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DOOH Trends & Game Changers

Neil Morris, Founder of Grand Visual   |   12th February 2016

So that was 2015. For digital OOH it consisted of the usual mix of activity – standard display campaigns, one off activations, interactive and experiential fun and games as well as dynamic display campaigns driven by various triggers. So can we draw any insight from what’s happened? Are there any pointers for this year?

As an industry, 2015 saw the massive investment in hardware and infrastructure really paying off. Digital is driving OOH growth worldwide, and the medium is delivering intelligent advertising at real scale every day. From this turbo-charged DOOH technology offering, the ongoing debate has been about how creativity sits in the mix?

We know that digital has made OOH agile – that it has transformed a traditional broadcast medium into a more targeted, interactive and personalised media channel. So then the question has to be whether or not brands are capitalising on the medium’s full creative potential and maximising effectiveness?

The honest answer – very, very gradually. DOOH creative activity is still largely dominated by linear campaigns, but what we have seen happening over the last 12 months is a gradual shift away from the mediums linear roots, towards a more dynamic, interactive and experiential future. Creative development is moving in the right direction.

A quick audit of our own work during 2015 supports this. The number of dynamic projects we delivered was up year on year and now accounts for almost a third of our business. However, in the wider market the amount of dynamic activity is reckoned to sit much lower at less than 10%. The takeaway from these stats is that the creative “mode” for the channel is evolving, but there is still plenty of “head room” for improvement.

Compelling evidence for real-time, dynamic executions continues to stack up. A recent study by Posterscope proved the value added by using dynamic campaigns to deliver more relevant messaging, with ad recall up by a whopping +53%, and awareness also up by +18%.

We know that standard campaigns are delivering the cut through and attention you would expect – but as a digital medium there is an expectation from both clients and consumers that DOOH campaigns should be doing more. More relevance, more timely messaging, based on location, data and connectivity to the real world.

So now it is up to clients and their agencies to push the envelope and make dynamic DOOH campaigns the norm. To do that we must challenge every brief response with smart digital enhancements and make, smart, dynamic and interactive campaigns an everyday reality.

Recent moves towards making the DOOH market programmatic, particularly on the buying side in the US, but also in terms of creative fulfilment here in the UK, will hopefully help to accelerate this shift away from standard campaigns towards a more active, reactive and relevant future.

Dynamic and programmatic is very much where the medium is heading. A clear indication of this came at the end of last year when Google launched a landmark trial using ad technology to buy and automate campaign workflows alongside OpenLoop for creative fulfilment – a really significant milestone for the outdoor advertising industry.

We believe that game-changing initiatives like this will spur the market onto thinking more about DOOH as a data-driven, real-time medium where telling stories remains key, but where the winners will be those who do so in more than just a linear fashion.

Looking ahead to what’s in store for 2016, the medium is in great health, and the hardware, software and appetite is now there to ensure the channel continues its excellent growth. Data will become increasingly important – from site placement, audience targeting and all the way through to creative. Indeed, data-led planning only takes us halfway to relevance. Data-led creative is what takes it the rest of the way – makes it memorable, relevant, useful.

Some final guiding principles for 2016 and programmatic creative: data and technology should be a complement to, not a replacement for, idea-led content and from a practical point of view, this means that campaigns are sets of creative assets that work together as a unified whole — an ad system that can evolve against conditions and triggers.

Here’s to an exciting 2016 as digital OOH builds on the progress of 2015 to deliver smarter campaigns – every day and at scale.

"As an industry, I believe, we have forgotten the power of repetition. Effective communication isn't small. It isn't cheap. It isn't once."
"Advertising isn’t supposed to be private. It’s supposed to be overheard, shared, stumbled across and discovered."
"And then there’s advertising’s past. The intrusive, inflexibile and mute billboards. They feel like throwbacks to the old way of doing things. A flat image with an unyielding rule that the consumer can take in no more than eight words (unless they’re Economist readers). How boring. How old school. Until you remember 2015's ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign. Simple, traditional and utterly un-missable pieces of art in the urban landscape."
"Out of Home is the oldest medium of all There’s still huge power in the public message – the power of the public comment. It’s a big thing – it’s why people get married in front of an audience of 150; it gives a public sense of commitment."
"We've chosen to use digital to make everything more efficient...but we've forgotten how to explore and discover. It's a loss of serendipity and we've lost a lot of the humanity. We're becoming very reliant upon digital and the internet to make us incredibly efficient and we're losing out."
"The beauty of OOH is that it can double as a TV screen, a social feed, a camera, a vending machine, a download site, or a purchase point."
"OOH is constantly evolving, and its ability to integrate so brilliantly with new technology is one of its main strengths."
"Media changes, driven by digitisation, have left consumers facing a tyranny of choice—yet OOH is a channel that can still deliver huge audiences, and can increasingly do so in creative and engaging ways."
"The Out of Home sector has been tremendously resilient throughout the recessionary years, showing consistent growth driven by its fundamental benefits. In an ever-fragmenting media landscape, you can still reach pretty much the entire population, all at the same time."
"Out of Home is booming right now: OOH is the most ubiquitous media – you can’t turn the page, change the channel or switch it off, and Out of Home continues to integrate itself brilliantly with other new and innovative technologies."
"Posters decorate the world "
"Speed of change is all around us and no more so than in the rate at which advertising investment in traditional posters is being transitioned to include a far more flexible Out of Home canvas; the digital poster."
"I love OOH because the diversity of opportunities makes it a realistic option for almost any client. Add to this the ever growing possibilities for new innovation and it’s a media channel that is truly exciting to both agencies and clients alike."
"As DOOH becomes more “digital,” it becomes more agile, richer, and better able to play its part in a big idea. As a plugged in medium, DOOH can be the active element in a multi-layered campaign. It can create buzz, break news, invite interaction, and help to drive content and discussions online. Great DOOH campaigns are ones that sit comfortably within the wider brand strategy and capture the imagination."
"By its very nature, Out of Home’s remoteness from the consumer living room, from the office, and from the home computer, has made it a natural bedfellow of mobile marketing."
"OOH inhabits a wonderful space in which we benefit from a rich heritage of memorable, iconic campaigns and a truly exciting future unfolding before us. A broadcast medium that just keeps getting better."
"DOOH is a really interesting storytelling medium, beyond advertising. It allows you to touch and feel and interact in a way no other medium does. That's the real beauty of it, and usually overlooked"
"Show me any brief, for any client and any campaign and I guarantee that OOH will be able to have a justifiable role to play as part of the media solution. That role maybe big or small; local or national, classic, digital or both, large format, small format or anything in between... but it will be justifiable and worthwhile. There isn’t any other medium that can replicate that claim, or indeed come anywhere near doing so."
"London’s very large public transport network carries a great deal of OOH advertising. As a result, London alone has 170,000 advertising sites, more than 40 per cent of the national total. This makes London the most valuable city for OOH advertising in Europe and among the most important in the world."
"Digital OOH networks are multi-sensory and with the development of touch technology things are moving fast. Stimulating the senses more creatively generates social shares, great PR and awards."
"Central London will undergo a transformation and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will get even brighter and more connected"
"It makes sense for the most welcomed and least intrusive media to deliver presence for brands interacting through the media"
"OOH remains the flexible canvas for which a guaranteed audience is never too far away"
"OOH may be the oldest medium, yet it has shown remarkable resilience in reinventing itself"
"Smarter brands are contextualising their ad messaging, reaching a target audience when it matters most and can change behaviour"
"Poster sites really are the last true broadcast medium capable of near universal reach"
"Immediacy, targeting and excitement are what DOOH can offer that other media can't - its just very very cool.The opportunities are endless"
"The combination of classic and DOOH should be an intoxicating mix for any marketing director"
"Out of Home is an accountable, measurable and effective media for advertisers"
"Reaching people in the right place, at the right time is still Out of Home’s biggest strength"
"Posters are the purest and most effective form of communication"
"I would advise marketers using OOH not to see a poster as a Wikipedia entry, think of it as a piece of art"
"OOH engages hard to reach audiences on the move with inspiring and innovative communications"
"Using data to plan OOH enhances campaign performance by up to 200%"
"London is the most valuable city for OOH advertising... and among the most important in the world "
"Super premium digital Out of Home is one of the quickest ways to get into the conversation and make your brand famous"
"For a brand to live, it needs to appeal not only to the people who buy it, but also to the people who know about it "
"Media isn’t about the number of impressions you make. Media is about the power of the impression you make."
"In advertising, we have the power to change minds, change beliefs and change the world"
"DOOH offers deeper engagement than other media, more of a story and feedback"