What's happening now in OOH?

Tim Sapsford, Managing Director of Meridian Outdoor shares his thoughts on what’s happening in the out-of-home (OOH) space.
At the moment all trends point to digital. The digitisation of OOH is accelerating at pace. New technologies are continually emerging. This year we were told that mobile is quickly outpacing spend at the IAB engage conference. Advertising change is happening, and it’s happening quickly.
Digital OOH (DOOH) is accounting for a greater and greater percentage of infrastructure, largely due to sustained media owner investment. Within planning, in the majority of cases DOOH is still used in conjunction with static outdoor formats to ensure the perfect mix of reach, relevancy and location flexibility. Each format performs different functions: while static formats broadcast a consistent message, providing large cover for a campaign, digital adds a premium or personalised dynamic element.
This year’s theme for dmexco mirrored OOH’s current relationship with digital perfectly, with – ‘digital is everything – not everything is digital.’ Despite digital being key to delivering engaging and targeted campaigns, the rapid progression of digital transformation alongside the new data and technological advancements will be the difference OOH delivers that increasingly connects our always-on consumer.
Alongside the digitisation of OOH, improvements in data, technology and creativity will mean the medium continues to grow and integrate with our increasingly media convergent world for the some of the following reasons.
Technology – A piece of the connected puzzle
As displayed and reported across SXSW and Mobile World Congress this year, the age of the Internet of Things is upon us. Although not at the stage of mass scale productisation, many UK consumers are increasingly adopting wearables, switching on their mobile connectivity and expecting to have their online and offline world seamlessly linked.
Due to this improved ‘digital connectivity,’ the DOOH screen is improving communications with connected objects like mobiles and beacons. These connected objects are not only triggers for digital advertising messages, but they also provide insight and audience behaviour data to improve messaging and targeting of future campaigns.
This in turn is increasing the understanding of consumer behaviours and allowing OOH across the board to offer significantly higher levels of unique targeting and therefore more effective advertising for clients.
Creativity – Dynamic and engaging
Relevancy in OOH is on the rise. Numerous studies have shown that the more relevant and contextual an advertising message is, the more it resonates with an audience. This is particularly true for OOH, where a consumer’s location, state-of-mind and purpose plays an immensely influential role.
Key findings from Theoretical VirtuoCity Research into the effectiveness of the ‘dynamic difference’ showed that using dynamic DOOH to deliver a more contextually relevant message increased: advertising awareness by 18%, recall of the specific creative message by 53% and creative/brand perceptions by 11%.
Dynamic enabling platforms like Liveposter have created the opportunity for creative teams to deliver more contextually relevant OOH content, planned in any location using real time data triggers. Increasingly all campaigns are beginning to use a dynamic element, and I believe dynamic creative will soon become expected by consumers on DOOH screens.
Data – Programmatic, the new kid on the block
The rise of smart scheduling in OOH has seen a range of more targeted campaigns appearing in recent years. Although some programmatic elements such as automated decision making and ad serving are now possible in OOH, the industry still has steps to take until OOH is fully programmatic. For DOOH to become fully programmatic, the transactional element – where delivery, purchase and transaction are linked – will need to be achieved. In order to do this media owner systems will first need to become standardised and become integrated with their booking and finance systems.