While out of home media research is in short supply in South Africa, Melina Meletakos finds out what international research says about this medium.
Out of home (OOH) has been rated the second most-trustworthy medium in a 2014 study by the international OOH industry body, International Fédération de la Publicité Extérieure (FEPE).
The research, conducted by Future Foundation for FEPE, showed that while 28% of consumers deemed television to be the most trustworthy, OOH trailed closely behind at 24%. The press came in at 22%, while online media scored a paltry 3%.
The aim of this ‘Always On’ study was to explore engagement with OOH media among consumers in the largest cities in six markets: the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa (Johannesburg only).
It revealed that 79% of respondents have taken some form of action after seeing an OOH advert, while just under two-thirds (62%) of consumers have done so after seeing a specifically digital OOH advert. The report states, “Digital formats are rapidly giving a new thrust to OOH media. But creativity needs to stay front-of-mind: consumers expect more than just moving pictures.”
Always On identifies an important role that OOH is starting to play by providing consumers with ‘post-purchase assurance’. This refers to shoppers seeking validation for the purchases they have made from advertising that promotes these products. Half of urban consumers admitted they would like to see advertisements for products they already own. This figure increased to 54% for respondents aged between 18 and 34. “In a world where, increasingly, recognition and validation is a daily pursuit for consumers – particularly those living out their lives via social media – what better boost than a towering billboard that spotlights you as someone who is at the forefront of fashion or a genuinely savvy shopper? Or what better reminder of brands who have already delivered you a great experience?” according to the study.
Always On also identifies the 21st-century consumer as an “increasingly sophisticated critic” who has high expectations of the quality and style of advertising messages delivered to them. Over 70% of the respondents (excluding the South African audience) said they felt the need to fulfil themselves as individuals by being more creative.
Digital flourishing in African markets
The digital OOH market in Africa may not be as big as the rest of the world’s, but according to reseach done for the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018 report, this is evidently growing.
In Kenya, digital OOH revenue is expected to grow by 35% in the next five years to reach $35 million (R397.3million) by 2018. The growth of the country’s OOH industry is being driven mainly by rapid rates or urbanisation, a rise in airline departure by international and national carriers, rising car ownership rates, new shopping malls and booming road infrastructure. PwC also identifies an opportunity for the OOH industry to integrate online and physical campaigns in Kenya because mobile phones are primarily used to access the internet.
Nigeria’s digital OOH industry is expected to grow by 54% over the next five years to reach $38 million in 2018, according to the report. While digital OOH is rare in rural areas, Nigerian media owner Umuntu Media has launched electronic notice boards in local communities, with content provided by local bloggers and community leaders. Seeing the opportunity in the country’s booming OOH industry, international firms are also investing in Nigeria. Primedia, for example, has partnered with Deluxe Colour Productions to put out adverts on bridges along commuter routes.
In comparison, PwC reports that by 2018, traditional South African OOH revenues will start decreasing but that digital OOH revenues will replace the loss in revenue. This trend is predicted to occur globally by 2015. Digital OOH revenues in the country will grow by 20.3% and account for 31% of the South African market by 2018.
“Over the last decade the South African OOH market has benefitted from the improvements made to the country’s transport infrastructure, especially the launch of the Gautrain and the expansion of OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Many site owners are now transitioning from static to digital panels, offering advertisers the scope to engage with consumers directly at airports or shopping malls,” the report says.
Just like in Kenya, the growth of mobile device usage in South Africa has allowed advertisers to leverage a new sales channel. New opportunities for brands to reach consumers include handsets enabled for near-field communication (NFC) . “With the advent of mobile banking apps and NFC-enabled phones, digital billboards have the potential to evolve from providing brand-building opportunities to becoming a point of sale,” says PwC.
Technology spearheads innovation
While African countries are still finding their feet with digital technology, research done into the Australian OOH industry shows that those ‘down under’ are embracing this and coming up with smart innovations.
The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) in Australia’s 2013 Annual Report showcases some of the work done by media owners and advertisers. Australian OOH company oOh! Media, for example, rolled out a network of retail digital panels which use the temperature to control the content display. This allows advertisers to change their message based on the local temperature at each location. Unilever used this technology to promote its Magnum and Lipton Iced Tea products when it got very hot in a specific area.
“The hyper-relevance of this technology, along with its proximity to point-of-sale, improves OOH’s ability to influence the impulse-buying behaviour of consumers,” according to the report.
This significant increase in the use of digital displays saw digital signs making up over 11% of OOH revenue in Australia by the end of 2013. The OOH industry’s net revenue came in at $543.8 million last year, boasting a 7.1% overall increase from the year before.
A closer look at the industry’s performance across formats shows that roadside billboards decreased in revenue to $178.5 million. The ‘Roadside Other’ category, which consists of street furniture, taxis, bus/tram terminals and small format, increased to $196.2 million. Transport, including airports, increased to $85.4 million, while retail increased to $83.6 million. The report states that the industry’s financial success was underpinned by the launch of its new audience measurement data, called MOVE, as well as by the launch of OMA’s new website.
“As advertisers strive to remain front and centre for consumers, OOH is able to provide solutions, innovating across various formats and utilising technology,” said Richard Herring, chairman of the OMA, in the report.
As the launch of South Africa’s own OOH research grows closer, it will be fascinating to see what more we can learn from our own industry.
IMAGE: Posterscope website
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