Reflecting on the Year 2018, the OOH Advertising Market has experienced changes in a way that it is necessary to understand the nature of OOH advertising platforms, target audiences and their mutual relationship so that we could better plan our outdoor advertisements:

Understanding the Nature of OOH Advertising Platforms

A marketer has to understand the purpose of an advertisement on its potential consumers before deciding on an advertisement platform. In general, there are three objectives of an advertisement when it comes to choosing a channel or platform as shown on the right.

The Limitations:

When it comes to Out-Of-Home (OOH) advertisements, it can either serve the objective of only bringing awareness of a brand and product or giving a reminder for its customers to take action. It would not be effective in providing information about the brand and product. This is due to one inherent natural limitation:

It is only able to grab the target audience attention for a very limited amount of time.

We can understand that this is due to OOH advertisements being in an environment with various distractions and frequently, also in a landscape of a clutter of other outdoor advertisements with high consumer traffic. Therefore, marketers usually have to plan the content message to be succinct such that it will grab the attention of potential consumers in the OOH advertising channel. It can be illustrated  in the diagram on tthe right:

With too little information for customers to make a decision, they would need another channel that possess the capacity to communicate more information about a product in a distraction-minimized environment. Marketers would then usually connect an existing OOH advertisement to another platform, such as a website on a mobile device. This primary channel would provide more information about a brand or product by a QR code or a related search-friendly terminology to the OOH advertisement. Thus, OOH platforms may actually help drive digital traffic for a search for more information. Additionally with vivid imagery, repeated often enough prompts viewing of the brand’s online presence, given the amount of time consumers spend on their smartphones.

Advantages:

However, OOH advertisements channels also possess three competitive advantages apart from the above limitation:

OOH advertising cannot be skipped or blocked when the consumer is physically present outdoors.

The advancement of technology has allowed for today’s busy consumers, especially the more IT-savvy ones, to choose ad-free or paid media, or install ad-blocking extensions to prevent advertisement spams. Unless an OOH advertisement is targeting an introverted group of consumers who would rather stay at home at all costs than to leave the house, viewers have no way to avoid an outdoor advertisement.

OOH advertisements can be integrated into an existing physical environment to beautify an urban landscape.

OOH posters or digital screens are able to assimilate into an environment that consumers would be more receptive towards, compared to other forms of media that consumers may want to avoid actively. This brings about a new perspective to making an advertisement attractive that some consumers have the proclivity to. Such integration of ideas from the physical landscape has been pervasive in 2018.

OOH advertisements also provides opportunities with its immediate surroundings to make the advertisement appear more relevant to a target audience.

Apart from the convenience it provides, OOH advertisements can be placed into the context of its surrounding physical environment to communicate a message to its consumers. The relevance of an advertisement to any consumer would make them more receptive towards it.

Understanding the Behaviour of Target Audience

Rapid changes yet again in the technological and economic spheres in 2018 has spurred marketers with the need to reconcile any new differences between how our consumers habits and preferences with the nature of OOH advertisements. On hindsight, we discover the phenomena behind our objectives to optimize the opportunities of potential customers’ viewership and receptivity of our OOH advertisements below:

1) People are Spending More Time Outside of Home

A recent study by Harvard Business School has shown that people’s time spent out-of-home has increased 50% over the last two decades. This could be due to a rise in consumerism and increased spending power, new infrastructure avenues and rapid transport convenience. This would increase their viewership of OOH advertisements. By another Harvard Business School study, this could have been due to better marketing at the retail point of purchase – the time and place at which all the elements of the sale such as the consumer, the money, and the product come together.

After consideration of the audiences’ viewership counts and receptivity, we also have to understand if viewers will be able responsive to the OOH advertisement shown. This means that apart from understanding if a certain area outdoor has high footfall, we have to understand if the advertisement spaces reached out to the right demographics. This translates into understanding the motivations behind the popularity of a particular area with high footfall to analyse if the environment fits the advertisement content, with the purpose to evoke an expected response.

2) Advertisement Experience Matters to Consumers

Posterscope 2018 study reveals a unanimous trend that consumers engage with dynamic content most when it comes to the location of the advertisement. On average, 60-70 percent of global consumers engage with contextual messages relating to the location of the DOOH advertisement. Furthermore, almost 8 in 10 global consumers state that they are interested in location-based messages on DOOH advertisements.

This is because the location of the DOOH provides a context to which a piece of information can be presented to consumers in an experiential manner. In an era focusing on user experience, the relationship between content and presentation can be a make-or-break factor due to the availability of many other distractions outdoors. Having an experience with an advertisement can prolong the attention viewers pay to it, but if an OOH advertisements is unable to do so, marketers should look towards quickly communicating the main messages in the most interesting and impactful manner before viewers lose interest.

3) Viewers are More Easily Distracted Visually During Waits

An article published by eMarketer has also shown that consumers in 2018 are so glued to their smartphones outdoors that they do not pay attention to their surroundings. Hence, for OOH advertisements to work, it has to reach out to consumers travelling unhurriedly or not looking at their digital devices when stationary. Marketers looking to engage viewers with OOH advertisements should then aim to place them in areas where consumers would be idle or waiting. Such places include pedestrian traffic junctions, waiting areas in transit such as a ferry or airport terminal, places with long queues or landmarks for physical meetings.

Our viewers’ attention span may not be limited to their smartphones the whole time when they are waiting or idle, even if our target audience were to whip out their phones. This gives a short window of distraction gives outdoor advertisements the perfect opportunity to grab the attention of the viewers who are looking around the physical landscape before returning to their phones. Outdoor advertisements would have to use attractive stimuli and concise messages to cater to the viewer’s short attention span.

Perpetual Relevance of OOH in the Advertisements Market

According to OOH marketing pundit Leo Resig, OOH advertising is the only traditional media category to show growth in 2018, with an estimated +3.4% growth to $33.5 billion. Additionally, for every dollar spent on OOH advertising, it returns $5.97 in ROI revenue. This is 40% more effective than digital search and 14% more effective than print media.

The OOH advertising industry in 2018 saw an increase in viewership due to increased footfalls for all OOH platforms, but an increase in viewer’s receptiveness only increased with digital or creative traditional OOH advertisement platforms.

1) Increased Viewership

Pertaining to viewership, all forms of OOH advertisements has increased due to people spending greater amounts of time outdoors in 2018. The rapid infrastructure development and the evolution of the intricacies of transit media and street furniture are yet factors favouring the growth of outdoor advertisement spaces.

Research from an Impact Newsletter Article has shown has also shown a significant increase in airport media spaces for DOOH advertising. This is due to the idle time afforded to travellers to view ads at specific touch-points like security check, boarding gates and waiting areas. Furthermore, with beacon technology progressing this year, maximum eyeball contact can be matched could accurately perform customer profiling is possible. Running multiple campaigns at one time is also possible with DOOH platforms because advertisers can change its displayed content without incurring production costs. This provides the ease of communicating dynamically refreshing content in a big network of touch-points, offering advertisers the flexibility to work on the dynamics of advertisement presentation.

2) Increased Receptivity and Responsiveness

Pertaining to receptiveness and responsiveness, digital and creative OOH advertisements creates relevant and engaging content priming viewers for an advertisement message. Presentation of content becomes ever more relevant in 2018 and OOH advertisements this year had the challenge to draw attention away from the viewer-consumer who has their eyes glued onto their phones.  However, with digital media convergence on the rise, OOH is creating more accountable and spend-worthy propositions due to its visibility in the public domain over a long period.

Both receptiveness and responsiveness in 2018 has also been improved when OOH advertisements deliver creative or contextual content that supports brand objectives. Programmatic DOOH technologies are being used to buy and optimize campaigns on connected platforms, helping brands to deliver the right advertisements in the right place at the right time using consumer and mobile location data. Leveraging on smartphones maximizes the efficacy of a DOOH campaign due to improved physical measurements of advertising returns. These include mobile live location based data and better attribution tools like beacons or recognition software to better locate and profile customers respectively.

Conclusion

In sum, traditional and digital OOH advertising in 2018 and will continue to perpetuate in the physical landscape for viewership and in experiential marketing for receptivity. The dual combination of increased viewership and receptivity in OOH channels will enhance brand awareness to a huge extent while also providing a unique touch-and-feel experience to consumers.