How Outdoor Advertising Has Evolved While We’ve Been Indoors

Akama Davies, Global Practice Lead, Digital OOH, Xaxis

With the majority of Covid-19 restrictions lifted across the UK, audiences have returned to outside spaces. After spending months indoors and consuming in-home digital media at a colossal scale, the reopening of hospitality and event venues is bringing back eyeballs to public spaces. So naturally, advertisers and agencies’ confidence in out-of-home (OOH) ad buying will follow, especially digital out-of-home (DOOH), which has been undergoing an innovative, programmatic-fuelled transformation while we’ve been stuck indoors.

The three key drivers behind DOOH innovation

Consumers interact with a growing mix of digital touchpoints every single day, making journeys from ad exposure to transaction tricky to follow. When mixing both online and offline touchpoints as part of a unified strategy, this undertaking becomes even more complex.

The metrics and infrastructure of the DOOH landscape have needed to adapt. As a result, to enable advertisers and agencies to leverage it as part of integrated omnichannel campaigns. Central to the evolution of DOOH is the advertiser demand for greater flexibility, relevance, and measurement.

 

Demand for more flexible buying options: Typically, traditional OOH ad placements are purchased ahead of time for fixed periods of time. As the buying process of OOH inventory isn’t automated, it can be susceptible to long turnaround times and a lack of responsiveness. Combined with restrictive cancellation policies, these factors can cause complications for media buyers used to operating in the fast-paced, adaptable digital advertising landscape we know today. Depending on the circumstances and environment, advertisers and agencies want the ability to tailor messaging, be selective with placements, and deploy highly relevant ads.

Importance of relevant and impactful creative: Advertisers accustomed to the one-to-one targeting possibilities of digital channels are always keen to improve the relevance of creative messaging and engagement with audiences at optimal times of the day or week that reflect the different needs and mindset of a given consumer. Typically static ads have inherent limits to dynamic personalisation, meaning ads can’t be easily customised based on consumers’ context. Advertisers and agencies are therefore eager for greater agility and customisation to maximise the impact of their campaigns.

Rising expectations for attribution and accountability: For traditional OOH, industry research and environmental context are the primary elements of ad targeting, giving media buyers an estimation of where outdoor audiences might be on a regular basis. While this offers contextual insight into the placement of an ad, it can make it difficult to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign and account for which OOH placements are driving business results. In addition, in an interconnected ecosystem, advertisers and agencies require a view of how campaigns perform across all channels, which is increasingly challenging for non-digital inventory such as traditional OOH.

How programmatic is accelerating DOOH’s progress

In response to these expectations, programmatic capabilities for DOOH advertising have emerged to balance the benefits of digital with the unmistakable impact of outdoor advertising.

First, programmatic streamlines the ad buying process, allowing for more precise targeting and ad placements that can be adjusted on an hourly basis. Being able to deploy ads at optimal times means they can be aligned with not only peak audience movements but real-world conditions as well. For example, the relevance of ad creative can be enhanced by small changes that reflect weather conditions or the interests of specific audiences. Alongside this, hourly slots make programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH) placements more accessible to advertisers from an investment perspective.

Programmatic technologies can collate movement and location data sources such as aggregated consented mobile IDs, first-party IDs, and third-party audiences to inform ad targeting. By analysing multiple data sources, programmatic gives advertisers more robust planning and optimisation abilities for their campaigns. Geo-location data can also be leveraged to identify ad placements that correspond with consumers’ movement patterns. Using an advertiser’s desired target audience, programmatic tools work to deliver a map of pDOOH inventory that is well-placed to reach these audiences, which supports advertising efficiency.

The improved quantity and accuracy of data available to advertisers fuels a performance boost in pDOOH by utilising touchpoints throughout each step of the consumer journey. Moreover, when it comes to devising omnichannel digital strategies, pDOOH delivers a distinctly powerful overall media performance boost through a priming effect that amplifies the impact of search, social, and mobile enabled by the fluid optimisation of budget between pDOOH and other online programmatic channels.

With a clearer picture of audience movements, programmatic allows for greater measurement capabilities and quantifies the effectiveness of pDOOH locations. Advertisers, therefore, gain comprehensive insights into ad exposure, which in turn continuously feed into better planning and buying to drive campaign objectives.

By bringing together a number of data sources and providing a better understanding of audiences, pDOOH helps advertisers reach their target segments in the best time and place. As consumer footfall rises in public spaces, ad buyers will be able to invest confidently in pDOOH due to its invaluable ability to ensure relevance, boost campaign performance, and reliably achieve business outcomes.

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