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As programmatic integrations increase, is OOH becoming more invasive?

Featured Press: First seen in The Drum

For The Drum’s Deep Dive into everything out-of-home (OOH), Media Planning Director Taylan Siseci argues that OOH might be losing one of its most powerful points of differentiation: its non-invasiveness.

The out-of-home (OOH) channel is going through an exciting transition. OOH is one of the oldest advertising mediums in the world. Over the years its role of generating widespread reach and impact has not changed, but it’s now offering advertisers more than ever, as we witness programmatic integrations extending into the space.

As the media industry continues to grow and the number of touchpoints to reach consumers expands, we’re confronted with more creative methods for reaching a desired audience. It’s a media planner’s job to connect with audiences in inventive ways that enable your message to stand out. In today’s saturated and congested digital landscape, OOH advertising remains a powerful and attention-grabbing means of reaching people as they go about their daily lives.

What makes OOH unique is that it’s non-intrusive. It doesn’t stop you going about your day. It doesn’t force you to consume it. It doesn’t interrupt you from doing something else. It has always been there to simply amuse and engage.

Orlando Wood describes advertising platforms as “a stage in which to perform”. This relates perfectly to outdoor advertising. Placements are often unmissable; they are impactful; and with the ever-increasing number of murals in market, they add vibrancy to our streets.

Boundless possibilities

The need to be creative is pushing advertisers to break the boundaries of conventional OOH, with brand messaging breaking through the frames of OOH panels in the form of special builds. The opportunities for innovation and customization are endless. Since static OOH advertisers are not bound by a particular second length, or stringent dimensions, it gives creatives a lot of scope and freedom to be imaginative and push the conventions of traditional advertising.

Ideas built out of brainstorms can be transformed into exciting and memorable experiences. Whether it’s using lighting techniques to project ads onto huge buildingsturning billboards into sampling opportunities or transforming street furniture that provides commuters with a service, your ad is no longer stuck to a wall, but can accompany and assist people throughout their journey. Why use advertising to tell people about your brand when you can use it to show people instead?

Another benefit to OOH compared with digital, end-to-end channels, is its effect on social proofing: those exposed to OOH know that thousands (or millions) are being exposed to the same broadcast message. This enhances the trust and credibility that are associated with the channel. As we enter uncertain times, this need for generating trust will become increasingly important.

The least intrusive channel?

With so much digital advertising becoming intrusive, OOH has a distinctive point of difference. But despite its age-old benefits of reach and frequency, the integration of digital technology is now enabling advertisers to create smarter OOH strategies to reach likely in-market customers.

This is due to the proliferation of programmatic OOH, with a growing number of suppliers offering intelligent, targetable and measurable ways to reach very specific audiences outside of their homes. For the first time, a broadcast medium can now be activated on real-time, automated bidding platforms. While programmatic display advertising bids on individual eyeballs, programmatic OOH bids on multiple eyeballs at once.

These new capabilities of planning and buying OOH are applying a new-age technological application to an old-age medium that has been successful at building brands since the first billboards were mounted in the 1830s.

The benefits to contextual relevancy are unquestionable. Studies show that, on average, metrics are +17% higher when a campaign is contextual. But this doesn’t require the use of programmatic technologies to be applied.

Is the role of OOH to reach the most relevant, in-market audiences to encourage purchase? Or should we save these tactics for performance channels? Will relying on in-market data signals suck the creativity out of OOH messages? When creating advertising campaigns, it’s important that we don’t assume interest in the category. The aim is to generate that interest, and the ability to target is changing the work that we’re creating.

The Search Engine Journal found that “consumers prefer less intrusive types of ads, and those not too closely tied to their browsing/shopping activity”. But with the direction that OOH appears to be going in, it looks as though outdoor ads will become more closely tied. So some of the attributes to the channel which drive its likability may soon cease to exist.

These advancements in the OOH space will likely have a positive effect on sales for brands. But whether these performance tactics will replace the traditional roles and responsibilities of OOH remains to be seen.


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