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Why add Twitter to OOH?

Gemma Proctor, ‎Research Manager, Twitter   |   29th June 2016

We like to think of Twitter as something that compliments and adds to the strengths of other media - a bridge not an island. This is particularly true for Out of Home (OOH). It enjoys a symbiotic relationship with, and has much in common with Twitter.  

OOH and Twitter both attract a valuable, predominantly urban audience who are regularly on the go. They lend themselves to being consumed at speed and essentially show people what’s happening now - on the streets and in the world.

Twitter’s audience is curious about what’s happening in the world and are in ‘discovery mode’ when they come to the platform. Twitter users are effectively saying ‘look at that’ to each other throughout the day and (fuelled by the Retweet and user generosity) this helps the best, most interesting, surprising or amusing stuff get shared instantly and widely on Twitter - whatever that may be.

And quite often what gets shared is the OOH that users see in their everyday life. In recent months campaigns from the likes of Match.com, Protein World and JustEat have been widely shared and poured over on Twitter after using the blank creative canvas and commonality of OOH to ignite a conversation.

But as well as this ‘look at that’ factor, we wanted to know specifically what paid-for Twitter activity adds to OOH campaigns. As a result, we carried out research amongst consumers during the Rugby World Cup last October with research agency MTM London(1). The research captured their behaviour via a diary in order to understand exactly where they had travelled so we knew what Out of Home media they had potentially been exposed to.

We found that paid Twitter activity adds three important things to OOH:

1. Personal Relevance

While OOH is a great channel for public relevance and broad reach, Twitter adds a strong sense of personal relevance.  Research we conducted (2) previously looking at this with Neuro Insight found that when UK users were actively using Twitter, i.e., Tweeting, searching or replying, the strength of brain activity was 51% above the online norm reflecting the immersive and engaging nature of the whole Twitter experience.

Twitter allows advertisers to increase their relevance to consumers by focusing their campaigns on consumers who are interested in what they have to offer through the use of tools like geo, keyword and interest targeting. A message targeted at people to whom it has particular resonance is more likely to elicit a strong emotional response. And it's all delivered on a personal mobile device - adding to that sense of personal relevance.

Twitter can be targeted in nuanced, specific ways (such as by passion, interest or local area) and our research shows that exposure to both Twitter & OOH campaigns means that consumers are twice as likely to feel closer to the brand and are 220% more likely to agree that the brand feels relevant to me (vs the control group).

2. Depth 

Twitter provides an instant mobile platform for people to explore things that catch their attention - including of course OOH. Users can see OOH activity and then immediately seek out or follow a brand or hashtag, see what others are saying about it or start or join a conversation about it on Twitter. Those exposed to both Twitter & OOH campaigns over the research period were 3X more likely to have searched for the brand online (vs the control group).

And Tweets themselves can provide greater depth, by using videos or links to more information. This depth compliments the high impact nature of OOH where simplicity and singularity of messaging is so important. 

3. Awareness (via a multi-Media effect) 

The simple, visual formats and short lines of OOH work particularly well on Twitter which is a creative canvas that now offers so much more than 140 characters. This means that OOH materials - be they static or digital - can be transferred to and adapted for Twitter very easily to help ‘sweat’ an Out of Home asset. This simple extension of a plan helps create the sense that an OOH campaign is ‘everywhere’ while adding further awareness. As a result, our research showed that during the Rugby World Cup there was as 47% increase in brand association when exposed to both Twitter & OOH and almost two thirds agreed that the Twitter element of the campaign made the brand feel ‘more of the moment.’

So when starting with an OOH activity, Twitter can genuinely add value. But because the relationship between Twitter and OOH is genuinely symbiotic it can work the other way around too. Specifically, Twitter can be a fantastic creative asset for OOH campaigns.

Twitter has agile, relevant, real time and increasingly video content from brands and a treasure trove of fascinating data. All of which can be repurposed easily, quickly and with impact to create OOH assets in an increasingly digital OOH world.

"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"