The World’s Oldest New Media

New technologies are allowing OOH stakeholders to do more with their data, writes UM’s Hatem Fakih. Just don’t make those ads too localised

Hatem Fakih, Regional Planning Excellence Director, UM

During the evolution of data usage over the past few years, most marketers have reserved a seat on the bus. Their destination? Leveraged multiple-source data sets to enhance their audience segmentation and discover new market potential, where the data is driving the wheels fast enough to change the whole approach of how we plan and buy OOH.

The usage of data has changed the way we define and use media metrics across all media platforms, especially the traditional media consumed in the region, where new-era advertisers are demanding more accurate planning without wastage in order to justify the budgets spent on different marketing campaigns and on delivering the right message at the right time and place.

Out-of-home advertising, which is described as the “the world’s oldest advertising medium”, offers fast, effective reach of national audience – second only to TV. It is part of this data evolution in the region and, despite the claims that OOH is thriving in the digital era, there has been more change in the past five years than the previous 50. We are witnessing the rise of DOOH (digital out-of-home), which allows a personal and direct interaction with individuals and works like magic in places
where consumers dwell.

It has become the norm today that location services are part of everything we do – from commuting to locating outlets. This has allowed new technologies to process this data to reshape the understanding of audience locations in and around the OOH space. These technologies and the improved audience metrics are paving the way for programmatic trading of OOH audience, where the ads can be displayed at certain times a day, or different promotions can run in different locations,
which leads to a more targeted and diversified message, delivering a unique communication opportunity.

We have seen such development happening in Saudi malls, street signs across the region, business complexes and entertainment areas where media suppliers have introduced digital solutions, leading to a huge shift from static advertising to deliver on different messages across different areas. A more
personalised offering can be achieved. Research by Kinetic found that broader, regional localisation was more effective than copy at street level. By leveraging a “targeted broadcast” with regionalised copy, some clients showed an 8 per cent boost in sales for their stores in proximity to the regional OOH adverts. By contrast, the hyper-localised adverts boosted sales by 1 per cent , which leads us to a  very essential understanding that understanding the location can be used to create a cross-channel experience for consumers while serving them relevant content in sequence, leading to amplify the impact of the brand message.

So what does this mean for us as media planners and media agencies? The combination of these  multiple sources of data, audience measurement and DOOH inventory has stimulated the development of campaign measurement systems by both OOH owners and media agencies to make the management of campaigns much easier. They mean stakeholders are able to track results and map them with brands’ sales data to enhance the development of OOH as a medium. These systems are essential for future OOH campaign management by agencies and media owners. They fall under three categories:
• Planning tools (for media agencies, with audience segmentation based on the data collected);
• Execution and delivery (helping buyers getting the right screens);
• Transactional tools (such as admanagement of inventory between agencies and media owners).

This will lead us into kind of a programmatic OOH planning and trading. But such a development is an unsystematic partial measure taken over a period of time by media owners and markets. Most likely
peers will follow the big players, as JCDecaux signaled in 2018, to launch a platform to integrate planning and buying. With Google and Facebook taking 80-90 per cent of incremental ad spend,
the OOH trend towards automation and consolidation will make the planning and the buying of the DOOH easier and help capture a share of digital budgets.

The future of OOH/DOOH and mobile advertising is evolving at speed, with the rapid increase of DOOH screens seen across the roadsides, retail destinations and transport and airport terminals, where all of these are powered by technology, allowing integration with technology and contextual
messaging based on available data.

Leveraging multiple-source data sets and integrating them into new media solutions means the oldest medium in the world is getting more powerful and versatile than ever, giving huge opportunities for planners and advertisers and also allowing for a more creative approach to deliver on the geopath of the consumer journey.