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DOOH Marketing: Public spaces are still invaluable to brands


Victoria Usher

Published On:

April 1, 2021

Published In:

Advertising & Marketing | PR and marketing | Technology Insights

DOOH Marketing: Public spaces are still invaluable to brands

The impact of lockdowns has dramatically changed public spaces – and the digital out-of-home (DOOH) sector has adapted as a result. Out-of-home (OOH) witnessed one of the biggest falls in ad spend (70.4%) due to the pandemic, but digital marketing forecasts expect DOOH investment in particular to rise by 38.7% in 2021.

While decreased commuter traffic and heightened travel restrictions prompted this shift, localised campaigns offer a ray of hope for brands and businesses. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that footfall in public areas, despite being reduced, is still very much present. In light of this, marketers need smarter ways of reaching and connecting with audiences, which is where DOOH comes into its own.

The advanced targeting and agility provided by digital technologies was already transforming traditional OOH, but these became a critical advantage following the outcomes of COVID-19. Brands and businesses pivoted their messaging, programmatic capabilities led to new strategies, and innovative marketing automation is now reshaping DOOH as 2021 progresses. Here’s why the past year offers a glimpse into DOOH’s future.

A spark of ingenuity from business owners

The mass impact of outdoor advertising is indisputable, even though consumers can now be found in more localised areas. A number of brands and businesses deployed timely ad creative and messaging through this medium to support local social distancing and health guidelines. One of the more remarkable outdoor campaigns was launched by Twitter in the US, where it turned light-hearted, mask-related tweets into billboards. By tapping into people’s shared experiences and introducing levity into its campaign, Twitter’s advertising captured wide audience engagement.

Brands in all regions can adopt similar tactics; the pandemic has proved that marketing teams must be able to pivot around current events and keep their fingers on the pulse of consumer needs. In the UK, products related to healthcare – such as masks and sanitising equipment – have become a point of focus for many consumers. Two-fifths (40%) believe health and wellbeing will be one of their three most important purchase criteria post-pandemic, while over four-fifths (82%) are now buying products grounded in science.

Keeping track of purchasing behaviours allows brands to enhance the customer journey. It enables them to offer consumers what they really need, when they need it. So how can DOOH help marketers achieve greater relevancy?

Programmatic lights the way to regrowth post-lockdowns

Typically, DOOH media features a number of ads that appear in the same rotation for a fixed period of time. Agility is now a high priority for brands, however, as consumer lifestyles are constantly changing. With programmatic technology, those same digital screens have the potential to show hundreds of ads each day, tailored to be relevant for target audiences.

By leveraging the same ad buying process as online channels, programmatic advertising brings streamlined, automated decision making to DOOH campaigns. Enriched with multiple data sets – which can cover everything from time, weather, and anonymised geographic location to breaking news and social media sentiment – programmatic enhances the precision and efficiency of ad targeting.

Additionally, brands have the flexibility to optimise DOOH ad creative in near real time, unlike its static counterparts. Altogether, these capabilities enable marketers to access smarter ad placements, deliver more relevant messaging and creative, and boost return on investment.

What will the future of DOOH look like?

With marketers owning greater control over when and where ads appear, as well as who sees them, DOOH is set to reinvent how consumers engage with digital marketing campaigns. For instance, sunscreen brands can leverage smart digital placements exclusively on sunny days, while automotive brands can place ads near dealerships that stock new models. As programmatic improves ad targeting based on context, behaviours, and location, the possibilities for effective campaigns will continue to rise.

Marketing teams are also able to deploy more sophisticated strategies as a result of digital technologies. Vodafone coordinated its “London’s Best 5G” campaign across both DOOH and OOH placements, for example, using the innovative technology, Digital Roadblocks. The brand invested in ad placements on buses, then utilised Transport for London’s GPS data to ensure all screens close to the buses also featured its ads. Synchronising its campaign across mediums heightened the impact of its outdoor advertising and showcased how DOOH is expanding opportunities for brands.

The way consumers interact with advertising in public spaces will continue to evolve as the world emerges from lockdowns, but the capabilities DOOH offers marketers will be invaluable. Through its potential to improve agility, maximise impact, and enable more creative strategies, DOOH will attract greater ad spend moving forward and become firmly established in the marketing mix.

Image Credit: Vodafone

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