Why Brands Need to Rethink Their Creative for Digital Out-of-Home

By Leslie Lee, SVP of Marketing, Vistar Media

The addition of digital and programmatic capabilities to the broader out-of-home (OOH) ecosystem has been an impressive, innovative move for the outdoor advertising industry as a whole. Because of the maturation of this channel, advertisers and brands have more tools at their disposal than ever before. While new buying technology and advanced campaign capabilities are great, impactful advertising still relies heavily on creativity:

  • 75% of an ad’s effectiveness is determined by its creative. (Advertising Research Federation)
  • Creative quality remains among the top drivers of brand impact accounting for 50% of campaign effectiveness. (Kantar Group)
  • Highly creative ad campaigns had nearly double the sales impact of non-creative campaigns. (Harvard Business Review)

For centuries, OOH media has been known for pushing the boundaries of creativity – such as custom installations, memorable moments and attention-grabbing campaigns. The BBC’s Dracula billboard, adidas’ “liquid billboard” and IBM’s custom smarter cities ads are just a few examples that come to mind.

Within digital out-of-home (DOOH), you’re not going to be building custom displays like those I just mentioned. So how do you capture consumer attention from within the frame of a screen?

Consumers react to relevance, so campaigns that deliver specifically targeted messages through impactful creative will stand out, and programmatic technology allows for granular targeting to match the creative. Still, maximizing the benefits of programmatic within OOH requires a relatively new approach.

Much of the creative found in DOOH has involved repurposed assets from other media channels. While that may work as a baseline in activating the channel, advertisers can do even better to maximize the value of the channel, rather than simply repurposing existing campaign assets. One of the biggest technological advancements the DOOH industry has seen in recent years is the ability to integrate data into creative assets and targeting tactics. With data playing an active role in almost every facet of an ad, advertisers should strive to break the mold and rethink how to approach DOOH campaigns from the ground up.

Dynamic creative capabilities within the channel allow creative teams to let their imagination loose to explore new ways of delivering a message.

Dynamic Creative — Dynamic creative uses data to change specific elements within an individual advertising asset to create tailored experiences for individual audiences. This includes automatically swapping out creative elements like product images, taglines, ad copy, offers and more based on predetermined factors derived from input data.

Some example use cases of the new capabilities afforded to advertisers through dynamic creative include:

  • Sports scores & game details: Whether you’re seeking to drive ratings, sell tickets, promote a betting platform or encourage visits or sales around a social viewing moment, pulling in the latest sports match-up details or even in-game scores creates urgency and relevance with your target audience. See how the NBA increased game time tune-in intent with the use of dynamic creative.

  • Nearest store location: With dynamic creative, DOOH ads can direct consumers to the nearest brick and mortar location, showing the route and distance to get there. Highlighting the immediacy of nearby locations creates that mental connection to relevant content, instantly grabbing more attention from viewers.
  • Countdowns (or count-ups): New store openings, lotteries and contests, major product launches, appointment viewership broadcasts and events are perfect occasions to implement countdown creatives to build excitement for a specific event. Create hype and urgency to motivate consumers to take action.

In addition to the capabilities made possible through dynamic creative, advertisers can also take advantage of the weather to drive home their message.

Weather Triggers — Weather is one of the largest influences on how consumers behave. It affects consumers’ moods, determines how they dress, where they go, and what they eat. By using programmatic DOOH, you can activate a brand’s advertising based on different environmental and health conditions such as inclement weather, high pollen count, migraine conditions and the like. All weather triggers are relative, determined by location and current conditions. When the weather meets your campaign’s pre-determined triggers, programmatic technology can automatically deploy your brand’s creative when and where it is most likely to influence consumers. See how UGG boosted purchase intent with the use of weather triggers.

Finally, repurposing existing creative assets from other channels can be an effective way to expand campaign reach and launch a DOOH strategy without additional creative investment. However, brands should at least consider modifying their creatives to ensure they will make the greatest impact in the physical world. Considering elements such as color contrast, logo placement and subtle animation can make the difference between a solid and an exceptional impact.

OOH has always been viewed as a bold, splashy channel that makes a big impression and that perception is now enhanced thanks to the inclusion of relevant, real-time data. Static displays are still effective, but when you look under the hood and see what the channel is now capable of, creative teams can push the limits and develop campaigns that will make a long-lasting impact for their clients.