The old billboard gets the flick as digital OOH advertising takes over

The rapid evolution of digital out-of-home capabilities means brands now have more powerful ways to enhance customer engagement. We look at how

Static billboards and banners are a thing of the past as digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) well and truly takes over, paving the way for more creative and powerful customer engagement strategies.

Facial recognition, augmented reality, beacon technology, real-time temperature parting and programmatic platforms are just skimming the surface of what is possible by way of DOOH advertising.

“At a high level and strategically, a lot of success we’re seeing in the business is with clients who are increasingly recognising the different role that out-of-home can play in their media mix,” Adshel’s chief commercial officer, Mike Tyquin, told CMO.

“That’s a combination of things: That’s utilising digital display, for immediacy and message delivery; it’s integrating with mobile and social; or it’s bringing data that they have in their businesses to help inform them about what they should be planning and buying for campaign activity.”

A more targeted, real-time approach

Experts agree one of the key benefits of digitally powered OOO is about using the various formats in a targeted, real-time way to hit the right customer at the right time and at the right place.

To do this, ad tech vendor, TubeMogul, and ad exchange platform, Site Tour, jointly launched a new platform allowing marketers to purchase digital advertising on thousands of out-of-home billboards, kiosks and elevator screens across Australia programmatically. Following integration with TubeMogul’s software in April, Site Tour’s DOOH ad exchange opened up a video inventory across screens in different environments nationally in real-time. Targeting was available by format such as on a kiosk or billboard, as well as location and time of day.

The ads appeared as 15-second videos and offer online advertisers the opportunity to target consumers in the real world with the same flexibility and targeting they have enjoyed online.

“For example, think about McDonald’s being able to target ads in Wynyard station between 3pm and 4pm in the afternoon: They know they’re getting a specific audience to purchase a specific product,” Site Tour’s chief commercial officer, Vicki Lyon, said. “That’s the kind of targeting we’re talking about. Customer engagement is being able to reach the consumer at that specific point where they can make a decision.”

With programmatic OOH, the screen becomes irrelevant and it becomes about targeting the audience, Lyons said. “Between 90-92 per cent of your decision is actually made when you are in that retail environment,” she added. “The key element here is that we’re reaching the customer at the decision making point, when they’re about to purchase.”

Digital OOO in action

Last year, Adshel launched a digital train campaign with Air Asia that involved linking digital screens to the airline’s live pricing systems. A consumer that walked through Town Hall station might see a flight to a particular destination in Asia at one price, then a different price if half an hour later, Tyquin said. It’s the same experience a consumer has online.

“We’re seeing a lot of retailers expressing a lot of interest to plan out campaigns based on a similar basis,” he said.

According to oOh!Media’s head of client content, Alex Mcintosh, DOOH is allowing constant innovation by helping marketers continue to find new ways to creatively engage with customers in real-time.

Earlier this year, oOH! worked with Porsche Australia to launch a new digital out-of-home advertising campaign at Melbourne Airport displaying a targeted message to drivers of its luxury vehicles. The ‘911 Turbo’ campaign relied on the company’s content management system, Argyle, along with IBM software to determine when a Porsche is nearby.

A camera placed 300 metres ahead of the billboard was used to analyse the vehicle make and model to identify the right cars to target. The billboard then changed to display the targeted message: “It’s so easy to pick you out of a crowd”.

Mcintosh said a vital component in the campaign’s success was using image recognition technology to see the make and model of cars driving past the billboard in real time.

“We challenged ourselves as a business to look at how we can use real-time data to help our advertiser to engage with our audience in new and innovative ways,” he said.

Last year, Adshel made headlines with its facial recognition campaign marking the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This was achieved by recreating an iconic scene in the movie where Electro controls electricity and takes over digital billboards in Times Square.

Closer to home, interactive touchscreens allowed commuters to take a photo of themselves and submit them to be subsequently broadcast across the entire digital network in Town Hall station. Wherever commuters moved through the station, they were able to see their face on a digital billboard – much like Electro in Time Square.

“If advertisers bring the right content and messaging to their campaign, there’s a powerful combination there for them to cut down on the latency or lag time between them and the customer,” Tyquin said.

Participation also formed part of a recent campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), giving customers the ability to print recipes with the push of a button on ‘ShopaLite’ panels in shopping centres. The campaign was done in partnership with oOh!Media.

“When you get down to functional, we’re literally combining images of great meals and the ability for people to push and get those recipes instantly, knowing there is a shopping centre there dedicated to their meal plans and to get those products,” oOh!Media CEO, Brendon Cook, said. “Again, it’s technology and people’s engagement capabilities that are changing the way we’ve used the medium.”

OOh!Media recently rolled out a creative participation campaign for Lipton Ice Tea in New Zealand, where panels were set up in university and retail environments for four weeks and based the creative theme ‘it makes you cool’. When people touched a panel, a spray mist of water would come out and cool them down.

“It was just in five locations, but we got 50,000 interactions over a four-week period,” Cook said. “The good thing is technology like that is becoming cost effective.”

Another example of customer participation in action was Paspaley Pearls’ recent content-led airport campaign. Customers could, by either tapping or scanning downloaded content, or using Wi-Fi and other channels, access a seven chapter short story featuring the luxury pearls.

“In all these cases, new but different techniques were tracked, new revenue was attained but also new opportunities for advertisers to engage using the multitude of different technologies was being created almost daily,” Cook said.

It’s not just content created by marketers and agencies, either. In a recent activity, ooH! implemented a university product called, where content was created and curated by students and linked to native content by clients. The company’s commercial director operations and technology, John Purcell, said the uniqueness of the campaign was that content was written and edited by the students themselves.

“OOH is becoming a real connected experience for marketers and I think for marketers, the challenge is to talk to the right people at the right time at the right place,” he said. “That also means factoring in costs savings and efficiencies. That starts to translate through to the online experience, where we hijacked, which is run and edited by students for students on campus.”

Up next: The latest digital and tech innovations in out-of-home advertising

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