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Stuart Taylor 

What do consumers really want from digital screens?

What do consumers really want from digital screens?

Kinetic UK's CEO, Stuart Taylor, looks at how different demographics are impacted by, and react to, digital out-of-home campaigns.

Digital posters are a must-have for brands and advertisers, opening a new world of interactivity to the out of home (OOH) sector. But are consumers actually connecting with the screens?

There are currently thousands of these moving, real-time information screens across all major international cities. But how can they be best used to enhance an advertisers' marketing strategy and brand?

As leaders in OOH, Kinetic wanted to find out the real impact digital screens are having on the consumer and what people expect and want from these formats in the future.

Kinetic Panel's research (Dec 2014) showed the consumer is already connecting. Nearly a fifth (19%) of the 1,000 consumers asked said that on seeing a digital outdoor advertisement they had looked for more information about the product, service or experience. This increased to 24% for younger people (in the 18-24 category).

Similarly, 23% of this younger age group downloaded an app after seeing an outdoor advertisement, compared with one in ten adults.

Unsurprisingly, the younger demographic is more engaged with interactive posters than their older counterparts, but one way in which advertisers and media specialists could broaden the appeal of digital posters is by providing location-specific information.

Clear Channel's roll-out of a series of Adshel panels and digital screens offering interactive content and downloadable vouchers was a perfect exercise in location-specific advertising. Equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) and QR code capabilities the platform transforms roadside advertising into an interactive consumer experience, allowing brands to connect with consumers in a more instant way.

According to the research, this is the most wanted service from digital posters by adults. Some 48% of the 1,000 respondents said they most desired weather information, while another 38% asked for transport updates; this rose to 50% of 55 to 64 year olds.

In addition, 29% of respondents said they would like more interactive maps available in public spaces, while 32% said they wanted news updates, and 30% cited local events. Some provision of generic local information might help increase brand loyalty for advertisers and increase engagement with older consumers.

Similarly, nearly a quarter said they would like to see digital posters provide battery chargers; an opportunity for advertisers and marketing specialists to offer a useful service to consumers.

One example of useful real-time OOH is Benadryl's social pollen count campaign. The dynamic, interactive campaign used a combination of OOH, mobile and digital to deliver a highly relevant message, giving real-time pollen counts. Benadryl drove brand awareness by providing a practical service to its core market and delivered double-digit traffic uplift onto its website homepage from desktop, mobile and tablet.

Direct retail services would also be another way in which advertisers could make better use of digital posters. One-in-ten consumers said they would shop directly from digital screens, with almost a third of 25 to 34 year olds saying they expect to be able to buy a product or service from a digital screen in future.

Another important way in which advertisers can enhance a brand profile via digital posters is by personalising the service. Just over a quarter of adults said they expect screens to deliver adverts relevant to who they are and what they're doing. Advertisers can deploy services of this sort using facial recognition software linked to an online loyalty account which triggers tailored offers, relevant reviews and other purchasing suggestions.

The technology is already in use as seen in Ocean Outdoor's recent collaboration with Women's Aid in a world-first visually powered digital OOH campaign. The digital billboards initially display an image of a bruised woman whose bruises gradually disappeared in real-time, triggered by the gaze of a passing person. The interactive campaign aimed to reveal how we can all make tangible changes in the fight against domestic violence, even if it's just by acknowledgement.

Almost half (44%) of those questioned said they felt that digital poster screens enabling click and collect services would be useful to retailers; the implication here being that they would at least consider using them. Click and collect can be combined with Bluetooth technology to recognise a customer at the point of collection ensuring their purchase is pushed to the top of the line, thereby streamlining their experience and increasing brand loyalty.

Although a minority of 18-34 year olds were reluctant to download content from a digital screen, most were happy to do so as long as they felt it was relevant to them; again demonstrating the importance of tailored services. They were most interested in deals, with almost half of respondents (43%) saying they would download a retail voucher from a digital poster site.

Similarly, entertainment is valued with 24% saying they would download a game or app. Again locally specific information was considered valuable with 27% of respondents said they would download travel information. Similarly, a quarter in this age group said they would like to be able to access information about local things to do, see or eat.

The youth market was particularly keen on media services offered by digital posters with 29% of 18-24 year olds saying they would download clips of upcoming films, TV, music or games to their phone.

In short, digital posters enable advertisers to engage with the consumer in many interesting ways, but the type of service offered will inevitably depend on the demographic targeted and the brand itself.

Mediatel operate two essential services for the OOH industry. SPACE is a collaboration between IPAO and Outsmart and is the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of inventory in the UK. The RouteAPI is a SaaS solution that enables easy integration of Route audience data into client's systems. See mediatel.co.uk for more information.

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