It’s obvious that the pandemic dramatically changed media strategies, as buyers adapted to radically different consumer behavior. In the out-of-home space, programmatic activations quickly proved to have advantages. Rather than losing money on campaigns that were rendered moot, advertisers were able to fully control digital campaigns, allowing teams to pause, pivot or cancel ads as conditions evolved.
Interestingly, more than just shifting existing strategies, we are seeing brands that historically didn’t invest heavily in out-of-home giving the channel a second look. Pre-pandemic, OOH—and specifically digital out-of-home (DOOH)—was heavily dominated by retail, entertainment, QSR and new company/brand launches. Recently, financial services, e-commerce, sports, travel and direct-to-consumer brands have all recognized the power and flexibility of OOH programmatic as well.
Reimagining the scope of OOH
In an incredibly short timeframe, DOOH has become an indispensable tool for advertising and marketing teams alike. Utilizing localized, high-traffic areas—grocery stores, gas stations, gyms, taxis, office buildings, restaurants, etc.—as well as large-format canvases like billboards, street furniture and urban panels, gives marketers the opportunity to place relevant advertisements in precise, strategic locations without disrupting consumers’ days.
The inventory landscape has changed—with more variety of contextual areas that feature screens, and more national and local scale for even classic inventory such as billboards. And beyond the inventory itself, tech advancements have brought a wealth of precise targeting capabilities to life.
From audience targeting to weather triggers and sports scores, as well as important first-party audience data, data capabilities strengthen a brand’s decisioning power and allow them to rethink how they are using the once-traditional medium to ensure they are showing up in the right times and places when it’s most relevant to their audience.
Another recent major industry advancement simplifies how dynamic creative can be used across the medium. Previously this was a labor-intensive process of working with individual publishers to figure out their capabilities; brands could execute dynamic campaigns, but it was a highly siloed process. Now, by using supply-side platforms like Vistar Media, advertisers can activate dynamic creative across a wide swath of screens seamlessly. For the first time, brands don’t have to choose between scale of inventory vs. dynamic messaging capabilities.
This freedom allows advertisers to alter the wording or positioning of campaigns without creating hundreds of versions of their ads and requiring heavy manual work. Say a finance firm wants to react to the day’s stock forecasting, or a travel company wants to promote its sunny destinations differently on a rainy afternoon, or a retailer wants to boost special deals by store location—all of these can be seamlessly activated as easily as a traditional campaign. This is personalization at scale—unlocking the ability to deploy a message that is extremely relevant to the consumer seeing it and the environment it’s played in.
How OOH delivers for brands
In terms of ROI, out-of-home marketing is no longer just an upper-funnel tactic—it can deliver quantifiable, end-to-end measurement results. The robust solutions that now exist within the space—including brand lift, foot traffic, online conversion or sales lift studies—provide advertisers with a new level of performance capabilities they couldn’t access before. Several metrics are also available now during the campaign flight, making the ability to course-correct or double-down based on real-time data and intel a meaningful value add.
These full-funnel measurement solutions are proving out just how effective DOOH can be for engaging at different stages in a consumer’s journey. DOOH gives advertisers a chance to curate the customer experience and gently move people down the purchase funnel, sometimes within the span of a day. By thinking broadly about how and where to deploy a brand’s out-of-home toolkit, you could (for example) move a drugstore customer from awareness in the morning—perhaps on a billboard or office building during their commute—to conversion at the store that afternoon, on a screen in the check-out aisle literally at the point of purchase.
DOOH is a smart buy in a balanced media budget
DOOH is a seamless extension to a media budget that has a multichannel strategy. Advertisers can run the same audience targeting from online in the real world and then capture devices that are exposed to OOH and retarget online and mobile. They can also repurpose a brand’s creative, like TV or digital video spots, that have already tested effective. A full or partial reuse of imagery and video across a wide variety of DOOH screens allows campaigns to stay on brand, extend existing initiatives, save money and not overtax their creative teams.
Especially now, when people are lusting for actual interactions in the real world—out of their homes—taking advantage of everything DOOH has to offer and meeting consumers where they want to be is a valuable add to any media budget.