Digital techniques and programmatic platforms are giving out-of-home advertising new capabilities. Marketers can now find and reach target audiences and measure digital out-of-home's effects in driving the outcomes they desire.
The techniques leverage data-driven and mobile device capabilities while also making sure to tailor the experiences to customers in their local markets throughout the globe.
On screens outdoors — on billboards, at bus stops, and in taxicabs — and indoors on elevators, in stores, in gyms and elsewhere, digital out-of-home (DOOH) is integrating with other parts of a campaign to augment messaging along the customer journey.
Research has already shown the effectiveness of weaving digital techniques into the out-of-home experience.
“As DOOH evolves, it's able to deliver campaigns that are both contextually relevant and timely," the IAB wrote in a recent report. “By utilizing mobile data, aggregated and anonymized," advertisers can now “plan more efficiently and show attribution for their campaigns."
A Forbes writer recently credited digital technologies with making out-of-home the only traditional advertising category showing major growth this year.
Programmatic platforms such as DSPs and SSPs are letting buyers access OOH via their media buying platforms, giving marketers the chance to find and target customers based on many of the same characteristics used for their other display advertising.
The platforms can access mobile device data to allow geofenced targeting that delivers the right exposures to devices coordinated with out-of-home screens.
Measurement then tells buyers and planners how those exposures fit within the customer journey making them more effective as they amplify and enhance messaging rather than risking mismatching creative or inappropriate frequencies.
This can also help advertisers make better use of underutilized opportunities to reach captive audiences, such as during commutes.
Cost-Effective Targeting by Geography and Daypart
Screen locations also allow for new forms of OOH targeting, both by geography and daypart.
A gleaming office building's elevator can have different messaging than the nearby shopping mall, and those messages can change and sync in coordinated fashion depending on the day or time of day.
Screens can be programmed separately to show messaging appropriate to a specific venue much more granularly than wider geographic regions.
And because digital out-of-home is seldom sold out, screen rotations often provide a greater frequency than contracted, driving down an advertisers' effective CPM.
With out-of-home, there's little concern about advertising viewability, or fraudulent non-human or invalid traffic.
Flexibility, Timeliness, and Brand Safety
Out-of-home screens also allow fast responses to news events or data, updating a brand's message or protecting brand safety when needed.
Holidays provide fruitful opportunities to swap ads in that match the day or time of year. For weather events, too, creative can be made to correspond.
Rather than days of crafting, trafficking, and assembling, digital billboards let advertisers simply pull a creative for a new one. Marketers can even optimize on digital out-of-home screens, tweaking creative elements according to learnings derived mid-campaign.
Experimenting Into the Future
Newer technologies are coming on board to further increase customer engagement and activation.
Some regions promote interactivity through NFP proximity functionality and device movements or via QR codes. Users can be sent on their devices to specific landing pages, then can download filters or images that can then be used to photograph themselves and share personalized images from a sponsor.
Other vendors are experimenting with screens that try to tailor ads to what can be seen about the person looking at it (amid cautions to adhere to privacy regulations and guidelines in the local markets).
Managing the Complexities With a Partner
Research by the Nielsen company has shown that digital out-of-home advertising “stands on par or surpasses advertising on print, radio and digital platforms."
The firm found that 30% of people exposed to out-of-home advertisements then searched for more information online, and gave case studies of increased web and foot traffic to a theme park and a store and increasing ticket sales among tourists in New York City.
To manage the complexities, OOH experts are bringing in experts in programmatic and other digital techniques who can help integrate campaigns to help them work in concert with other media buys to drive toward the desired outcomes for brands.
The right partner can also ingest, manage, and normalize data across what is still a fragmented landscape in which the different owners and DSPs provide different data sets.
“Digital out-of-home's capabilities are already amplifying messaging and driving results for brands," the IAB says. “As it becomes increasingly challenging to reach today's consumer in the fragmented media landscape, the effectiveness of digital out-of-home advertising has become more significant to brand marketers."
Digital has invigorated out-of-home advertising as a new and viable frontier for effective media spend, expanding the capabilities of marketers to prove their work helps achieve business outcomes.