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Navigating the evolving OOH landscape – by Hills Advertising’s Sami Al Mufleh

Hills Advertising’s Sami Al Mufleh talks to Campaign Middle East about the changing role of data, targeting and evaluation in outdoor campaigns

By Sami Al Mufleh, CEO, Hills Advertising

How important is measurability in OOH today?

Today’s OOH advertising places a greater emphasis on measurability as marketers and agencies need to prove the value of their campaigns and justify their spending. More methods and tools are now available to gauge the success of OOH ads thanks to the advent of digital and data-driven strategies, including audience measurement technology, digital billboards and foot traffic analysis. Advertisers can improve their messaging and targeting to get better outcomes and a higher return on investment by tracking the reach, frequency and engagement of their campaigns.

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What makes OOH in the region different from the global market?

OOH advertising in the MENA region is unique and differs from the global market in a few key ways:

 Cultural and religious factors: The MENA region has a diverse mix of cultures, religions, and languages, which can affect the types of messages and creative approaches that are appropriate for OOH advertising. Advertisers need to be aware of cultural sensitivities and adapt their campaigns accordingly.

 Media consumption pattern: Compared to other markets, the MENA area places a greater emphasis on OOH advertising. This is because residents of the region spend more time outside of their homes and engage in more outdoor activities. OOH advertising can therefore be more successful at reaching consumers in the MENA region. 

 Regulatory environment: Compared to other markets, the MENA region’s regulatory climate for OOH advertising might be more difficult. There are prohibitions on some forms of advertising, as well as location restrictions. To ensure compliance, advertisers must be aware of regional laws and work closely with regional partners.

Overall, the MENA area offers OOH marketers a distinctive mix of opportunities and problems and it necessitates a bespoke strategy that takes into consideration the cultural, governmental and media consumption elements that set it apart from other markets.

How have your clients’ demands changed over the last few years?

The demands and requirements of customers for outdoor advertising have evolved dramatically over the past few years as a result of a number of factors including technological advancements, changes in consumer behaviour and escalating competition.

 Data-driven targeting: Clients are asking for more accurate targeting and evaluation of their outdoor campaigns, using data to guide decisions regarding the best times and places to post ads as well as to monitor
their efficacy.

 Integration with digital channels: Clients are looking for more seamless integration of their outdoor campaigns with their digital marketing efforts, using techniques such as geofencing and QR codes to connect with consumers and drive engagement.

 Creativity and innovation: With the increasing competition in the outdoor advertising space, clients are looking for more creative and innovative approaches to stand out from the crowd and capture consumers’ attention.

Overall, outdoor advertising clients are seeking more value and impact from their campaigns with a greater emphasis on targeting, integration, creativity and social responsibility. Advertisers need to be agile and responsive to these changing demands to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving market.

What changes do you foresee for the OOH landscape this year?

There are several changes and trends that are likely to impact the OOH advertising landscape this year.

 Digital transformation: The OOH industry is expected to continue its digital transformation with more investment in digital billboards, programmatic buying and data-driven targeting. This will allow advertisers to deliver more relevant and personalised messages to consumers, as well as to measure and optimise campaign performance more effectively.

 Increased focus on privacy and data protection: With the growing concerns around privacy and data protection, the OOH industry is likely to face more scrutiny around how it collects and uses consumer data. Advertisers will need to ensure that they are complying with local regulations and best practices in this area.

 Sustainability and social responsibility: Advertisers are increasingly focused on sustainability and social responsibility, and this trend is expected to continue in the OOH industry. This may include the use of more environmentally friendly materials and practices, as well as a focus on messaging that resonates with consumers around social issues.

 Creative revolution: Advertisers will continue to seek new and innovative ways to engage consumers and capture their attention in a crowded market. This may involve the use of new technologies, such as augmented reality and interactive displays, as well as more creative and engaging messaging.

Overall, the OOH landscape is likely to continue to evolve rapidly in response to changing consumer behaviour, technology and societal trends. Advertisers who stay on top of these changes and adapt their strategies accordingly will be best positioned to succeed in this dynamic and competitive market.