26/03/2018 - Blogs

A Manifesto for Smarter as Standard Out of Home Planning

At Talon we pursue a Smarter as Standard approach, which means taking the best of digital advertising techniques and applying them to OOH.

Delivering Smarter as Standard means a shift towards data-driven campaign planning, dynamic creative, automated execution and outcome-based measurement. But it also means never losing sight of how and why Out of Home advertising works.

OOH may no longer be dominated by “paper and paste” ad units, but it still does what it has always done; it helps advertisers to reach large audiences, quickly, with unobtrusive and unmissable brand advertising messages.

In these times of change, it can be tempting to accept a paradigm shift. But we don't believe that treating OOH as just another set of “impression” generating billboards and screens serves the interests of the advertisers who value the medium. Bigger data sets, smarter advertising technologies and easier buying processes support more targeted, automated and measurable campaigns, but they won’t change how people experience classic and digital screen ads in the real world.

Talon's Smarter as Standard Manifesto outlines our five beliefs about the future of OOH and the path we have taken to ensure it keeps on working for our clients. 

  1. Automation alone will not deliver real value to advertisers
  2. Contextual OOH is easy to deliver and proven to be more effective
  3. Data and intelligence supercharges OOH’s core strengths
  4. Integrating digital and OOH is the next frontier
  5. OOH is not “just another screen”

Automation alone will not deliver real value to advertisers

Automated trading is an important milestone for the UK OOH market; one that will be delivered in 2018, albeit limited - at first - to specific types of inventory and trades.

An automated marketplace needs technology and process integrations between demand and supply sides, but this can only be achieved with aligned efforts and investments across the industry.

Until now, progress has been slower than many had hoped or predicted, but the breadth and depth of automated OOH trading will develop far more quickly in the months ahead.

In 2018, Talon’s proprietary automation solution will also gain scale, fully replacing ‘manual’ campaign planning, buying and delivery processes inside our business. Our solution, Plat>O (Platform for Automated Transaction of OOH) is both a campaign management platform and a series of integrations with internal systems and 3rd parties, including ad-servers, media owners and ad verification partners.

Through these integrations, Plat>O provides real-time market intelligence about all classic and digital OOH inventory to our planning and investment teams. It enables them to effectively negotiate price, automatically book inventory and activate a range of downstream campaign delivery processes.

Integrated technology platforms like Plat>O create workflow efficiencies for the businesses that operate in OOH, reducing dependence on traditional tools such as emails, phone calls and spreadsheets and freeing up people’s time for creative thinking and business development.

But, whilst automation technologies will transform how OOH media is transacted, they will do little to enable more targeted, effective and measurable campaigns. This is what advertisers really value about the future of OOH. 

Contextual OOH is easy to deliver and proven to be more effective

While automated trading has been slow to develop, technologies that build and serve contextual creative have existed for almost a decade and they are proven to add value. 

These technologies include Grand Visual’s OpenLoop, an intelligent content management and ad-serving technology which can deliver and optimise campaigns with almost limitless creative flexibility. Our clients can use these tools to enrich their creative strategies, with real-time insights about real world conditions used to customise ad content for every screen.

We make it easy to deliver smart, contextual creative because we know it works.

Time and again, Talon’s research proves contextual OOH ads boost effectiveness. They’re more likely to be recalled, more likely to be perceived as personally relevant, and more likely to positively impact brand metrics such as awareness and consideration.

Talon is the UK’s most awarded agency for digital OOH creativity and effectiveness. We spend a substantially larger proportion of our client’s OOH budgets on digital inventory than the market average. We fundamentally believe in a Smarter as Standard approach to OOH advertising, producing dozens of dynamic and contextual campaigns every year.

But we’re not even touching the sides in terms of our capacity for delivering smart, contextual creative. Advertisers care deeply about creative impact and effectiveness, but too few of them use the tools they already have. 

Data and intelligence supercharge OOH’s core strengths

OOH has changed somewhat in the last decade, but it still does what it’s always done; it helps advertisers to reach large audiences, quickly, with unobtrusive and unmissable brand advertising messages.

Except, it has got even better at it.

Once characterised by “paper and paste” billboards and fortnightly campaign cycles, the UK’s OOH market has changed beyond recognition. Thanks to landlords and media owners’ investment in upgraded, digital inventory, UK advertisers have immense opportunity to deliver genuinely unmissable digital advertising to on-the-go audiences at national scale.

We believe more advertisers will take advantage of this opportunity in the years ahead, but not simply because there is ever more digital inventory and faster buying processes. Digitisation will grow OOH because it enables advertisers to deliver more targeted, effective and measurable one-to-many advertising.

At Talon, we’re developing intelligent advertising technologies which enable our clients do this at scale – and not just across digital inventory.  

One of these technologies is Talon’s proprietary OOH Data Management Platform (ODMP), a centralised platform to ingest, organise and activate large quantities of user-level audience data.

The ODMP enables our teams to combine the best of online advertising techniques with a specialist understanding of how OOH advertising really works.

Because it has been designed specifically for OOH advertising, the ODMP improves our understanding of the people who are really exposed to all of the UK’s 420,000 OOH placements, and the real world places those people go.

The ODMP allows us to segment audiences based on their real (not claimed) and recent offline and online behaviours. It helps us to maximise reach of those audiences with targeted and customised campaigns, and to better understand how they behave following exposure to advertising messages. The ODMP is an example of how intelligent advertising technologies powered by richer, more real-time audience data will create better one-to-many advertising and grow advertisers’ use of OOH in the years ahead.

Integrating digital + OOH is the next frontier

Nowadays, most digital media teams - whose traditional expertise lie in buying online and mobile audiences - aspire to one day include OOH inventory in their planning and buying. 

Talon fully supports an open market designed to create more integrated and effective advertising. And whilst our automation and data management technologies are primarily designed to support OOH advertising, we also see significant opportunities to expand their remit to support integrated digital and OOH buying.

Combining the technologies and teams that manage digital and OOH media buying could unlock a range of new cross-channel strategies that both enhance investment efficiency and improve the consumer experience. It could directly address advertisers’ needs for a more consistent approach to cross-channel audience targeting and campaign optimisation.

Ultimately, we believe that integrating digital and OOH media buying will be the next frontier.

OOH is not “just another screen”

Some industry commentators have a different view and suggest that digital and classic OOH should be treated as two entirely separate channels. But the idea that digital OOH is fundamentally different channel fails to recognise how people experience ads in the real world.

Whether digital or classic, OOH advertising continues to reach crowds of diverse, transient individuals, and not individual users. OOH ads don't ask to be clicked, shared or viewed through to completion. They continue to be (largely) free of editorial content. They tend to be passively and not actively consumed. They continue to rely on creative impact and frequency to achieve their campaign goals.

We believe that, regardless of which teams or technologies manage planning and buying, there will be little change in OOH’s core proposition. It will remain a broadcast, brand advertising channel, primarily used by advertisers to reach mass audiences and to achieve brand building goals.

This is one of the reasons why Talon’s new data management platform will work alongside, not replace, existing OOH audience planning and measurement tools.

Route, one of the most advanced audience research projects of its kind, remains an essential source of information about OOH audiences and inventory. Route will continue to power Talon’s campaign optimisation tools, whose goals are to effectively and objectively allocate campaigns and maximise audience reach across disparate environments, networks and formats.

The role played by Talon’s DMP and Route-based optimisation tools is more crucial than ever. Amid an increasingly noisy and confusing landscape, the OOH specialists’ ability to discern real behaviours and apply real intelligence to cross-environment audience targeting will be a centrepiece of successful OOH advertising.