Out-of-home advertising revenue achieved a historic high in 2016, up 3.1 percent versus the prior year, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
Recently, the OOH industry has been bolstered by major investments from a sector that many may not expect—technology.
In fact, approximately 25 percent of the top 100 spenders in the category are tech companies like Apple, Google, Snapchat and Facebook.
To people familiar with the industry, the growth of investment in this sector is not surprising. The entire OOH industry is in the midst of an exciting transformation, integrating new technologies and leveraging data in unique ways that were impossible in the past.
While OOH is the oldest form of advertising, it is anything but traditional.
The ability to tap into anonymous information about the movement of people as they move about their days empowers OOH to get the most out of every advertising dollar. In fact, OOH is able to utilize data on a level playing field with PC and mobile advertisements. Geolocation data is currently being integrated into campaign planning, measurement and outcomes in a variety of ways:
- Audience targeting: OOH is moving far beyond standard demographics. Through the use of data harnessed from mobile devices, surveys and purchase data, the industry is able to understand what people are buying, the types of retail locations they are visiting, the mobile applications they are installing and what they love to do in their spare time. Layering where they move throughout the day on top of that robust behavioral information allows OOH to target the right people at the right time in the right location.
- Creative optimization: By understanding more about the type of people who are likely to intersect with an advertisement, advertisers can better cater their ads to the targets. With the proliferation of networked digital screens throughout the ecosystem, advertisers are instantly triggering changes in creative based on a variety of inputs such as search queries, weather, traffic volume and social network posts.
- Currency: The industry made a significant investment in the development of a robust, granular, mobile-data-based currency solution through Geopath. This currency provides the same measures that other channels are familiar with—impressions, reach, frequency—for more than 1 million pieces of inventory across the U.S., providing hourly, daily and weekly data for over 6,000 different demographic and behavioral targets.
- Attribution: Utilizing device-level information, advertisers can understand if an individual was exposed to an OOH advertisement that led to a desired outcome. Did the consumer visit a retail location? Did they make a purchase? Did they tune into a television program for the first time? Did they download a mobile app? Did the ad change their perception of the brand? All of these questions can now be answered on behalf of OOH advertisers.
- Mobile retargeting: Mobile and OOH advertising are working together in new and exciting ways. Advertisers are able to identify devices that have been exposed to OOH ads and then retarget those devices with mobile ads at a later time or when those mobile devices enter desired locations.
While many may think that advertisers in the tech sector are drawn only to digital OOH, a significant amount of their investment is in printed OOH.
Apple’s “Shot on an iPhone” campaign ran across the country with beautiful still images taken by everyday people. Snapchat ran a highly impactful static campaign featuring the iconic yellow background and Snapchat ghost. Twitter effectively placed hashtags next to recognizable news images on OOH inventory across the country, creating a campaign that was able to tell a story completely without words.
Whether the OOH inventory is digital or printed, the tech sector is drawn to the medium. It is big. It is bold. It is unblockable. And when done well, it can also be a work of art.
Kym Frank is president of Geopath, originally the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, a nonprofit organization governed by a tripartite board comprised of advertisers, agencies and media companies.