Past Passive – OOH to DOOH

OOH has traditionally fallen behind when it comes to targeting and measurability, says Publicis Media’s Amer El Hajj. But DOOH? Well, that’s another thing altogether.

AMER EL HAJJ, Chief investment officer, Publicis Media

A recent report by Winterberry, a specialised management consultancy, cites that only 5 per cent of its panellists said out-of-home (OOH) is the best medium suited to driving value in concert with the deployment of other channels. By coincidence, the same percentage is reflected in an IAB UK & PwC 2018 report, showing that OOH billing in the UK is 5 per cent of the total media spend.

Some brands would argue that the time of traditional media is long gone, as it simply cannot compete with the more popular adoption and immersion of digital and social media. I, on the other hand, beg to differ. We are all aware that media agencies and advertisers invested heavily in billboards, hoardings, posters, and other forms of outdoor media a few years back. Digital evolution, rapid development of technology and the rise in popularity of social media has flipped this model
on its head and challenged the medium, disrupting the entire advertising ecosystem.

Advertisers today are going after targeting and measurability. Their plans are an attempt at creating a unified customer journey, bringing together various media channels to seamlessly deliver their messages across multiple touchpoints.

If I am to look beyond consumer devices, PCs, mobile phones, tablets, connected TVs and more, this is where I see a greater role for OOH.  Thanks to technology, traditional OOH media has become digitised and is no longer a passive medium, a follower or a passenger. Digital OOH (DOOH) has changed the face of outdoor advertising, with ads being more dynamic and carrying highly targeted
messaging that captures the target audience at the right time. Additionally, we now see interactive
campaigns connecting with consumers in real time, helping propel OOH to greater growth.

According to an independent study released by Nielsen in 2017, OOH drives online activation. It
motivates consumers to generate activity online, either on search engines or social media each time they encounter an outdoor ad. The same study found: “On average, OOH media generates 26 per cent activation share for search engine engagement alone. And when it comes to engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, these rates are even higher.”

Similarly, another study, by NeuroInsight in 2015, showed that consumers were 48 per cent more likely to click on a mobile ad after they had been exposed to the brand on OOH.

So, how do we get DOOH to unlock the magical world of true omni-channel advertising and be part of the funnel to conversion? Well, for one, we tap into advertisers’ first requirement: targeting and measurability. This is why the main global trend today for OOH and, more specifically, DOOH is programmatic OOH. With DOOH having the capabilities of measuring and reaching target audiences with higher levels of accuracy, it is my opinion that advertisers will start embracing programmatic for OOH advertising.

When this is the trend globally as well as the direction of the international media scene, why is MENA still trailing behind? If our MENA OOH industry is worth almost $1bn, what is holding us back from turning most of our OOH signs into programmatic digital screens, geo-fencing our consumers and targeting them at the right time and at the right moment?

If the industry is scared of the tech giants eating out of their clients’ spend, this is your opportunity to retaliate, contribute and participate in this technological evolution. This is what will increase the OOH market size and reposition this medium to allow it to compete with digital advertising, which represents almost 50 per cent of the MENA market budget in 2019.