Craig Page Lee explores six key themes will shape how brands approach the 0ut-of-home medium.
“Out-of-Home (OOH) is the oldest communications medium in the world and was used long before television and radio were even invented.” That said, there has been a fundamental shift in how advertising and communications channels have been planned and bought over the past few decades and OOH in particular, has seen a radical step-change in the importance that the medium holds in the overall marketing mix of the 21st century.
OOH is no longer the medium for static broadcast message delivery utilising the likes of billboards, posters, street-poles, and Citilites, but the enabler of converged communications, where we see technology at the heart of this industry-wide change.
Consumers are spending significantly more time Out-of-Home today than they did 10 years ago, and as the definitions of media, content and technology are increasingly blurring, the OOH medium presents organisations with even more opportunity to connect with these consumers as they engage and interact with brands in different ways. Consumers also have greater access to content and consume and create it in different ways, mobility impacts on what they do and how they do it in different places, social media impacts on how they connect, interact and share, and shopping is impacted on by what they purchase, when they purchase and how they purchase it.
Some of the main ingredients in driving this change in behaviour are; increasing audiences (more time being spent OOH), OOH connectivity (increased connectivity that 3G, 4G and wi-fi are giving consumers when they are out and about), sophisticated devices (proliferation of smart phones, tablets and laptops), networked OOH (digital display panels) and consumer adoption and receptivity (consumers like change and are quickly becoming comfortable with making purchases via mobile phones and digital devices).
With this understanding in mind, Posterscope have identified six future defining themes that will increasingly shape how advertisers, agencies ad media owners approach the Out-of-Home medium;
1. Integrated Mobile Out-of-Home planning (MOOH)
Mobile and OOH will be planned in a much more integrated way, not just in terms of interactive technologies, but how, when and where people use their mobile phones to search and visit websites and use apps. Brands can use this information to plan exactly where and when the OOH media should run to influence brand behaviour. Using data about where and when particular searches occur helps with planning posters/screens at those locations/times, which in turn can drive more mobile searches. We know that online price comparison affects real-world sales, so one of the roles of posters might even be to discourage mobile usage.
2. Gateways to content and transactions
Interactive technologies provide various ways of connecting consumers directly to mobile content. We are all familiar with the use of QR codes, but the introduction of NFC enabled handsets will drive a step-change in this area. Consumers will be able to touch or tap their phones against a small electronic tag embedded inside a sticker on a poster, thereby instructing the phone to take action like opening an app or website and providing the consumer with rich content to aid in the decision making process related to the brand in question. Payment gateways or mobile wallets will soon be integrated into this technology and the concept of buying products straight from a poster (e.g. Tesco Homeplus) will become mainstream fairly quickly.
3. Real-time content
As digital Out-of-Home networks grow and different locations become connected through a seamless technology interface, we will see much more data and live content being introduced to the digital display panels. These panels will soon be treated as an extension of a brand’s websites, with full interactive and navigation capability. Brand owners will be able to deliver updated and relevant content to meet the changing needs of consumers. Consumers will be able to upload content directly to the brand’s social platforms and drive real-time two-way dialogue with a brand. Such content and conversation becomes immediately available to consumers in real-time broadcast style through the digital platform. Branded content management will have relevance from both a social and traditional media perspective.
4. Real-time optimisation and trading
The most exciting of all developments in the OOH medium is the opportunity to serve advertisements and messages in real-time to the consumer at final point-of-sale. Using electronic sales data gathered from previous buying patterns and having access to real-time in-store inventory management, brand owners will be able to manage stock volumes and drive price instantaneously. If a product is not moving fast enough, brand owners can change the creative, provide a new price point and create ‘online’ demand for the product in question instantaneously in store. Store layouts will be affected to accommodate the inclusion of technology platforms and make access to such information easier for the consumers.
5. Value through data
Real-time data is as important to the OOH industry as it is to other agencies (digital) and media owners (TV /radio /web platforms). Access to a multitude of data sources enables much more effective and measurable campaign planning and implementation. It is important having access to, and understanding of media usage, media moments and personalities, as well as receptivity and response to commercial advertising messages across the full spectrum of media channels
6. Utility through technology
Delivering consumer experience opportunities through technology as brand’s shift from broadcast to engagement and dialogue. Brands providing the likes of free wi-fi in public spaces (airport lounges etc.) will go a long way to build positive consumer perceptions and gain brand awareness by driving web traffic through the first level interface (branded landing page – navigate away from this as you sign-in). The opportunity exists for brands to install technology to make people’s lives easier or more fun in a broad range of public spaces.
To conclude, our point of difference is that we better understand emerging technology and consumer behaviour when OOH and how the two combine to create new opportunities for advertisers. We understand the South African market in detail, across all income segments, and utilising our bespoke research tools (OCS / Prism Tools) and methodologies, we are able to deliver easy and accountable campaigns for our clients, as well as to create real value for the brands we represent. As part of the world’s largest Out-of-Home communications agency, Posterscope is well placed to grow the OOH medium in South Africa and to see an increase in the amount of time that consumers get to spend with a brand.
Craig Page-Lee is MD of Posterscope.