Why digital out-of-home is an essential force in today's media mix

As posters go programmatic, it’s brands’ time to shine in this undervalued yet constantly overdelivering channel.

Sophie Pemberton, Group Chief Strategy Officer at Talon Outdoor, explores the transformation in the OOH and how the secto’s  shift to a programmatic focused industry fully cementing in the coming years.

Broadcast TV  has been a hot topic in the industry of late. There’s been a lot of discussion about its impact in the modern media mix, especially after recent reports, such as the one from Ofcom, suggesting that the under-24s watch seven times less broadcast TV than the over 65s, and two-thirds less than they did 10 years ago. Has TV lost its impact for advertisers? As someone who works in advertising, albeit, in Out-of-Home (OOH), I think we may be jumping the gun a bit.

Broadcast TV has been around for a long time. The BBC and Channel 4, both celebrating their 100th and 40th anniversaries this year. The TV landscape has changed significantly in this time, and so are viewing habits. But take a look around the office, or on Twitter, and you’ll find many Brits are still avidly discussing the latest Great British Bake Off results, thoughts on (spoiler) David Tennant making a surprise return to Dr Who, or the fact that Matt Hancock has entered the jungle in ITV's upcoming I'm a Celebrity, and how the nation can’t wait to tune in and put him up for Bushtucker trials. 

TV remains influential and continues to be an important part of the media mix. But consumption habits have evolved, and now, post-pandemic, our lives are lived even more ‘on the move’. It’s time to place investment in other channels - such as OOH -  that can work to complement the impact TV has on audiences, especially those hard-to-reach youth demographics. 

The powerful impact of out-of-home

OOH has consistently proven itself both in terms of effective reach and targeting, yet it is still criminally underestimated. How can that be, when data from OMG UK predicts that by 2025, despite shifts in audience consumption, OOH will maintain a 100% reach, while many other channels will experience a drop. It’s not hard to see why. OOH is a constant companion to each and every one of us – no matter what demographic or audience segment we fit into - as we go about our daily business, from the moment we leave the house in the morning, until we lock the door behind us at night. 

So much more than a billboard or a bus stop, the OOH industry has undergone a transformation as rapid and dramatic as any digital platform. The channel now brings together elements of the best of digital and traditional media – a platform with the potential for mass reach and impact with the technology to be highly targeted and responsive. 

And it can work hand-in-hand with other channels too, like social media. Creative examples include our work with the BBC earlier this year to announce the previously secret broadcast date of the final season of Peaky Blinders. We worked with street artist, Akse, to unveil a 42ft tall mural of the show’s patriarch Tommy Shelby, in his hometown of Birmingham. The mural gained enormous traction online - reaching global audiences and gaining over 2.7 million views and over 802,000 likes.

Harnessing the digital opportunities

Today, OOH can behave in much the same way as any other digital channel with technological capabilities and audience intelligence to rival any other medium. A platform like Talon’s Atlas is the only DSP in the market which offers 2 choices for activation, RTB or Open Direct, is designed to plug directly into publisher inventory and has a proprietary DMP. That means we’re able to offer multiple routes to market with bespoke audience targeting depending on what is best for the brief and what will generate the best outcome for the client.

This year, by optimising campaigns towards valuable audiences and having the ability to select the right route to market, on average we’ve been able to reach 57% more of the right people which has in turn generated huge value and efficiencies for our clients. Even those campaigns under the £50k mark which represent a significant part of our business have seen value gains of up to £15,000. This in turn has an impact on campaign performance - programmatic OOH is 2x more likely to drive Brand Preference, and 3x stronger uplifts in Purchase Intent versus Social Media and these stats have increased year on year because we are always learning and improving our platforms.

Not enough client-side marketers or agency planners really understand the potential of OOH today, there is a huge amount more education to be done. By approaching OOH from a programmatic standpoint, you’re not just automating the process of buying media across a hugely varied estate, you are tailoring it to location, time and audience. And beyond just planning for high traffic on a Monday morning, for example, or a student audience on a Thursday evening, real time bidding lets advertisers react to key moments, identifying audiences using location-based services and picking up on a series of key signals that enhance engagement and drive real sales. This will be increasingly important and appealing moving into 2023 as advertiser budgets are constantly in flux.

From a myriad of new formats allowing creativity to run riot, to enhanced data that will drive highly-targeted campaigns, OOH is breaking boundaries, reaching consumers in their new viewing environments and creating a truly potent media mix. It’s brands’ time to shine in this undervalued yet constantly overdelivering channel.

By Sophie Pemberton

Group Chief Strategy Officer

Talon Outdoor