OOH Industry Snapshot by Wissam Traboulsi

by Wissam Traboulsi, MD, Blue Shield Advertising.

What are the biggest challenges facing the UAE OOH industry at the moment?
OOH is strong and growing, but there is a disconnection between the business and the brand. Too many
advertisers think of OOH as a non-core, secondary medium. Compared with other advertising, OOH is often planned ‘below the line’.
There are a number of perceptions that are holding OOH back. The number one job is to address these perceptions, make improvements where and when needed, and reshape this conversation so that advertisers and agencies think and act differently about OOH.

What are the biggest changes you are seeing?
We’re seeing some positive changes that are moving the industry forward. To mention a few: ubiquitous, impactful, and contextually relevant OOH formats; new digital technologies that allow the industry to react in real time; interactive convergence and smart device amplification; high impact creative executions; increased measurability with OOH ratings; improved business practices that make the medium easier to buy.

What are advertisers asking for?
The digital space has a great impact on advertisers’ demands nowadays. Advertisers are now demanding instantaneity, accuracy, flexibility, ROI and viral effect – and they are looking for greater flexibility when it comes to short-term planning and last-minute decision making.

How do you expect to see the industry evolve over the next year?
Due to several factors, including the significantly lower cost to produce LED screens, the number of digital screens will increase gradually.
Beacon adoption will grow, focused on analytics. Smart marketers will utilise Bluetooth low-energy devices (beacons) for data collection to gain a better understanding of their customers’ inistore behaviour. Large retailers are planning to roll out beacons across their network of stores; this provides a wealth of valuable data such as popular products and aisles, with the ability to track store promotions right to the register.