13/12/2013 - Blogs

Taking OOH into the Digital Age

Few deny that Out of Home is one of the most impactful forms of advertising but until recently, it would have been very hard to argue that it was, in any way, nimble. How times have changed. The advent of digital screens has had probably had the biggest impact on Outdoor, of all advertising options. Last year saw 22% of OOH spend directed to digital campaigns and, as inventory owners increase their investment, this percent is set to increase exponentially with some forecasts putting spend at 50% by 2025.

We suspect that digital OOH has probably matured into what it is likely to be for the foreseeable future; what the sector needs now is for brands and media partners to fully understand its scope and flexibility, embrace it and deliver some truly impactful work. At Talon, we are proud to partner some enlightened associates including Grand Visual and CURB and, in our first year, have delivered several impressive campaigns for brands such as Google, Camelot and PS4.

Content is King What made some of these campaigns ground-breaking, especially the Google execution that served hundreds of different creatives by location and time of day, was that consumers saw the content as just that, not traditional advertising. Today’s punter is adept at screening out the unimportant, but digital OOH allows us to be clever in our thinking and for creative and media to be more aligned. Content will play a crucial role in defining the appeal of digital OOH, with some strong initiatives emerging already via CBS Outdoor, JCDecaux and MediaCo. Sites have the potential to become important content providers that reach beyond the advertising sector. Advertising To Go – the Impact of Mobile The impact of mobile on the media and society has been impossible to ignore; both mobile and OOH are about location and real-time, and their future is firmly linked. Currently we are only scratching the surface, but as a sector we need to demonstrate to smaller brands or ones not yet engaged with Outdoor that our medium can deliver great results for them too. Digital presents us with hugely increased flexibility, so instead of having a poster in place for two weeks, now clients can take space for as little as an hour on one specific site. This opens the market to incredibly specific and tailored campaigns as well as becoming feasible for budgets of all sizes.

The New Landscape Requires Even Smarter Planning Many of the leading media owner platforms (JCDecaux, Amscreen, Ocean, Storm and MediaCo) are driving change to trading mechanisms, with the rise of more ‘face time’ impacts solutions that incorporate audience, time of day and even a trading platform into the transaction. Soon engagement could genuinely replace time as a currency with outdoor; audience, mind-set, location and message will be at the heart of campaigns. However, for us as media partners, we need to help this process by demonstrating the tangible value of digital OOH. We are seeing some tools for doing this emerge, from both media owners and within specialists, and it is down to us to embrace these to create on-going accountability.

What’s the Deal with Trading?

2014 will redefine how we trade, focusing on impacts and audience and even reaching a point where we could be trading by hours. We need to adapt to be able to offer full flexibility to both broad canvas advertisers and those driving location and time-specific messages. This will enable us to expand the market and fully utilize the growing digital capacity that exists and is extending.

The changes digital affords Outdoor brings us closer to the world of media by delivering impacts but with a controlled strategy of coverage and frequency. This allows advertisers to achieve exactly what they set out to do through location and time-based targeting; they can now ask ‘How much face-time did we get?’. However we need now to look at effectiveness from a slightly different perspective, with online, mobile and social providing new definitions of ROI.

Location, Location, Location

One example of this that is being undertaken by Talon is our ‘Take the City’ initiative. Many brands want to target workers during the working week but are inherently paying for seven days’ advertising. We are tailoring campaigns so that advertisers targeting workers are only visible at appropriate times – we can then use the remaining days to reach shoppers, tourists or other audiences. This strategy offers both value and a premium that this audience is worth, primarily by virtue of their location.

This represents an opportunity for digital OOH to differentiate its offer. Route is a key part of this and whilst it needs further development it does mean that when others talk about ‘big data’ we can analyse how formats reach audience and how we reappraise price, delivery and OOH weights by audience, format and location.

This evolution means that OOH will be benefit by digital OOH being less rigid – transcending existing practices has been a stance that Talon has made from the outset of our launch. 2014 is set to be an exciting time for the whole of OOH.

This is a shorter version of an article that appeared on Media Week in December 2013