OOH Guide 2023: More than just a face – by Equation’s Neha D‘souza

Equation’s Neha D’souza examines how mobile integration with OOH has helped brands and advertisers go beyond location and visuals

By Neha D’souza, media director at Equation Media Dubai

Although it is one of the oldest forms of modern-day advertising, out-of-home media has been going through its fair share of transformation. While Google recently introduced OOH inventory through DV360, helping advertisers better plan campaigns and deploy them (even at a global scale), a big part of the challenges we face remain: measurement and standing out among the clutter.

A simple drive around town indicates easily how much we are bombarded with outdoor ads, some that are barely readable, others creative enough to have an impact. Yet our exposure does not stop there. From street ads (large and small formats) to formats that offer better access for interaction (such as ads in malls, in public transportation or even in elevators), the biggest form of tech transformation is not coming in the shape of automation, or in converting once-printed visuals into LED screens. The biggest transformation sits in the hands of individuals, in the shape of a mobile device that is allowing brands and advertisers to go beyond the placement of an ad, and go beyond what the visual can offer.

Brands are continuously striving to improve and enhance how to connect with consumers, how they can deliver more impactful brand experiences, and how they can build relevancy in communication in order to have more meaningful relations. Doing so requires an ability to have real-time actionable data, as well as some form of interaction, both of which are achieved through smartphones. 

Access to data has enabled us to have a better understanding of who the audiences are that are being exposed to the ads, and what their interests are. This can take us further by being able to retarget individuals that have seen the ad with mobile targeted ads that are hyper-personalised and can drive action as opposed to just being seen on a speedy drive by a street location. This has allowed us also to expand an outdoor campaign from simply the location in which it is present to being able to enter people’s homes and deliver a more customised message to a targeted audience versus the one-size-fits-all that outdoor media offers. Accordingly, we perceive a much-heightened performance metric versus when each medium is being deployed in a silo. 

Secondly, interaction, is also enabled when deploying commercials on formats that have users exposed while on foot. From QR codes to augmented reality, individuals are able to engage with out-of-home formats more than ever. Add in social media platforms and a sharing aspec and this can also turn consumers into advocates who spread a brand story online. This interaction also relays real-time data and understanding of how a medium and a message is performing. The augmentation of an ad can take a visual and creative message beyond the format to which it is confined and deliver a much more immersive experience that brings users into the world of the brand in a personalised manner. 

The transformation of the out-of-home industry (in shape and form), coupled with an ever-growing usage of smartphones, is pushing us advertisers to relook into how best to accompany consumers on their journey to purchase, how best to use real-time data that is actionable, and how to optimise the investment and integration of all media together to create a seamless journey that immerses individuals in a differentiated brand experience.