FeaturedMediaPartner contentSpecial Feature

OOH industry snapshot: Saeed Alshamsi, lifeonscreen

Saeed Alshamsi is managing partner of lifeonscreen [Partner content]

What are the biggest challenges facing the UAE OOH industry at the moment?

We believe that the main challenge the industry is facing is that it is still full of analogue options, which means any small mistake in or changes to the creative requires additional costs borne by the advertiser. A lack of digitalisation also means there aren’t a lot of things that advertisers can measure natively. At best, they receive a guesstimation of impressions.

The other challenge is the fact that today’s consumer wants to see ads tailored to their interests. Due to the limitations to customisation of analogue OOH such as hoardings and billboards, the campaign fails to reach different target audiences.

What are advertisers asking for?

Advertisers want great value for their money and demand measurable ROIs. For a while, this has been one of the biggest challenges in outdoor advertising, because marketing managers are no longer satisfied with impressions. However, technology and embracing omnichannel advertising in the OOH industry have made it easier to bridge this gap and provide better metrics as well as actual ROIs.

What are the biggest changes you are seeing?

Today’s consumer is very sensitive and it is important to find the balance between capturing their attention in less than 3 seconds and avoiding offending them or invading their privacy. This, coupled with recent regulations protecting consumers, such as GDPR, create a challenge when using technology to target consumers. With its new, sophisticated visual sensor, lifeonscreen will enhance targeting of audiences by offering important metrics for advertisers without infringing on privacy.

How do you expect to see the industry evolve in the near future?

New technologies are always game-changers in any industry. No matter what industry or technology, they all share the same formula: ease of usage, accessibility, and flexibility for the user. The OOH industry is no different. Advertisers expect to have access to a platform where they can book screens, upload their creative executions and process the payment and measure the results.

But, with great technology comes great responsibility. We can’t mention data without mentioning privacy. Capturing and sharing consumers’ data without their consent is generally dishonest and illegal in some jurisdictions. Yet data is what the new technology brings to the table. Advertisers today want to calculate a campaign’s ROI, which means measuring the number of consumers who saw the campaign and made a purchase. On top of that, TVs and LED screens have become more affordable, and with our technology they can be transformed into an advertising space easily, which means more options for advertisers to choose from.

So we believe that in the next couple of years the focus will be on finding the right balance between sharing data that will help advertisers measure their ROIs and protecting the privacy of the consumers.

What effect will technology have on the OOH market?

The technologies and programmatic solutions that lifeonscreen will introduce in the first quarter of 2020 will revolutionise the industry and will help advertisers deliver their message to the right consumer in the right place at the right time.

The best part is that advertisers will be able to track and measure the results of their campaigns
in real time. Not to mention that it will be very affordable compared with the analogue outdoor advertising available.

The visual sensor will provide detailed metrics such as exact reach and demographics, as well as eye-tracking data for each ad. This will ensure that advertisers have better information to measure their ROI and tailor future ads accordingly.