​Five out-of-home advertising trends for 2017 (14/12/16)

​Five out-of-home advertising trends for 2017

By the time we reach the end of 2016, out-of-home (OOH) spend is projected to have grown by 4.2% and will rise by 3.8% in 2017.

This has been driven by digital spend forecasts of 17% and 15.8% respectively. What 2017 trends will help facilitate this growth?

1. Live data will change lives

Whilst signage remains static, our audiences do not. Use of big and live data can now illustrate when, where and how our audiences are engaging with their immediate surroundings broken down by day, hour, minute and moment. This has been discussed in theory and trialed over the last couple of years but better connected inventory is now facilitating the integration of data and technology moving it out of the lab and into the playground.

Transport for London recently applied its own first party data sets to run differing creatives triggered by how vehicle drivers were interacting with roadside digital billboards. They created contextual road safety messaging that prompted drivers to slow down when roads were empty and encouraged them not to use their mobile phones whilst stuck in congestion.

Not all clients have access to their own pertinent data, which creates value that can be used by third parties – including mobile. There is a high correlation between the use of mobile and exposure to outdoor advertising. We spend an average of three hours out and about every day (ROUTE), and 75% of UK consumers own a smartphone device (OFCOM). With the IPA's Touchpoints data, we see that OOH is the lead medium for 66% of their day, which correlates well with a truly mobile audience who check their mobile on average more than 80 times a day.

Recognising this synergy between mobile and exposure to OOH advertising, OOH media owners are looking to make use of mobile third party data to help clients shape their campaigns. The barriers of cost and aggregation for personal privacy have created challenges in the application of this data but it still offers the best live mobility data set.

To recap, 2017 will mark a significant increase in the application of mobile data to augment the planning and execution of OOH campaigns.

2. Context will be crowned

OOH has always been able to provide an environment-based contextual framework to deliver pertinent messaging at a time when consumers are most likely to act. After all, a poster outside a convenience store is positioned to influence consumer behaviour in moments of impulsive hunger.

Digital OOH (DOOH) provides an interesting new dynamic and is expected to claim a 40% share of total spend in 2017, up from 31% in 2015.

One driver of this is the continued investment in digital infrastructure that is providing a true economy of scale; meaning more of your desired audience can be reached throughout a host of environments more cost effectively.

A second driver of this growth is brands engaging audiences in real time. Originally coined by Google as 'micro-moments', DOOH is able to activate your message when and where it will be most contextually relevant. It gives brands the edge to create truly bespoke messaging.

The effect this is having for brands is significant. Recent work undertaken by OOH specialist Talon has shown that the key metrics all enjoy a significant uplift when a contextually relevant message is delivered. Talon analysed a number of campaigns between 2013-15 across 20 key measures and found a 30% increase across consideration, awareness and perception metrics; a 44% uplift in action metrics (driving behavioural change), and a 20% uplift in perception and relevance.

OOH media owners are seeing increased digital brand count triggered on a number of variables. This is introducing new advertisers to the medium, as the flexibility and lower cost of entry to serving their adverts at a relevant time and appropriate location provide real benefits. Pre-set conditions for ad serving, dynamic pricing and reduced wastage are testament to the strength of DOOH.

In 2017, contextually focused clients will reap rewards for applying data and adapting creative messaging that are greater than just a trophy of acknowledgment for the cabinet.

3. Brand building gets bigger

OOH has always been at the heart of brand building even through the siren calls of personalisation have dominated marketing focus. However 2017 will trigger a need for the industry to remember what it forgot.

Byron Sharp's thinking on 'how brands grow' suggests that successful growth brands (those with the highest market share) are the ones with universal appeal and the biggest customer base. He argues that it makes sense to advertise to everyone in the market rather than to one small segmented audience whose views are unlikely to change.

Given that a purchaser of their brand may only buy once or twice a year (depending on the industry and product/service being purchased), more companies are now investing heavily in an 'always on' strategy through OOH. OOH reaches 98% of the population weekly and is the perfect vehicle for big, bold messaging to the nation.

Sky, Coca-Cola and AB InBev all provide examples of brands consistently investing more in OOH to ensure mass audience cover that reaches both purchasers of their brand and also builds presence amongst those that are not.

To reflect, 2017 will mark the year that companies generate increased investment in OOH as part of their long-term brand-building strategy.

4. Experience gets more exciting

Rich and rewarding experiences create lasting memories. Communicating physically with your audience through tactile interaction or experiential standee space offers a valuable touchpoint.

As brands compete to stand out with their communications, OOH is providing more opportunities than ever to touch, interact and engage with valuable consumers; helping to bring brands to life in creative and digitally disruptive ways, whether that's at cinema, rail stations, malls or airports, as seen in our recent campaign with World Duty Free and Disney UK at Gatwick Airport.

Digital interactive screens are just one example of delivering hard measurable metrics and collected data. Use of digital interactive touchscreens within the cinema foyer environment can take this effect one step further for some brands with the application of gamification.

For instance, campaigns using game play through a DOOH network deliver impressive results with high levels of personal satisfaction. Clients including Disney and Sky Now TV saw 16% and 8% respectively of all cinema-attending audiences engage and play bespoke D6 interactive gaming content.

In an era when three in four 18-34 year olds value experiences over ownership, 2017 will mark the year that experiential OOH will continue to flourish.

5. Beacons are beckoning

Beacon technology has come a long way in the few short years since it was first launched by Apple in 2013. Now in 2017, we will see this embraced at scale.

Applications have been initiated in a wide variety of environments including retail and sports stadiums across America – where they help the big clubs drive revenue with merchandise and food offers as well as seat upgrades – and closer to home, in infrastructure, with MTR Crossrail, the company operating trains on London's new Elizabeth line, deploying the largest number of beacons for enterprise anywhere in the world.

In marketing, the focus on hyper locality and personalisation when communicating to customers can be facilitated through the use of beacons and the outdoor industry has collaborated to create a marketing beacon network called Presenz. With a common infrastructure and beacons located across taxis, buses, the Underground, cinema and convenience retail, the possibilities for campaign execution are now being realised. Early tests have been encouraging, with Skyscanner publicly reporting positive levels of connection and engagement.

As technical innovation continues with Google's creation of The Physical Web accessed via Eddystone beacons and Apple's increased reliance on Bluetooth for connected devices, marketers will progressively look to unlock the power of beacons. This will require app makers and owners to facilitate the technology and curate user experiences which add value.

The building blocks are now all in place: technology, infrastructure and marketing desire. Beacons have every opportunity to create a new channel which will broadcast personalised communication in precise time and location, augmented with visual, public out-of-home advertising.

This article was originally published in WARC.