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Digitalising Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s largest in-mall media supplier, Wave Media, has upgraded its network. Unprecedented ROI capabilities, synchronisation and online monitoring are among the benefits it offers

Digitalising Saudi Arabian out-of-home media house Wave Media has just completed a one-year-long overhaul of its in-mall network, turning 90 per cent of its screens digital. The kingdom’s leading operator of in-mall signage now has more than 25,000 faces, located in more than 50 malls in more than 30 cities throughout the country. One third of the Saudi population, 11 million people, see Wave’s media every month.

The firm’s name couldn’t be more appropriate. Wave was created in 2017 as a wave of change began to sweep the kingdom. Wave Media is a joint venture between two media giants who have been pioneers in OOH media. Both companies seized the opportunity to create an in-mall channel under Wave as a sole player in the market with high credibility and reach.

The digitalisation of mall signage has been a major investment for Wave, involving research and development in-house and with partners, as well as the acquisition of software and hardware. The digital screens have many advantages over ‘traditional’ printed out-of-home advertising for all stakeholders: clients, the public, mall owners and Wave itself. The hardware alone has been a major investment for Wave, with more than 3,000 metres of mega screens and 12,000 Smart Digital Mupis (SDMs) installed in malls. However, over time the cost savings on operations are immense. Rayyan Jamjoom, Wave Media’s chief commercial officer, offers an example: “In Jeddah the Red Sea Mall has about 125 digital screens. Imagine sending an operations team every two weeks to change 125 visuals.”

The ease with which digital screens can be updated, compared with traditional signage, also means that clients can change their ads at a speed that was previously unthinkable. Jamjoom name-checks two clients who have used this ability to their advantage: Google and Nahdi pharmacy. US search engine Google ran multiple creatives for its “Ask Google” campaign, changing them several times a minute on Wave’s SDM network to effectively multiply the messaging that mall visitors saw. And pharmacy chain Nahdi celebrated 30 years in business with 30 different creatives that it changed across 2,000 screens daily for a month.

Rayyan Jamjoom, Chief Commercial Officer, Wave Media

Once artworks have been loaded into the system (a simple process that Wave can do at the start of a campaign), it only takes one keystroke to update thousands of faces, says Jamjoom. “You just press a button and it’s done. It takes up to 30 minutes to upload on all visuals,” he says.

Clients can then do their due diligence and audit the placement of their advertising through Wave’s proprietary dashboard. While clients once had no choice but to send staff to manually check if the faces they had bought were showing their ads correctly, now they can do this from their computer.

Jamjoom says: “We are proud that Wave Media is the first out-of-home company in the Middle East to have ROI capabilities to measure audiences in real-time.” He gives a hypothetical example of an FMCG brand that pays for a network of 600 SDMs: “Imagine, before they would send people to check 600 faces. So what we do – to simplify and to make sure that everything is on track and everything is digitalised – is we send them a link to monitor the campaign directly from their offices. From their side they can check all their faces from their desktop. They can select the mall, they can select the screen and they can see from their computer what is on that screen right now.” The link expires when the campaign is over. Clients also receive a comprehensive post-campaign report.

It is not only advertisers that benefit from easier updating of screens, and consumers who are treated to more imaginative and varied campaigns; malls benefit from the reduced clutter, as one screen can run up to five ads at the same time, cycling between them and showing each visual for 10 seconds.

Synchronisation of screens is one of Wave Media’s major selling points. When a consumer sees a line of SDMs ahead of them in a mall corridor, all those screens will show the same campaign. When the artwork on one screen changes, all screens change at the same time, leading to a more visually consistent experience for the shopper and more targeted messaging for the advertiser.

Wave Media has divided its in-mall faces into networks. Each network is in turn broken down into circuits of at least 60 faces each. Within each mall the screens are divided into zones.

“For example, if we have an FMCG product, we will upload their campaigns from every entrance to reach the hypermarket zones,” says Jamjoom. “The mall zones have helped us tremendously in content management, which leads to 100 per cent synchronisation and a higher opportunity to see.”

The circuits and zones have been optimised by Wave using research, mapping technology and industry experience, and provide advertisers with off-the-shelf solutions that make planning a lot easier. Wave can also provide bespoke networks for clients with specialised targeting requirements.

The malls themselves were studied and mapped before Wave installed its screens. Beacon technology was used, which can monitor the movement of consumers through shopping centres using mobile phone data. This means that each screen is placed in the optimal position for best visibility.

Beacon Technology – How it works
Beacon technology is capable of tracking consumers in real-time and driving even more enhanced campaigns. As a customer passes, their mobile device is recognised by sensors within an SDM, which constantly scans for wifi signals. The mupi collects the phone’s unique wifi and Bluetooth MAC address, along with a timestamp and the strength of the device’s wifi signal.

This data is then processed on Wave’s cloud servers using technology that include artificial intelligence software. The data can be monitored and analysed on Wave’s Media Analytics portal. Wave’s technology can give insights such as new vs. loyal shoppers, dwell time, frequency and reach. Wave is constantly developing its network to build on and make the most of these capabilities. As regulations are updated, advertisers will soon be able to target clients passing their ads with personalised pop-up push-messaging and more.

The next big thing from Wave will be the opportunity to advertise at stations on the Haramain high-speed railway, which runs between Mecca, Jeddah, KAEC and Medina.

Advertisers looking for high-tech reach, effectiveness, measurement and more will soon be surfing the Wave in even more locations across the kingdom.

For more details, visit http://www.wavemediasa.com