July 23, 2020
The marketing landscape has undergone major changes over the past few years. Digital channels like search engines, social media, and mobile advertising continue to advance, with more than 80 per cent of online ads being bought programmatically; however, the digital advertising landscape has also witnessed severe fragmentation (outside of Google, Facebook, and Amazon). Marketers are continuously looking for new ways to drive better advertising performance to reach their target audiences.
Out-of-home (OOH) is one of the healthiest advertising mediums, with 36 straight quarters of growth according to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA). Digital out-of-home (DOOH) is the second fastest-growing advertising medium. However, less than five per cent of OOH advertisements are being purchased programmatically. While digital advertising quickly embraced programmatic buying and the convenience of technology, OOH has lagged in adapting until now.
Advertising executives are shifting focus away from specific channels, impressions goals, and critical-path-method (CPM) objectives. Instead, they are placing more emphasis on delivering the brand’s stated business outcomes in the most cost- and time-efficient manner. No one wants to spend weeks negotiating rates, filling out request for proposals (RFPs), and reviewing insertion orders. This is an era where convenience and automation are the new norm, and data is key to any successful advertising campaign.
Whether one likes it or not, there is a stigma about OOH. It is believed to be expensive, takes a lot of time, and lacks analytics. That said, in the last couple of years, OOH has taken a significant turn in the right direction, incorporating audience measurement and segmentation, data analytics, and programmatic buying into the mix—all of which are expected to contribute to the growth of this advertising medium.
Traditionally, advertisers buying real-world screens were able to target audiences based on screen location. Audience measurement in OOH has historically been focused on estimating impression counts through auditing firms such as Geopath and Nielsen, or through Transport Canada’s reports. Today, audience measurement uses mobile-phone location data, which is focused on a different goal: measuring audience composition in terms of consumer behaviours and interests for devices that travel past or dwell near OOH displays.
Sensor analytics companies such as Linkett, AdMobilize, and Quividi provide audience counting with some additional insights collected locally at the OOH display itself. With cameras and Wi-Fi-based detection, audience segments are primarily focused on basic demographics like age, gender, and a few other attributes.
In contrast, mobile-phone location data unlocks more possibilities for audience segmentation. But how does it really work? How are anonymous location pings converted into insights about audience?
Location analytics specialists, such as PlaceIQ, analyze data from mobile devices, sourced via industry-standard device identifications (IDs) known as identifier for advertisers (IDFA) on Apple devices and Android device IDs that are, by definition, anonymized to protect the privacy of users. Further, PlaceIQ only uses the information collected after an opt-in by users.
The location pings come from a few sources: software developer kits (SDKs), which are plug-ins added to existing apps that analyze location and digital ad-bidding data from networks, often referred to as the ‘bid stream.’ The information then goes through a thorough cleansing process.
Once the data is cleaned, the location pings are mapped to known places, commonly referred to as places of interest (POI). These places are critical ingredients to building out audience segments, as they provide useful information about consumers’ behaviours and interests. For example, if a device’s location is recorded at a coffee shop, it can belong to a potential coffee drinker. If the position is logged at a gym, the user could be a gym-goer. By categorizing this data, visits can be segmented based on brands, different types of businesses, purchase intent, and more. This is where raw location data becomes insightful.
The final piece of the puzzle is defining the exposure area around a billboard or indoor OOH display so audiences can be linked to them. The most common ways to define this space are:
Until recently, OOH has had a very lengthy and complex buying process. For example, if a brand wanted to buy five different billboards, it would have to reach out to each individual board owner and purchase them separately with a long paper trail of RFPs and insertion orders. Today, OOH is available with a robust, scalable programmatic model:
1. The buyer searches the inventory by audience and/or locations via an online platform.
2. The online platform displays available options and pricing/audience reach with complete transparency.
3. The buyer sets a target budget and uploads creative files.
4. Advertisements flow to the screens as soon as they are approved.
5. The buyer is invoiced for the advertisements that are delivered.
Savvy advertisers demand clear and actionable campaign reporting. Today, the technology can provide real-time access to performance figures such as the number of ad plays and impressions delivered at specific display locations, as well as which audiences were reached based on the mobile devices that passed by the screens.
In addition to these technological advances, other core ingredients now available with OOH are contributing to its exponential growth.
On an average, people spend approximately 70 per cent of their waking hours out of the house. So what better way to reach them than on digital screens in the real world? One can notice digital displays almost everywhere as they move around throughout the day.
With OOH screens, there are no bots, click fraud, or ‘below-the-fold’ viewability issues. OOH offers a large canvas to communicate a message that cannot be skipped.
Today, convenience and automation are the new norm. A touchless programmatic-buying process allows for last-minute campaigns on a Friday afternoon as well as their 24-7 creation and editability.
Even though OOH was late in adapting to these technological advances, it is quickly catching up. More brands are shifting their focus and budget from traditional media to OOH as this advertising medium is engaging, 100 per cent viewable, fraud free, and an effective addition to any media mix. With the ability to launch smarter campaigns using audience data, programmatic buying, and analytics, advertisers are guaranteed to see better results.
Luba Giglia is the marketing director at Adomni, a digital out-of-home (DOOH) purchasing platform, for the past 1.5 years and has developed an appreciation for the technology available in the out-of-home (OOH) industry. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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