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Out of home effectiveness

The days when an Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising campaign delivery is expressed only in terms of the overall number of people passing the sites bought are rapidly receding. Even in markets where there is very little or no audience measurement capabilities, outdoor advertising cannot remain untouched by the digital revolution for long.

Economist outdoor advertisement

High quality digital outdoor inventory is now available in many markets around the globe, including Australia, and continues to expand. At the same time the near ubiquity of mobile and smartphones has literally placed the means of interacting with outdoor media into millions of hands across the planet.

Key outdoor insights include:
Kings Cross's famous Coca-Cola sign

1. Out-of-home advertising can drive fame and online traffic

Just as individual campaigns have specific objectives so the parameters against which effectiveness may be measured vary. Some offline media have always been perceived as having particular strengths – television is good at making brands famous, direct mail is good for response, print for detailed messages, etc. As a generally broadcast medium but with an inherently local presence outdoor can sometimes seem to fall between several stools, especially with the growing influence and variety that online is perceived to offer. However, there is evidence that not only can outdoor deliver the 'fame' that brand building requires, but that it can also play a cost effective role in driving online search and site traffic. An IPA paper from 2011 illustrated OOH's ability to build and strengthen brands when used as a lead medium in its own right.

2. Personal devices are driving the evolution of outdoor effectiveness

The penetration of mobile and smartphones is already at very high levels across most of the globe and although the availability of Digital Out-of-Home, (DOOH), varies considerably from market to market technologies such as Near Field Communication, (NFC), can allow mobile interaction even with classic, paste-and-paper. As a result, many see the ability to interface with other digital channels as the main driver of developments in OOH over the next few years. Interactions of this nature may offer new forms of effective marketing driven by outdoor installations.

3. OOH has an impact on the effectiveness of other media

Even without an audit trail of proven interaction it has long been accepted that the effect of activity in one advertising medium is difficult to isolate from simultaneous activity in another. Quantifying and apportioning the effectiveness of one medium against another in these circumstances is often at best very difficult and at worst impossible. As a medium that is so often used in conjunction with other channels the effectiveness of Outdoor activity has therefore often been difficult to establish. Using brain imaging and neuro techniques to examine the priming effects of Television and Outdoor on other media, an Ocean Outdoor project in 2015 found that OOH could have some significant effects.

JC Decaux Big Moments campaign

4. Outdoor media may amplify social media effects

Social media has become a major advertising medium in its own right in recent times, partly as a result of its apparent ability both to engage and interact with social networks of like-minded individuals who show some common interests. Some see Outdoor advertising as offering similar capabilities via specific locational contexts, (e.g. art galleries, coffee bars, gyms), which they would argue could be considered social networks too. Even outside of these particular environments Digital Outdoor Hoardings allows the individual to interact on a one-to-one basis with an advertisement, but in a public way just as posts to social media can.

5. OOH can prove effective in reaching beyond brand loyalists

The one-to-one targeting made possible by digital media can be effective in its own right as well as generating interest via word of mouth and social media. For some brands, such personalised messaging may run the risk of over-emphasising existing or heavy users of brands within the campaign delivery if these are the only media channels used. A research project carried out in 2013 across nine different countries found that online media should not always be the first answer marketers come up with if they want to avoid preaching to the already converted. The findings illustrate the value of traditional broadcast media, including outdoor, in extending campaign reach to potential users as well as to existing customers.

6. Proximity to retail outlets can allow OOH to drive both footfall and online product search

Online shopping has created both opportunities and challenges for traditional retailers across the globe. The growing penetration of smartphones has created new ways of accessing product details and availability. Evidence suggests that relatively little online shopping is actually transacted via mobile phones and that in-home laptop or PC's dominate online purchasing. But the same sources suggest mobile is an important part of browsing and searching for potential purchases when out and about, and forms an important part of the overall purchase process. Outdoor's ability to fuel and direct some of this browsing provides another dimension to the potential interplay with mobile. The opportunities this creates for retailers are increasingly being both recognised and realised.

7. Effectiveness is still reliant on creative on outdoor as in any other medium

OOH has no editorial content to weave its ad content into, but that doesn't make it a homogenous, 'everywhere is the same' medium. Context is created by specific environments and locations, as well as the competitive environment that each site sits within. Appropriate and sympathetic copy that fits into this context can significantly improve effectiveness as in any other medium. There is even some evidence to suggest that the creative execution has a stronger effect on ROI in outdoor media than in any other.

APN Outdoor's live Olympic messaging

8. Location-specific outdoor campaigns can also target niche audiences

Outdoor is frequently described as a passive medium – most sites still lack sound or movement and exist in a locational context rather than an editorial one. Whatever demonstrable strengths these qualities may provide it is often a challenge to attract potential advertisers who seem more focused on more obvious routes to engagement or interaction.

APN Outdoor facilitated immediate 7 News Olympic announcements to go live across the national network of Elite Screens, as part of an overarching partnership between APN Outdoor and The Australian Olympic Team, bringing the Olympic Spirit to the streets of Australia and simultaneously proving the power of APN Outdoor's digital street assets.

Source: JC Decaux, APN Outdoor and WARC

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