Resolutions for outdoor advertisers
From making better use of data to learning more about audiences through AI, Posterscope's Nick Halas says there are 10 things the OOH sector should focus on this year.
Outdoor advertising is evolving faster than ever before. Never has new technology been driving such massive change, not only in how we display ads, but also in how we plan campaigns.
Out-of-home (OOH) is still able to reach audiences at scale as the proliferation of digital infrastructure, planned using big data, now gives advertisers the added opportunity for personalisation and relevance.
People nowadays expect services, in particular communications, to be more tailored to what they are, what they're doing and what they're thinking. Unsurprisingly, doing this with OOH tends to drive better outcomes and we are starting to build up a robust body of evidence that validates this.
We've found this to be equally true for classic OOH as well as digital. To take full advantage of everything that OOH can offer though, advertisers will need to be sure to stick to a number of commitments, or resolutions if you will:
1. Make better use of data
Consumers increasingly expect services or messages to be tailored to their personal tastes and preferences. Real-time triggers such as weather and traffic data enable OOH ads to react to the world around them, while mobile data helps advertisers understand the sites and apps people use in particular locations.
Advertisers can now even use social media data to plan campaigns around where relevant conversations are taking place, as demonstrated in a recent campaign we worked on for the hit video game Fallout 4. Advertisers in 2016 need to be using data to increase personalisation and deliver the right message, at the right time, in the right location.
2. Start treating OOH as the new shop window
The speed and nature of service and brand communication are changing. Starbucks coffee can be pre-ordered before you arrive, so that it's ready to go, and everything from an Amazon Prime package to a pack of Oreos can be delivered to customers' desks within an hour.
As customers continue to make orders before being near stores, advertisers need to be treating OOH as they would a shop window, enabling it to act as a real-time trigger for customer appetites.
3. Get to know programmatic at scale
Programmatic is expected to hit 60 per cent of UK digital billings this year. As the 'automation of media bookings' capabilities of programmatic increasingly become the norm in OOH, advertisers need to ensure that as well as faster, more accurate and accountable delivery, solutions also deliver scale.
Platforms need to plug in to digital 'screen-buying', which will enable DOOH to have a wider purchase point and syndication into other digital-led screen planning and buying.
4. Consider digital inventory as a content platform
Brands are increasingly using content-focused social apps like Periscope and Snapchat to communicate with consumers. Adidas is streaming footballers' practices live, while Red Bull is live-streaming Miami music week events.
Digital inventory and full motion DOOH is in a prime position to become a content platform in and of itself, both for brands to broadcast from and for users to contribute to. We've already started to see examples of user-generated content being used, such as Apple's 'Shot on iPhone 6' and Three's #HolidaySpam campaigns.
5. Get around ad blockers
As consumers continue to reject advertising across multiple mediums, the increasing threat of ad blockers is causing concern throughout the digital industry. OOH, though, is a medium that can't be turned off, so advertisers should be considering putting much more emphasis on the medium.
Increasing digital OOH inventory means OOH agencies now need to align closer than ever with digital agencies to provide the strongest possible integration.
6. Encourage consumers to pay by OOH
2015 saw a huge rise in contactless and mobile payments and advertisers can harness the continued increase in mobile and contactless payments by encouraging a new, larger scale of innovation across the OOH landscape.
Doing so could transform from primarily being a 'brand awareness' driver to instead drive real-time purchases. We've already seen innovative examples like Clear Channel's use of contactless totems earlier this year, where consumers were encouraged to tap their card to donate money to Cancer Research UK.
7. Better measure experiential projects
As the growth in ad blockers shows, consumers are ignoring disruptive advertising that doesn't provide something valuable to them. As a result experiential campaigns are set to become even more prevalent.
However, the crucial resolution for 2016 is about measurement. Advertisers need to make use of new analytics platforms to better understand the impact of experiential activities by tracking consumer engagement through CRM and their navigation through an event space.
8. Learn more about OOH audiences with artificial intelligence (AI)
Earlier this year, Posterscope worked with M&C Saatchi and Clear Channel to launch the world's first AI ad campaign, which rewrote its creative in real-time according to how people reacted to it.
AI provides a new canvas for advertisers to use to learn about consumers and behaviours in a different way. This New Year, advertisers should look to how AI can create stronger location targeting, and how it can increase the relevance of messaging and imagery based on audiences' real-time emotional engagement.
9. Make better use of beacons
2016 is set to see OOH become a key driver of beacon usage. Increasingly, beacons will be housed within billboards, and outdoor advertisers should be striving to make better use of beacons to realise hyperlocal campaigns like one we conducted for Pimms last summer.
Using a beacon network and digital out-of-home screens, the number of smartphones at nearby pubs were counted, and used to create a live feed of this data to show consumers where they could still grab an empty seat to enjoy a glass of Pimms.
10. Consider societal benefits as well as commercial
People are no longer just buying a product, they are buying into the brand and its corporate values as well.
Increasingly agencies will help advertisers make their budgets work harder to create truly innovative media firsts that not only serve advertisers' interests, but contribute positively to the society they exist within to impact everything from the provision of public infrastructure to live experiences.
That's just for starters though. Sticking to resolutions is a hard, but crucial task. However, to stay ahead of the game the OOH industry needs to not only meet the above resolutions, but to constantly make new resolutions throughout the year. If they do, they might stand a chance of 2016 being their best ever year.
Nick Halas is head of futures at Posterscope