Nick Henthorn, commercial director of data insights at O2, and Tim Finn, co-founder at Statiq, explore how the location capabilities of mobile are rejuvenating the out-of-home industry and giving it capabilties it has never had before.
The outdoor media industry has been around for over 50 years, with its origins broadcasting adverts via billboards in bus shelters. According to a recent Magna and IPG Mediabrands study, UK Out of Home (OOH) inventory now totals 370,000 sites, as the industry has expanded to include a variety of different outdoor formats, encompassing new locations, new street furniture options, and most recently, digital displays.
Where non-digital billboards had to be manually changed, and were therefore booked on a weekly or fortnightly basis, digital displays now offer interactivity and the opportunity to switch displays quickly and easily, enabling several advertisers to simultaneously occupy a site in rotation. This has pushed digital’s share of total OOH revenues to 42 per cent for Q1 2017, an increase of 9.4 percentage points versus Q1 2016, and up from the 38 per cent share seen for 2016 overall.
UK advertisers have been steadily moving away from mass broadcast media, with traditional “spot” TV and print ad revenues predicted to fall in 2017 , with over 95 per cent of new money entering the advertising market coming from digital formats, which offer the opportunity for much greater targeting.
The rise of the digital billboard gives the OOH industry the opportunity to benefit from this growth. Until now, however, it has not been possible to profile audiences by space and time, or to really adapt the campaigns based on the actual audience in view of the site; the often-quoted adage of “right message, right time, right place” has been trickier for the OOH market to adopt.
The introduction of new behavioural datasets (for example, anonymised telco data) is a game changer in this respect, as it now enables outdoor owners and specialists to identify the actual audiences in view of a display at individual site level by hour of day and day of week.
Planners are also able to analyse multiple locations, view commuting patterns and transport types, demographic variances and more, to understand how different sites could work together and support media planning decisions across channels. This provides a greater accountability of the media, improved planning and better targeting for brands, on a par with other digital channels.
So what’s next for outdoor media?
The investment in digital OOH panels brings with it the opportunity to extend many of the measurement and attribution methodologies that have supported the growth and ultimate dominance of online digital advertising. Recent developments in location measurement technologies mean consumers who have been exposed to DOOH campaigns can be measured to see the impact on their real world behaviours, such as an increase in in-store visits or propensity to purchase advertised products.
In digital, buyers follow cookies or device IDs to target end users. In OOH, buyers follow the movement patterns of aggregate groups of people going about their daily routines. For both, mobile location data is increasingly critical for planning, targeting & measurement.
If we have a large location data set that describes consumer movement, it can use physical-world signals such as entering sports arenas or bars to create a behavioural proxy that offers high confidence on an end user’s characteristics. These movement patterns are the essential data that can help buyers create smarter, more integrated, and complimentary cross-channel media plans.
Looking to the future, real-time, telco-based data insights are critical to serving digital out of home advertising relevant to the actual crowd in the vicinity of an individual poster site. This will enable programmatic digital out of home to transform the future of OOH media in the way that programmatic now dominates other digital media.
We can also expect to see more brands bring together their DOOH and mobile campaigns to message and measure ROI across two channels that share a unique ability to reach the right audience in the right location at the optimum time.