few years ago, the campaign was very quick and very reactive," said Stokes.
"What we saw here was not just interactivity, but direct sales impact too."
However, Stokes said that while some clients are exploring the capabilities of DOOH, others are still not particularly excited by it.
"Some clients don't want that interactivity and that movement. They like the fact that it's static and it's huge and impactful and that it delivers mass reach and gets coverage in newspapers."
Recently, other outdoor campaigns have made use of the weather to programmatically deliver ads to digital screens. French fashion retailer La Redoute is often cited as the perfect example of a brand successfully using real time weather data.
With signage linked to various sensors, including a barometer and thermometer, the billboards served an ad based on the environmental context of the person viewing it.
However, Stokes said that although digital growth is exceeding expectations, brands must not forget what OOH has "done so well" for decades and will continue to do for the foreseeable future.
"People are getting so carried away by what time of day their ads are displaying and interactivity that they are forgetting what OOH is actually good at - scale, ubiquity, frequency, and stature," said Stokes.
Asked by Media Playground chair, Torin Douglas, whether all out-of-home media will be digital one day, Stokes said: "I can't see it.
"The market is evolving, but it's not going to be an extinction of static."
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