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Digital outdoor unifies campaigns around targeted audiences

28 Jul 2019  |  Sue Hunt 
Digital outdoor unifies campaigns around targeted audiences

Although traditional OOH will always remain a part of the landscape, advertisers must ensure they know the new opportunities that programmatic, digital OOH brings, writes Sue Hunt

In recent times outdoor has become more connected, boosted by the power of programmatic and other tools perfected from the world of online.

Today, an advertiser can target audiences programmatically through outdoor and align cross-channel digital campaigns throughout the customer journey. Advancements in OOH advertising are making it even easier for advertisers to target audiences in locations and moments that are likely to resonate and influence them.

It’s a breakthrough for those brands wanting consistency along that customer journey – how otherwise can they reach prospects in the real world, when they’re not on a computer or nose-down peering into a mobile, overwhelmed by hundreds of brand messages. How to reach consumers when they are in both the right mindset and in the right location?

The so-called traditional channels have always done much of the heavy lifting in influencing behaviour, but paper readerships continue to decline and younger people, in particular, watch far less linear television than older generations.

Everyone, though, continues to be exposed to outdoor advertising as they go about their everyday lives.

Outdoor media owners have been updating their networks so that programmatic digital campaigns can be run out of home as easily as on mobile and online.

OOH is now so versatile, continuing to be both a high impact medium for awareness-building as well as delivering activated, shorter term campaigns based on conditional triggers. It really is the bridge between online and offline.

That’s reflected in the medium’s strong incremental growth. A MAGNA report published earlier this year showed OOH ad sales growing by an average 4% a year from 2010 to 2018, compared to an overall decline of 1.5% for all non-digital media sales.

Marketandmarkets.com predicts the industry will double in total market value from $12.5bn in 2016 to $26bn by 2023.

Geo-targeting audiences whilst ensuring consumer privacy

Location is a marketer’s Holy Grail of digital but there are privacy fears surrounding brands tapping into location data from mobile phones, IP addresses and beacons. However, there is a simple truth about outdoor screens. We already know where they are, and they don’t move.

Combining mobile and OOH is a powerful combination. For instance, OOH offers advertisers possibly the only environment you can feasibly target at scale valuable 16 to 34-year-olds outside of social media.

Add in the ability to also target those young people on phones and through social media and you have a rich, connected campaign. The data enables better targeting of audiences and subsequent retargeting delivers a richer, more holistic brand experience. And, with perpendicular video formats so popular on mobile, the digital OOH site offers another outlet albeit on a bigger, more public screen.

Imagine the train passenger an advertiser knows has travelled from one station to another.

An advertiser could choose to raise awareness of a particular product, maybe an offer, when that person gets on a train and then have a secondary message awaiting travellers when they disembark near one of the advertiser’s stores, amplified by mobile and social pushes.

Targeting by time to reach consumers in the right moments

Time of day is also a big facilitator for joining up campaigns and speaking to different audiences with tailored messages. Virgin Gyms, for example, has been using digital screens to target and congratulate early morning ‘gym bunnies’ in a slightly different way to those who it is reminding to go, as normal, in the evening after work.

We’re just at the start of brands being able to use outdoor for instantly reaching targeted audiences. You only have to think of people whose travel plans are delayed being prompted to cheer up and pop into a nearby store to get an offer on sandwiches or Prosecco.

The same is true of third-party cues. People always talk about programmatic outdoor being adaptable to allow a brand to encourage people to buy umbrellas when it’s raining. I prefer the more optimistic case studies we have working with ice cream and sun cream brands whose programmatic parameters prompt them to bid for space only when the temperature reaches a certain level.

Building a more unified consumer brand experience

We know that it takes more than one message through a siloed channel to really influence behaviour. This is why digital outdoor can be relied on to be there throughout the customer journey allowing advertisers to integrate campaigns across channels, rather than be too heavily reliant on a single route to market.

As mentioned, mobile and OOH are a powerful combination. Retailers can select screens near their stores (as well as known points of interests) and align dynamic pricing as well as directions through mobile retargeting. We’ll start to see a lot more advertisers take advantage of cross channel screens to truly influence consumers in the short lead up to a purchase.

There’s an ongoing information piece to do, of course. We know some advertisers are concerned with what they see as the demise of paper-and-paste, though traditional OOH will always remain a part of the landscape; advertisers must ensure they know the new opportunities that programmatic DOOH brings.

It’s incumbent on us all to deliver up the best ad environments for brands and ensure they are using the tools at their disposal in the most powerful and effective ways.

No other channel can be matched for impact and brand safety and no other can be the ‘glue’ between online and offline brand experiences. OOH advertising enables advertisers to both raise brand awareness and drive footfall through dynamic pricing, weather and conditional trigger campaigns with a map to find the nearest store.

With the country’s major advertising trading desks now signed up to deliver digital outdoor campaigns programmatically alongside online display, advertisers are in a good position to see how the channels can work in unison to join up their efforts across the customer journey.


Sue Hunt is Chief Revenue Officer, VIOOH

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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