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David Pidgeon 

Digital investment bolsters OOH audiences

Digital investment bolsters OOH audiences

The proliferation of digital out-of-home screens (DOOH) has helped drive weekly digital impacts to 1.1bn across the UK, according to new figures from Route.

The figure is an 11.1% increase in the last three months and 36% in the last year. It means 68% of the population will now see a digital screen at least once, each week.

"The data show another strong performance for digital out-of-home with a lot of new screens being included in the measurement system which is helping to increase the audience," said Euan Mackay, general manager, Route.

"It’s also encouraging to see the distribution of these screens spreading further meaning that advertisers can take advantage of all the benefits of digital ads such as movement and environmentally contextual triggers on an even wider scale than ever before.”

98% of the adult population in the UK will see an out-of-home advert, whether a poster or a digital screen, each week.

However, due to the urban clustering of digital screens, those exposed to DOOH ads tend to be slightly younger and more affluent than the average. 37% of digital impacts are seen by 15-34s and 63% by ABC1s.

Earlier this month, GroupM, the investment arm of WPP, said digital formats are "increasingly important" for OOH, accounting for half of spending in the sector during 2018.

Further share gains are still to come as more automation takes root, GroupM said, including the emergence of performance-based targeting and data-driven trading. For now, however, OOH growth is forecast to exceed 3% in both 2019 and 2020.

However, some industry experts caution that the rise of digital at the expense of traditional posters might not always be in the best interests of advertisers.

"Classic billboards, both 48 sheet and 96 sheet, have been in steep decline for several years," out-going Kinetic CEO, Stuart Taylor, told Mediatel earlier this year.

"Digital billboards offer stature, impact and huge audience delivery in specific city locations and yes, the transformational advances that digitisation has brought to the medium are rightly applauded.

"But it's classic billboards that allow for a much wider and more comprehensive footprint across the UK, which is the driver for reach, so essential for broadcast brand building."

Industry estimates suggest that 48s have declined from 20,500 across the UK in 2010 to around 12,000 in 2018 a drop of 40%. For 96 sheets the numbers are even worse, from 2350 to 970 in the same period, a drop of 58%.

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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