The Out of Home Media South Africa (OHMSA) delegation recently returned from global industry conference, FEPE, with predictions and trends to surprise industry pundits, not least that a global player, like Apple or Google, may enter the out of home space, irrevocably changing the out of home advertising landscape, said Jacques du Preez, OHMSA marketing committee executive at the association’s member, media and influencer ‘connect’ event.
“The social and digital media world means that traditional out of home advertising is evolving to keep up with media convergence. The power now firmly belongs with the consumer – a group defined by social media, instant connectivity and the world of apps. For out of home advertising companies to keep up with this, as have Apple, Google and sundry, we have to embrace the speed of change and add value in a differentiated way,” said Du Preez.
Du Preez believes the out of home advertising industry is perfectly placed to increase its effectiveness and its market share. “Never before have so many people spent so much time out of their homes and, never before have so many people searched for information while ‘on the move’,” said Du Preez, quoting from the presentation made by chairman of Zoom Media, Canada’s Francois de Gaspe Beaubien, at FEPE.
Du Preez said that there is “big money” ahead for out of home advertising if certain guidelines are followed. “We have to,” according to Jeremy Male, CEO of JC Decaux UK in his presentation, “invest in our product, invest in connectivity and invest in insight or audience analytics.” Investment in the quality of ‘product’ or outdoor advertising structures through the use of industrial designers is important; it has, in some markets, resulted in an increased margin because of pleasing aesthetic design.
“As Male said, we should not simply convert straight from ‘paper to pixels’; we should be creative and innovative with the technological advancements afforded to us. For us to generate a deep engagement with the consumer, we have to be interactive and offer value. Smart devices have unlocked the potential for interactivity – people are able to shop (in real time) and transact on the move through the use of QR codes, Bluetooth and near field communication,” asserted Du Preez.
This means new revenue generating opportunities with out of home advertisers having to stave off “invader” businesses such as the electronics industry and retailers.
But none of these opportunities will come to fruition if the global industry fails to invest in audience measurement and to “own the data”.
“The out of home advertising industry needs to do whatever it can to understand the new generation of consumers. We know that they are young, affluent, mobile and connected but we need more information to interact effectively with them. We definitely know that clients will invest in the outdoor medium when they know the data on their campaigns. There are fantastic measurement tools out there at our disposal,” said Du Preez.
Meanwhile, as a newly admitted member of FEPE International, OHMSA is able to benefit from the abundant out of home media resources – including access to trends and predictions, research, advice, best practice and global benchmarking standards. “We have finally opened the communication channels with industry associations in 20 countries,” said Billy Basson, OHMSA acting chairman.
In addition, OHMSA has five representative votes at FEPE’s annual general assembly and is privy to a quarterly conference call with out of home media associations around the world.
“What we gauged from our time at the FEPE conference in Milan is the crucial role an out of home media industry body like OHMSA plays in providing a cohesive and authoritative framework for the growth and development of our industry,” Basson said.
Basson said that if the out of home advertising industry “gets the digital opportunities right” the medium will grow way beyond its current market share. “One of the presentations at the conference described the ‘trinity’ of the convergent advertising world: billboards, the commuting and mobile consumer and social media – so we are perfectly placed and in a strong position.”