WHY DOOH IS HERE TO STAY
Published on January 15, 2021
Change is the dominant fact of life in every business — this is especially true in the advertising and marketing industry, where the very tempo of change is constantly rising. To succeed, advertisers need to continuously evolve to keep up with changing consumer behaviours. If the impact of the ongoing pandemic over the past year has been any indication, conditions can change in an instant. For brands navigating marketing and media strategies today, there is no clear linear path. In such a climate, having the flexibility and agility to update campaign creatives at a moment’s notice and in real time, is key.
Likewise, media channels are also undergoing constant change — out-of-home (OOH) advertising is a perfect example of a traditional channel in the midst of a digital transformation with digital out-of-home (DOOH) taking OOH to the next level. According to an eMarketer report, DOOH ad spending is expected to rise from US$2.72 billion in 2020 to US$3.84 billion by 2023. Enabling an easier model of implementation and a more automated, dynamic experience, it’s easy to see why DOOH is quickly becoming an exciting, reliable way to reach consumers.
Bridging the Physical and Digital
Tracing its lineage back to the earliest civilisations, OOH is arguably one of the oldest forms of advertising. While modes of advertising have changed over the centuries, OOH still remains a relevant and integral form of communication in today’s landscape. In the past, marketers had to buy OOH ad space speculatively based on where their audiences might frequent. Powered by technology, DOOH solves this problem — by tapping on geolocation data and layering that with behavioural data like demographics and prior purchases, advertisers can target consumers much more precisely and accurately.
While OOH is typically limited by the finite number of physical channels available within a particular space, DOOH displays can rotate multiple ads within a single channel, allowing each advertiser to get sufficient exposure time to the audience. Thanks to this format, advertisers can easily integrate DOOH into their existing digital marketing strategy, giving them more freedom and flexibility to leverage the unique contextual capabilities of the DOOH format to create more impactful omnichannel campaigns that extend beyond the digital space. Additionally, technological developments within the space have paved the way for programmatic buying in DOOH such that it can now be traded programmatically like other digital channels — a significant game-changer for the medium.
D is for Dynamic
The adoption of programmatic in DOOH allows for increased agility and efficiency when it comes to optimising campaigns for a target audience, offering marketers substantial flexibility to plan and measure their campaigns in real-time. Automation also allows for easy creative swaps and adaptations — for instance, an advertiser can easily change out the messaging or campaign visual based on the current time, weather, or ongoing events. Not only is this crucial to remain contextually relevant, but in this digital age, the opportunity to target specific audiences through the use of data is second to none. Programmatic DOOH also provides greater budget fluidity in a time of uncertainty, enabling media buyers to shift budgets to and from specific media channels, and adjust their marketing plans as the circumstances dictate.
That being said, as a fairly nascent media format, DOOH is not without its challenges, mirroring the same limitations as its predecessor in terms of supply chain fragmentation and a lack of transparency. Last year, Aqilliz partnered with global AdTech firm Moving Walls to launch the world’s first blockchain-powered DOOH pilot campaign for mobile food delivery giant, foodpanda. With the introduction of blockchain, our goal was to help to reposition both OOH and DOOH investments as more transparent and accountable.
Beyond its ability to deliver the flexibility and efficiencies of programmatic buying, DOOH also has the potential to make a greater visual impact as compared to its static predecessors, leveraging the unique context of location to produce really interesting and engaging campaigns — some contemporary DOOH screens can even support voice or facial recognition technology, which further expands the scope for creative executions and interactivity. With such clear advantages, it’s easy to see why DOOH is gaining momentum as a rising star in today’s media mix.
Made for the New Normal
The benefits of DOOH were demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when platforms quickly pivoted to ensure that the displays were delivering the right messages to the correct audiences — if ads were promoting in-store visits or seemed insensitive to the current climate, the campaign could be adjusted to feature a COVID-friendly message such as thanking healthcare providers, for instance. In the UK, National Health Services utilised DOOH at transit shelters around major hospitals to display a live count of people posting with the hashtag #thankyouNHS on Twitter; London’s Piccadilly Lights, one of the most iconic landmarks and lucrative advertising spaces on the planet, also displayed quotes from The Queen’s inspirational speech last April.
When shelter-in-place orders went into effect at the height of the pandemic, there was an immediate reduction in travel and store footfalls, which in turn required advertisers to adjust their marketing plans accordingly. With the closure of airports and other non-essential premises during lockdown, advertisers who were running DOOH campaigns were able to divert media placements to venues that were still open like supermarkets and gas stations.
Powered by programmatic, DOOH brings the benefits of digital advertising into the physical world while removing issues such as ad blockers and ad fraud. In a landscape where conditions are fluid and consumer behaviours are evolving constantly, the importance of agility cannot be overemphasised. While DOOH advertising is still nascent today, it certainly holds vast potential as an emerging medium for advertisers to utilise in their omnichannel marketing strategies.