What are the biggest challenges facing the UAE OOH industry at the moment?
There are currently general headwinds across many sectors in the UAE. Especially hard-hit are the retail and F&B industries. As a result, ad budgets are being heavily scrutinised, and in many cases significantly reduced. Ensuring clients continue to receive increasing value from your channel is essential to dealing with these challenges.
What effect will technology have on the OOH market?
Traditionally, out-of-home has been considered a brand-awareness medium. However, with the help of technology this perception is being changed. Technology is providing the industry with audience data and measurement tools, contextualised content capabilities and actionable conversion tactics. In addition, programmatic (D)OOH is automating the creation, transaction, placement and optimisation of advertising – in much the same way as online campaigns are. Altogether, this is transforming how brands, agencies and suppliers are doing business together.
What are the biggest changes you are seeing?
One of the more noticeable changes is the conversion of static billboards to digital screens. However, the most significant changes, not necessarily seen by the naked eye, are those driven by technology. With these technologies maturing and becoming more widely utilised, we’re seeing the entire industry experience rapid transformation. Contextualised content is becoming more prevalent as well. The evolution of content creation and delivery in this new era of digital screens is creating exciting opportunities for brands to truly harness the medium and evolve their story and message throughout the course of a single campaign.
However, for brands to benefit from these changes, long-term commitment is required with focus and energy dedicated to producing OOH content at the scale and pace required to drive impact and provide meaningful results. Understanding the various measurement and deployment tools at their disposal, specialised DOOH creative agencies are achieving outstanding results for their brand clients. Contextualised content will continue to see massive growth in the year ahead. Once most of the tech currently being deployed is ‘fully baked’ and has reached critical mass, it will allow the creative production process to dovetail nicely into what will be more creative and tech-driven out-of-home campaigns.
What are advertisers asking for?
First and foremost, they are asking for more audience data and measurability. Apart from this, there is consistent interest in automated booking and planning processes, and creative ways and opportunities to convert consumers in real time.
How do you expect to see the industry to evolve over the next year?
There’s a lot of work to do in terms of standardising and creating best practices with respect to programmatic in DOOH, and we’ll continue to see this evolve in the year ahead. Additionally, the various audience data and measurement tools, coupled with retargeting strategies, will begin to mature and become more prevalent next year. As these technologies become more robust, OOH suppliers will continue to invest more resources in implementing and cementing these solutions across their portfolios of assets. Connecting mobile to DOOH displays is still in its infancy but will eventually succeed in closing the advertising loop, while in the process compressing the funnel from “awareness” to “action”. This will lead to the convergence of all three technologies (programmatic, audience data and connectivity to mobile), creating a trifecta of optimisation – once again making out-of-home the go-to medium for brands.