How OOH Might Be the Missing Link for Retail Brands This Holiday Season

Out-of-home can round out a strategy

Using OOH will help round out an advertising campaign, especially during the busy holiday season. Getty Images

Heading into the busy holiday shopping season, retail brands need to understand every step of the customer journey along the path to purchase. Increasingly, retailers are focusing on both context and conversation-driven marketing to better engage with consumers in the moment and drive them into stores.

For retailers, out-of-home media is one of the strongest drivers of store foot traffic and conversion. While outdoor advertising has always been a part of marketing mix for retailers, the reality is the medium has been underutilized to date, primarily because OOH was difficult to measure and considered non-transactional (given the long lead times and static nature of the format).

According to a recent report conducted by Omnicom Media Group’s Benchmarking, when OOH is incorporated into the media mix, the effectiveness of digital search increases by more than 40 percent. OOH also delivers the highest ROI of any media format, with a $5.97 return for every $1.00 spent.

Here are four ways retailers can leverage OOH and digital OOH to improve customer engagement, consideration and sales.

When OOH is incorporated into the media mix, the effectiveness of digital search increases by more than 40 percent.

Leverage OOH as a competitor-free white space to drive awareness and differentiation

Today, retailers spend an average of 4.5 percent of their total media budget on OOH. Omnicom’s report suggests retailers who want to achieve higher consumer purchase intent should be spending a minimum of 13 percent of their media budget on OOH. In line with this, the most successful retailers using OOH are leveraging the medium to drive both brand awareness and product transactions.

If you’re a brand marketer or retailer, evaluate your current out-of-home advertising spend and consider increasing your budget allocation, especially if you’re looking to create competitive advantage and take market share.

Understand consumer behaviors to better target and measure campaigns 

Through geolocation and mobile data, OOH now provides critical insights into the customer journey. Retailers can see exactly when, where and how often consumers are exposed to OOH ads, allowing them to deliver smarter integrated campaigns.

Retailers can now utilize the same level of audience targeting data they apply to digital campaigns to the media in the physical world. This not only helps to determine which customer segments to target, but also insights into the specific behaviors and locations potential customers frequent.

Sixty-eight percent of mobile use happens on the go, and 70 percent of a consumer’s day is spent outside the home. Measuring key performance indicators tied to specific real-world locations provides retailers with stronger insights into customer behavior and movements to optimize their campaigns. Retailers should audit their existing data sources for key indicators of customer behavior to target consumers where and when they will be most receptive. 

Pair OOH with mobile and search to better engage local shoppers

Today, 60 percent of all search takes place on a mobile device, with location and proximity playing a more important role than ever for retailers. Mobile searches with the words “near me” have increased threefold in the last two years, and nearly 80 percent of these consumers are transactional, suggesting they would shop in a nearby store.

When retailers build campaigns combining mobile and OOH, they reach consumers at the optimal times and locations with specific messages, which can lead to immediate consumer action. In addition to OOH increasing digital search by more than 40 percent when included in-campaign, consumers are 48 percent more likely to click on a mobile ad after being exposed to the same ad on OOH first.

Brand marketers and retailers should think creatively about context, time, location and message with an intention to maximize value driven messaging in the OOH channel.  

Optimize digital OOH to drive transactions

In today’s internet of things, digital OOH can be a powerful ally to help retailers drive sales at the point of purchase. The flexibility of digital OOH screens not only allows advertisers to change creative based on triggers such as time of day, traffic patterns or weather but also product availability.

By connecting point of purchase systems via APIs to digital OOH screens, retailers can maximize sales potential and improve inventory management while also creating dynamic product promotions, updated in real-time with the right message and targeted offer for that moment. Google reports that showing what’s in stock at nearby stores can drive an 80 percent higher rate of incremental store visits.

Retailers looking to convert advertising into sales must critically look at their media mix and identify where they can make adjustments to drive impact. As OOH continues to evolve, retail brands have more opportunity than ever to deliver smart, hyper-targeted campaigns to attract purchase-ready consumers.

@dkruppp David Krupp is president and chief operating officer of Billups.