The media has changed to the extent that we are now targeting consumers by their behaviour, writes Michele Munro.
People are on the move – more so than ever before. Much more time is spent out of home, commuting and travelling from place to place. In the fast-paced world in which we live, people want to be engaged while doing everyday (otherwise boring) things such as travelling. Herein lies a fantastic opportunity for the out of home (OOH) media industry.
To capitalise on this need, we must understand human behaviour, and how it has changed and continues to do so. To comprehend this properly, consumers’ movements can be ‘mapped’ from when they leave home in the morning, following their every step, in order to establish different behavioural (and buying) patterns.
Behavioural targeting is one of the current buzzwords in OOH internationally, as was clear from the recent 55th annual FEPE (International Fédération de la Publicité Extérieure, the international OOH industry body) Congress. It enables advertisers to target consumers ‘in the moment’ – while they are doing other activities, thereby becoming more relevant to their lives.
Digital OOH (DOOH) platforms are ideal for behavioural targeting, as the content can be changed to reflect a relevant advertising message depending on the time of day. Wimpy can, for example, advertise breakfast in the morning, coffee mid-morning, burger specials around lunchtime and ice-cream in the afternoon on summer days – all on one billboard!
Results from an international study, ‘Always On Out of Home Lives 2014’, conducted by a leading global consumer trends and forecasting consultancy, Future Foundation, were presented at the congress in Vienna earlier this year. The research states that 59% of urban consumers in the six markets surveyed* would be interested in digital OOH advertising that showed information relevant to the time of day/their location.
In our modern world of ‘always on’ technology, urban consumers are increasingly connected via smartphone or tablet while out of home. According to the research, the overwhelming majority own smartphones, half own tablets and 71% of those who own tablets use them out of home. These behavioural changes create a perfect situation for OOH.
A consumer can act immediately and buy a product seen advertised OOH online or source further information in the form of customer reviews before making an informed decision to purchase. Almost four in 10 consumers in the study admitted to looking up information online immediately as a result of OOH media.
Recently, The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) announced a three-year plan to roll out a free wifi programme for commuters around taxi ranks and in taxis themselves. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has already launched free wifi at Cape Town train station, according to News24.
These enterprises indicate that the number of people who are making use of smartphones to access information and transact online is escalating. This could act as an impetus for behavioural change among taxi commuters.
In spite of a possible concern that consumers are so absorbed in screen-based activities while out of home that they are engaging less with OOH advertising, the ‘Always On Out of Home Lives 2014’ study indicates this is not so. Recent additional research in the UK (Outdoor Media Centre, COG Research with Dr Amanda Ellison) shows consumers are 33% more alert when out of home!
A 33-year-old female respondent in the Always On study, who lives in London elaborates, “If I’m waiting for a train or tube or stuck in traffic, my eye is drawn to posters and billboards. I can be listening to music and still looking at and reading an advertisement.”
OOH advertising can be used effectively to drive spontaneous purchases and actions in a specific place at a specific time.
A 29-year-old male respondent in Hamburg explains, “I bought some beer after seeing a poster on a house wall on my way to the park. It was a sunny day and I was in a good mood, so I wanted a refreshing drink after seeing (German actor) Matthias Schweighöfer drinking it.”
A thorough analysis of consumers’ preferences during their journeys – whatever their chosen mode of transport – categorises profiles of behaviour which assists in behavioural targeting. The Always On study identifies specific urban consumer profiles of behaviour as:
Hyper individuals: A regular journey to work or study is an extremely busy time for these young and ultra-sociable individuals, 20% of whom are students.
Communicators: A slightly older profile than hypers, this group is also outgoing, but not to the same extent.
Nearly nothing: Daily travel is much less stressed and comparatively less eventful for these mostly male, over 45 year olds, who work 30 hours+ a week.
Musical observers: This group enjoys their travels the most, taking in their surroundings, while listening to audio. They aren’t big on shopping though.
Readers: Generally older (over 45) females who are less accepting of mobile living, readers enjoy shopping, but are less engaged with their surroundings – focusing on reading.
Understanding their behaviour helps advertisers target how to reach them effectively using OOH media.
According to the study, eight in 10 urban consumers have taken some action in response to an OOH advertisement, such as looking up information, discussing it with someone else or making a purchase. It is not surprising that hyper individuals are the most likely of any of the groups to respond to OOH advertising. A total of 91% of hypers surveyed say they have taken some form of action and 62% have gone online to look up information immediately after seeing an OOH advertisement, compared to 40% of all urban consumers.
“I regularly use platforms such as Twitter or Facebook to solicit crowd-sourced opinions with regards to shopping decisions,” elaborates a 28-year-old female respondent from Johannesburg.
Urban consumer responses in the six countries surveyed indicate they now, more than ever before, include various different research sources into the decision-making process, before buying.
“I bought a new TV from Samsung after I had seen a poster advertising it. It was on sale and I have other Samsung products that I like. I also read reviews online before I decided to buy it,” explains a 25-year-old female respondent from Hamburg.
One of the most exciting behavioural targeting campaigns is the Tesco project in the United Kingdom. Jean-François Decaux, co-chief executive officer at the biggest outdoor company in the world, JCDecaux SA, explained to the FEPE Congress that this campaign is special because it combines digital with big data.
All the paper panels were replaced with digital screens, displaying advertising messages at the right time and place depending on the audience and buying patterns. For example, Tesco supplies the purchasing data for breakfast cereal and, depending on when consumers are most likely to purchase cornflakes, Kellogg’s can be offered a specific advertising slot to display their advertising when people are most likely to buy.
Now that’s what I call advertising that works!
* The research included respondents from South Africa (Johannesburg only) among the sample of 1 000 consumers per country who live/work in large cities (6 000 urban consumers in total). Other countries included a combination of the developed nations UK, Germany and Spain and the fast-growing economies of Brazil and Turkey.
Michele Munro is an outdoor advertising aficionado, as well as the founder and managing director of MMAP, an OOH sales company that delivers integrated outdoor solutions to media agencies.
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