This title is quite a bold statement, what do you mean?
We are pretty sure stakeholders were missing an opportunity to make more out of their OOH investments. The emergence of big data, specifically location data linked to the digital ecosystem today, presents an unprecedented opportunity to spearhead the growth of the OOH industry in a similar fashion to the growth of digital seen in 2005.
The growth of the web was slow and linear in the 90s. It was only after Google introduced Google Analytics in 2005, and the high acceptance and adoption by publishers of a standard analytics body, that the industry progressed exponentially. The introduction of Doubleclick’s DART was even more valuable for business growth to both publishers and advertisers. It initiated trust, transparency, and accountability among stakeholders. Today, the transformation of OOH is no different from digital. It will unquestionably be technology-driven, but through analytics and measurement first. Spatial data science is key to this path.
How do you see this transformation happening in the GCC?
The catalyst for the transformation of OOH media in the GCC will be the democratisation of technology. We have seen this happening in other markets; the adoption of a common technology by all stakeholders happened through organisations like Geopath in the US, Route in the UK, and Move in Australia.
However, building tech solutions to spur this transformation needs to happen in phases:
- The first step is introducing and standardising analytics and understanding basic metrics such as unique reach, impressions and share of voice, in addition to audiences and user behaviours.
- Then comes tracking through proof-of-posting or proof-of-play How and when the creative was installed/ displayed). This will help induce transparency and build trust amongst industry players.
- Next is introducing viewability. What is the probability that the user actually viewed the advertisement?
This transformation will bring OOH closer to digital in the way it is strategised, planned, measured, and bought.
Advertisers will be able, for example, to:
- Decide on the best mix of ad formats, suppliers, and locations to efficiently maximise reach towards their target audience.
- Retarget exposed audiences on OOH to digital channels and establish a two-way communication channel with their audience.
- Buy OOH based on different pricing models such as impressions, opening up opportunities for smaller businesses to be present on OOH.
What is spatial data science? How can it help?
Spatial data science is a branch of data science that deals with the dimension of space. Instead of having, for example, retail sales or product sales figures as your data points, you have coordinates, mobility variation, foot traffic and POIs, amongst many others, as your data points.
Outdoor media is spatial by nature. OOH billboards are distributed to cover specific geographies; they have GPS coordinates and capture the attention of a mobile set of audiences – driving by, walking by, residing nearby, visiting nearby, etc. A deep understanding of mobility and user movement is needed to measure OOH and, at a later stage, plan using regression or predictive modelling.
Tell us a little bit about Seventh Decimal and Streach?
Seventh Decimal is a company that we started in the UAE in 2019. We specialise in building customised technology solutions for different media industry stakeholders. We introduced Streach this year as our first ad-tech solution built around spatial data analysis.
Streach is a planning, tracking, and measurement tool built for the OOH industry along with the efforts of the most forward-thinking leaders in the markets from agencies, brands, and suppliers. Streach provides today full OTS (opportunity to see) measurement such as impressions, reach and SOV, and will be introducing LTS (likelihood to see) metrics by the end of this year.
We launched Streach in Saudi Arabia, underwritten by Al Arabia OOH network. The UAE is next, and we are relying on media stakeholders to demonstrate their willingness to standardise measurement in the market.