Out-of-Home: An Opportunity for Social Media Marketers

By many accounts, social media and out-of-home are among the fastest-growing segments of marketing today. But even the most enlightened of marketing organizations see them as two very different channels.

By many accounts, social media and out-of-home are among the fastest-growing segments of marketing today. But even the most enlightened of marketing organizations see them as two very different channels.

Sure, we have seen social media play a role in recent OOH campaigns. But generally, the disciplines are treated differently, managed by different teams and often budgeted for separately. It’s rare that both capabilities are housed within the same specialist agency.

The opportunity exists for marketers to integrate innovative social media elements into their OOH campaigns to drive deeper engagement and derive increased results from a medium that has traditionally been difficult to measure. For social media marketers, OOH should be seen as a nascent and relatively untapped frontier.

So we know that social media has trickled its way into some OOH campaigns, but the applications to date have been fairly simplistic. A social integration might include live tweets posted onto a billboard in Times Square, for example. OOH has been fighting for years to get people to take pictures, scan, text, call and much more with panels and billboards, with–let’s be honest–very little success.

Recent developments and advances in OOH–such as the ability to design campaigns that integrate mobile, dynamic and interactive technologies, and the availability of mobile data–mean that the social media and OOH channels have the opportunity to become more intertwined and more powerful.

When utilized the right way, social media can increase the performance of OOH, increase engagement, lead to more footfall and generate tons of earned media.

Social marketers just beginning to look at OOH at a new vehicle should consider the following roles that social can take inside OOH campaigns on the future:

Social data to inform location based targeting

Mobile social datasets are enabling audience buying and targeting. The details of these audiences, from both an interest and psychographic standpoint, can be very useful in helping inform content strategies, ensuring that the right message is in front of the right audience in the right location–at the exact right time.

We are now seeing the first mobile social datasets emerge that offer geolocation data with a proximity down to 100 yards. The close proximity is perfect for OOH and allows us to actually target very granular segmented audiences.

Seed engagement in OOH by use of social

Historically, OOH has been a broadcast medium, a creative playground for marketers and a vehicle for amazing stunts and one-offs that create word-of-mouth and earned media. Truth be told, however, true engagement has been elusive.

Social media has the capacity to change all of that by serving as an engagement funnel for location marketing, helping to amplify campaigns.

A great example of this is the social media driven engagement campaign by Curry’s PC World in the U.K., where social was used to create engagement with the audience and OOH was the platform that delivered unique experiences, while also delivering coverage. The result when intertwining channels like this is generation of a ton of earned media. What started in social, moved into the physical world in OOH and came back to social as earned media.

Increase performance of OOH

There has been a tech revolution in the OOH space in the past two to three years, and the rise of dynamic delivery of campaigns is transforming the industry. These capabilities come in handy when targeting multiple segments (which most campaigns do).

Online, digital and social campaigns have been delivered by use of sophisticated data triggers and based on audiences for years. Those same metrics are being used in the OOH industry now, which essentially means that the social media strategy of any marketer now can be moved into the physical world.

Inform content strategy

We know that human attention spans have decreased (goldfish actually have greater attention spans than humans now), especially since 2007 and 2008 with the rapid growth of social and digital media.

We consume increasingly more impressions every day–and at a higher pace–so if we are not being relevant to the audience and the context in which our impressions are served, we will be ignored.

Interests trending in Brooklyn right now are not always the same as in the Bronx, Lower Manhattan, upstate, etc. With rich social data at hand, we can actually become hyperlocal and serve content that relates to what people in defined locations are talking about, or what is trending digitally in those local areas.

For social media specialists, location marketing is the next frontier–an opportunity to bring concepts, ideas and trends into the real world and create genuine interaction with your audience while driving earned media and, what everyone is after, measurable and impactful returns on the marketing investment.

Kenneth Brinkmann is the senior vice president of digital at out-of-home advertising agency Posterscope USA.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.