When Vote Leave stuck that now infamous £350m number on a bus, the campaign influenced a nation, but how many people noticed the message when the bus drove past?
Another example. BT’s latest out of home campaign. The company proudly draped its Beyond Limits visuals all over London Waterloo. Saw the ads? Did they sink in? Can you recall the slogans?
Not sure? Neither are the organisations running the campaigns a lot of the time. When CMOs, marketing directors and brand managers are assessed on outdoor campaign performance, “we’re not sure” is the awkward answer often spouted.
Until relatively recently this murkiness wasn’t really anyone’s fault, OOH advertising has always been notoriously difficult to measure by design.
It’s been hard for many in the sector to stomach. Digital marketers and social media advertisers have proudly paraded their granular measurement capabilities. OOH aficionados have endured the status quo.
A new lease of life
Thankfully, things are changing for the better, with an influx of adtech companies and data integrations rapidly transforming the market. The sector is being revitalised. Untapped advertising space has suddenly become available. And I don’t mean more digital billboards…
Trucks, public cars, automotive fleets, scooters, e-bikes, drones, vending machines, refillable water stations are just some exciting locations opening up to advertisers due to innovation in the sector.
OOH is being democratised, and as a result the channel is fast becoming more accountable, measurable and valuable to businesses.
The new kid on the block
Of course, data is the real secret weapon here. Better data enables advertisers to accurately simulate campaigns prior to launch, rather than vague impression estimations based on fluffy analysis.
The outcomes are compelling. Accurate CPM and effective reach analysis. Dramatically lower costs. Far more memorable ads. Higher recall and stronger attribution measurement.
And then there’s the vast power of advanced algorithms that leverage AI and machine learning, combined with computer vision technologies, all of which add even more value over time from greater real-time impression measurement accuracy and intelligent attribution analysis.
Bringing it home
Another positive can be seen with local campaigns. OOH has always been successful at-scale for businesses commanding regional or national brand awareness, but where it falters is with hyper local companies, especially those outside of large urban centres.
In theory, OOH should be a crucial channel for local businesses, however, most are priced out of ad space, when it exists, and resort to other channels.
Empowered by new technology, better data and these innovative locations, OOH becomes a viable, attainable channel again for smaller businesses serving a local community.
The sector’s newfound trifecta of greater flexibility, visibility and scalability is just what advertisers need, especially those who have to jostle for budget against other channels.
It’s inspiring to see how quickly the sector is evolving and the benefits businesses of all sizes are experiencing thanks to the power of data. And it’s only going to get better.