The perfect match?
The marriage between out-of-home and digital media has its challenges, but ultimately there's a deep audience connection which should result in wedded bliss, writes Crimtan's Neil Alldritt
Last month, a digital billboard located in Malmö Central Station, Sweden, began showing hardcore pornography instead of the local government information it was supposed to be displaying.
The billboard had reportedly been hacked, bringing into sharp focus the dangers digital out-of-home (DOOH) must face as it makes its transition into this new digital world.
In the US, that transition will see brands spend $3.29 billion on digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising this year, according to the inaugural breakout forecast from eMarketer.
By 2018, DOOH will capture 53% of total OOH ad spending in the US, or $4.08 billion. While globally, DOOH will experience double-digit growth for the next few years.
The threat of hacking, especially after the Swedish incident, has serious implications for DOOH. But if media owners invest properly in safeguards against potential hacks, the marriage between OOH and digital could solve another of outdoor's challenges - that of an increasingly disengaged audience whose attention is diverted from the environment around them by portable technology.
In the UK, new research carried out by industry body Outsmart shows how OOH already connects to people's smartphone habits and has the potential to dramatically impact on consumers' online interactions with brands.
Working with research group Ipsos Mori, Outsmart recruited 470 people aged 16 to 44 for a study that ran in November.
Each participant downloaded two apps onto their smartphones; one that tracked their location and another that monitored their online behaviour on the phone, such as URLs visited and search terms entered into their browser. The participants were told the study was about how they use their smartphones, but were not told that it related to OOH advertising.
This allowed Outsmart to passively capture behaviour and see if there was any relationship between smartphone activity and the OOH sites that people walked past or were exposed to.
It discovered that people who had seen an OOH advert were 17% more likely to interact with the brand or campaign in question on their phone than those who had not.
It also found that 57% of people who engage with a campaign on their smartphone after an OOH exposure are either new or lapsed customers of the brand in question (a vital target audience for business growth). Outsmart calculated this statistic by surveying the participants about their shopping behaviour and preferred brands.
According to the research, the 20 most effective OOH campaigns achieved a 38% uplift in smartphone 'brand actions' compared to people who had not been exposed to the campaign.
This included direct actions such as searching for the brand name or campaign tagline, or navigating to the brand's website, as well as secondary actions such as researching a particular aspect of the advert's creative or something indirectly related to the brand.
Brands should pay closer attention to the performance marketing potential of connected OOH"
The research also found that 66% of all smartphone actions were direct to the brand, while 57% of all actions occurred within two days of the last exposure to the outdoor ad.
It's not only smartphone behavioural activity that can be driven by an exposure to OOH either.
With the proliferation of digital screens outside the home carrying paid media, there's more inventory than ever, along with more opportunities to drive deeper connections between outdoor media and location-based digital display.
Crimtan technology now allows OOH or DOOH ad providers to amplify their campaigns with highly focused geo-targeted digital display ads, aimed at web and app users in the same locations.
We call this 'hyperlocal' targeting. It means an advertising client could run a poster or digital billboard in selected postcodes around the UK and Crimtan would then deliver the client's digital ads to mobiles, tablets and PCs in the precise locations where the posters are being displayed.
It doesn't stop there either. It can also be done with DOOH on the move, such as taxi advertising.
By assigning audience profiles to each London postcode, hyperlocal targeting makes it possible to automatically change the ads displayed digitally on the roof of a taxi as it moves between different audience groups. The point is to start with the audience and to be more agnostic about platforms.
We don't think of client solutions by putting them in business units or silos that are either OOH, digital, broadcast etc - with our live data we know where the audiences are. How we reach them is becoming more exciting by using DOOH blended with online.
Given that many other advertising marriages are going through a few rocky patches currently, brands should pay closer attention to the performance marketing potential of connected OOH.
As more inventory comes online, buying becomes more flexible, and automated targeting and measurement capabilities improve, advertisers will no doubt direct more spending into outdoor.
By having the ability the sell OOH or DOOH inventory as part of a location-based online campaign advertisers are able to use this happy marriage to target defined audiences with better connected media campaigns.
Neil Alldritt is CEO of Crimtan.
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.