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Dominic Murray 

The appeal of digital out-of-home for younger audiences

The appeal of digital out-of-home for younger audiences

Dominic Murray examines the findings of a new study that asked younger people what they thought about the digital screens in the environment around them

At a time when many media channels are facing structural challenges and revenue dips, digital out-of-home’s star continues to rise.

DOOH has consistently been the second fastest-growing medium after mobile, according to figures from the AA/WARC expenditure report.

This has come at a time when rapid digital innovation has resulted in the emergence of new and exciting inventory on an almost monthly basis to give advertisers smarter and more sophisticated ways to connect with consumers on the move.

But, equally, it has also come amid economically uncertain times where competition for every ad dollar is fierce - so what is it about DOOH that is drawing consumer interest and advertiser investment?

To delve deeper into what attracts consumers to DOOH, Kinetic’s Alfresco Life research unit conducted a survey of 1,000 UK residents, which was representative of the population in terms of age, gender and region, to ask them what they thought about the digital screens in the environment around them.

The findings showed that, overall, audiences were positive about DOOH, with 74% saying that digital posters were eye-catching and 66% saying they found them engaging. They also found a distinct gap in opinions between those aged 44-years-old and younger and those above - positive sentiments were overwhelmingly stronger among younger audiences - indicating a robust future ahead for the channel.

According to the panel, audiences aged 18-44 were nearly 15% more likely than those aged 45+ to find DOOH eye-catching, and nearly 20% more likely to find it engaging. Moreover, 80% of this group said they thought brands using DOOH were forward thinking, in comparison to 66% of older customers.

For brands, the findings give a clear incentive to use Digital Out-of-Home to capitalise on the positive sentiment of a highly desirable segment of the population.

Beyond its ability to attract attention, DOOH also has the potential to play an active role within daily life, using contextual information such as location, weather and time to serve adverts that add value to the environment around them.

The panel research found that utility-led creative with a sense of place was the most likely to appeal to consumers of all ages, with 50% saying they would be very interested in seeing adverts relevant to their location, and 45% interested in those which were time appropriate.

Consumers have made their expectations clear, they desire and expect useful or entertaining content that’s relevant to their location, to the time of day and to their mindset.

Readily available data derived from real world sources gives us insight into environmental conditions around a DOOH screen and from that, combined with other indicators, we can gain an understanding of context. Once we understand context, the challenge is to create and deliver appropriate content for that specific moment.

MyTaxi, now with a handful of awards, did this to great effect, aggregating multiple real-world data sources to trigger creative changes in real-time.

The on-demand Black Cab service understood a major weakness of their main competitor is price surges so they developed a Surge Predictor engine that drove the campaign. Factors such as time, weather, location and local events all increase taxi demand, and when these triggers were met, the MyTaxi campaign went live with copy that referenced the location and weather conditions, at a time when consumers were in the active purchasing phase.

To give another example, the flexibility of DOOH enabled Lynx and its agencies to create hundreds of relevant, real-time content executions across its Bigger Issues campaign. Partnering with C.A.L.M, a male suicide charity, Lynx monitored news and social feeds to determine the stories that were gaining the most attention and juxtaposed them with the bigger issue of male suicide, the biggest killer of men under 45. Fresh, reactive headlines were published at two hour intervals to reflect the frequency at which a UK male takes his own life.

The importance of this contextual relevance is amplified among younger audiences. Not only were those aged between 18 and 44 on our panel 30% more likely to find DOOH aesthetically pleasing than those over 45, but two thirds of this younger demographic said they thought the medium was entertaining and engaging.

And perhaps, ultimately, it is this - DOOH’s ability to introduce this creativity and relevance and utility to the world around us - which means it will continue growing at pace, and scale, for the foreseeable future.

Dominic Murray is group creative account director, Kinetic Active

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 for more information.

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