How to ensure OOH success in a digital-first world

Digital-first habits from the pandemic are sticking and the game has changed for traditional out of home campaigns. Here’s how to stand out in the digital-first streets.

Reinventing legacy out-of-home ads through DOOH is now essential to reach and engage consumers with new-normal digital habits. John McNerney, Senior Director of Platforms APAC, Yahoo offers three key tips to get the most out of next-gen poster campaigns. 

There’s new life in the streets! Renewed optimism, fewer mobility restrictions, and reopened borders have brought people back outdoors. With more consumers out and about, Out Of Home (OOH) as a one-to-many ad solution has made a confident comeback, offering brands the ability to once again reach different audiences at a given time. A viable platform with high-impact, unskippable screens, OOH ad spend is expected to reach US$28.48 billion in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 11.2%. Asia Pacific is leading the world here, as the largest OOH market in 2021. 

One thing to consider in this revival is the new-normal behaviour — digital-first habits from the pandemic are sticking. Even when consumers are out of their homes, they constantly research reviews and recommendations for products online, even at physical stores—the best deal is a click away. 

While traditionally seen as a standalone channel in the marketing mix, there is an opportunity to elevate the effectiveness of OOH by reimagining it in holistic, omnichannel campaigns through Digital Out of Home (DOOH). Here’s how brands can get the best out of DOOH to connect with always-on consumers:

Harness its potential through an omnichannel mix 

As people step out more, brands need the ability to meet them where they are, inspire them to take action at the right time — and do all of this with a seamless online-to-offline targeting strategy.

The evolution of DOOH now enables marketers to use premium real estate across billboards and store and street signages in more flexible and innovative ways. This goes beyond automated buying. DOOH augments advertising capabilities by allowing marketers to plan and buy outdoor screens alongside all other digital channels — bringing the versatile benefits of the digital landscape to the traditional outdoor space.

They can amplify touchpoints by integrating DOOH into larger omnichannel strategies and campaigns alongside other media channels such as desktop, mobile, audio and XR. 

Yahoo’s DOOH-led campaign with Schroders and Ptarmigan Media in Singapore, for example, was strategised to retarget consumers exposed to DOOH ads on their mobile devices when they’re on the move and desktop screens at home. It successfully closed the loop and converted the typical outdoor-awareness experience into an actionable journey. Users first saw eye-catching, high-impact DOOH ads with creatives that piqued interest. The retargeted ads on their mobile and desktop featured creatives that drove call-to-action and led them to Schroders’ sustainable investing website for more information, all within a few clicks.

The possibilities are endless. Think out of the box, try a mix of media channels, and create a screen for every routine. The massive appeal of DOOH is that it can now also be measured and optimised alongside other digital channels and formats. So the same optimisation strategies come into play — learn, adapt, optimise, and measure.

By unifying the planning, buying, and measurement of DOOH with all other omnichannel strategies through programmatic, marketers can move from a siloed view of the consumer and campaigns to a holistic one. Harness this efficiency across creative, workflow, measurement, and attribution, and truly maximise your working media by optimising channels and creatives to drive the best results against your objectives, whether it is awareness and reach, or conversions and engagements. 

A tip to make it easier for your campaign: utilise a full-stack platform and DSP that allows you to effortlessly manage the omnichannel campaign across the mix of media channels within a single point of access. With a seamless pre-, live-, and post-campaign process, which entails planning, buying, optimisation, measurement, and attribution within a single unified view, marketers can shape the customer journey every step of the way.

Bring in the Math

Leveraging DOOH through programmatic is not about hyper-charged “spray and pray” tactics or hyper targeting. While the legacy of OOH lies in its ability to promote high-impact ads to a broad audience, digitalisation has evolved this capability to serve more dynamic and data-driven creatives that resonate with audiences, allowing brands to find the sweet spot and maximise the power of premium outdoor and indoor real estate.

Utilise enhanced targeting tools and adopt contextual relevance opportunities to create more relevant ads for consumers in the moment — like you’re speaking directly to them. Capabilities such as dayparting allow marketers to turn on and off ads at priority timings. Tools that utilise contextual information such as weather or points of interest can further create highly relevant ads at the right moment — such as serving an ice cream or cold beverage ad on a hot day, for instance. 

Get creative

The OOH medium delivers high impact and results — Yahoo found that 65% of consumers take action after engaging with a digital billboard ad. With large screens in high foot-traffic areas, there is the opportunity to take advantage of all that real estate with attention-grabbing or memorable visuals that strike a chord with audiences.

Marketers already know to optimise creatives based on the screen, but particularly with DOOH, creatives need to be optimised to the location of the screen. If it is a large-format billboard above eye level, ensure your copy is short and attention-grabbing; and if it is a street-level traffic screen, consider something more personalised. In addition, different venue types also give rise to opportunities for further personalisation. For example, the messaging to audiences at the airport might differ from those in the central business district, or at grocery stores.

QR codes are also a great way to bring DOOH screens to life. This can be as simple as QR codes that bring users to a checkout cart or lead them to the nearest store — to bigger undertakings with immersive experiences that bring visuals to life or provide a try-before-you-buy experience. 

Discovery Communications brought an AR shark leaping in front of viewers’ eyes during Shark Week — users just had to point their mobile cameras at a QR code on the DOOH screens; a stunning use of creativity in a DOOH format that piqued users’ interest about the programme.

The world, and its outdoor spaces, is your oyster. Today’s consumers are going places — heading outdoors while maintaining a digital-forward lifestyle. In this climate, DOOH can provide all the flexibility to think omnichannel, leverage enhanced targeting tools and drive contextual relevance, to meet consumers where they are and when it matters.

By John McNerney

Senior Director of Platforms APAC