Featured Image

Out of Home or OOH marketing is becoming increasingly popular, as time spent outside the home is increasing. While audiences are now more distracted by mobile phones and digital channels, OOH is largely unaffected, reaching as much as 50-90% of consumers in most markets, despite taking up just 6% of the $500 billion in global ad spend in 2017.

That’s important for businesses, who can reach a larger audience with less investment, effectively cutting past the proliferation of digital marketing to capture real attention. With increasingly sophisticated OOH advertising technologies, including customer location tracking, WIFI, eye tracking, and even facial recognition, which can then be paired with algorithms and smart software, OOH is also becoming more effective. In addition, with little to no resistance to OOH from consumers (most accept signage or digital signage as part of their urban landscape), consumers are more likely to pay real attention to OOH.

Target Display Ads

Digital signage makes it easy to target audiences and their wants and needs using programmatic, targeting niche environments, and using smart sensors and technology to better detect audience. For example, Digital allows you to utilize programmatic to display third-party ads to drive revenue. Online CMS make it easy to integrate targeted campaign planning, with instant delivery to signage across networks of displays. Data-driven OOH is increasingly common as more organizations utilize data they have, tying in everything from infotainment to big data to create smarter ads. For example, shopping centers can utilize signage to advertise for different types of products based on where the sign is located, can update to display ads based on weather, and can recognize the age or gender of crowds to display the most appropriate ads.

This type of personalization extends well outside of shops and malls, with even road-side advertisements integrating it. In London, UK, a Holland Park Roundabout installation uses vehicle make and model recognition to offer custom ads, sometimes directly recognizing the car driving by in text like “Hello, you in the green suburban”

Keeping it Simple

While large multi-panel video walls have a great deal of value in many environments, advertising is not always one of them, unless your goal is to display large ads. Uncluttered digital ads with one focus point, rather than multiple panels showing different ads, are significantly more effective, because they attract the eye and attention. This is an important shift from multi-panel ads with competing advertisements, where consumers often won’t pay any attention at all.

Here, single ads are more effective for catching attention, unless you can synchronize your ads to display the same ads across panels. The exception here is menu boards, which naturally must show more details, but rely on the customer already being engaged.

Target Audiences at Point of Sale and Windows of Influence

No matter what your point of display, you likely have point of sale and recognized windows of influence. Here, your first window of influence is the moment consumers begin to walk up, which continues to the cash register, and your last window of influence is the moment customers walk out the door. Carefully selecting signage and ads for these environments can help you to target consumers at these points, promoting activity and action. Here, many stores integrate technologies such as GPS beacons, smartphone interaction, and other data to offer contextualized messaging based on the audience, time of day, environment, and location.

In advertising-only situations, such as at roundabouts, your point of interest begins when the customer comes into view and ends when they leave sight of the display ad. Your ads have to focus on those two points, initially capturing attention and leaving the best impression possible to improve memory.

Integrating the Consumer

While print ads have largely been one-sided, digital OOH gives you the opportunity to pull live data into advertisements. Consumers can then engage, contribute, and see their own reactions on screen, which will drive engagement. While you naturally want some form of moderation for hashtags (even automated moderation), even using simple hashtag campaigns allows you to directly involve consumers with the signage they’re seeing by giving real-world examples of how their purchase is making a difference.

This also ties into multi-channel advertising, where signage communicates with phones and customer profiles to display the same ads as the consumer moves through the store.

Scheduling Ads

OOH is often seen as less sophisticated than digital marketing, but it doesn’t have to be. Today’s more complex digital signage management technology and content management systems give you the opportunity to create and deliver digital ads according to a complex marketing plan. Ads can be scheduled out for weeks or even months, with tailoring based on time of day, weather, or other factors such as who is walking by. It can be paired with an algorithm interpreting your target audience movement throughout the day, so that ads stay updated and relevant across the day. Most importantly, ads can be updated at any time to either pull something ineffective, to a/b test efficacy, or to update based on real-world changes.

How could scheduling work to your advantage? A restaurant could advertise their restaurant and opening hours or events throughout most of the day. During lunch and dinner, the ads could shift to display meals and their prices, which are more likely to lure hungry customers inside.

OOH is growing quickly, but digital signage is the fastest growing element of it. Here, digital signage allows you to connect your network of signage to a single content management system, update every screen on your network, and to cut entire print and distribution stages. This can greatly reduce cost of advertising over time, while ensuring that you can update ads immediately, integrate big data and external information such as weather or time of day to contextualize ads, and that you can pair smart sensors and beacons to contextualize and pair ads.

Digital ads are also perceived differently than print, with most consumers paying more attention. With the option to incorporate numerous types of media, to add consumer engagement through touchscreens and product recognition, and live updates for social media campaigns and hashtags, customers are significantly more engaged with digital than print OOH ads.

Investing in digital signage and OOH means choosing the right locations to establish signage (at interaction points, POS, final windows, etc.), using data to make ads more interesting or engaging, and often using different types of media such as digital presentations, social media, video, and audio to attract attention.