Out-of-home advertising is undergoing a massive shift as it adopts digital capabilities, morphing into the channel many now recognize as digital out-of-home, or DOOH. If you visit Times Square, for example, you won’t just see static billboards and kiosks. Instead, you’ll be greeted by a colorful array of digitized screens featuring dynamic, ever-changing messaging.
These screens provide OOH advertisers the opportunity to meld the channel’s large, engaging media formats with the targeting and measurement capacities of digital, so it’s no wonder that the DOOH market is slated to grow by tens of billions of dollars in the coming years.
A key piece of the DOOH puzzle is location data. Let’s take a closer look at where traditional OOH and other digital channels fall short, how location data is helping DOOH solve those pain points and how advertisers can enhance OOH campaigns with location intelligence.
Where traditional OOH and most digital channels fall short
Both traditional OOH and digital advertising channels other than DOOH have shortcomings that DOOH can remedy — and that it’s especially poised to address in the post-COVID era of omnichannel shopping.
With so many consumers sheltering in place during the peak pandemic days, the return on investment in OOH would’ve fallen drastically, leading to an estimated 49% cut in OOH spend during the pandemic, according to the World Federation of Advertisers. Advertisers were forced to adapt and attempt to recoup their losses online. Digital advertising and ecommerce soared.
However, as brands pivoted to highly targeted online advertising and ecommerce took off in a stay-and-shop-at-home environment, new problems arose. Concerns around data privacy and sustainability grew. Ad blockers and new consumer privacy protections led the fight against intrusive advertising. In addition, the ever more crowded online marketplace called into question the efficacy of, say, one-inch mobile ads.
Now, in 2023, online advertising is still important — just not as a standalone. Consumers have jumped back into their pre-pandemic routines. So, advertisers must shift their focus back to physical spaces while maintaining the advantages, such as granular targeting and measurement, that digital affords.
Even in the physical world, ad spend should be based on data-driven insights. And, in 2023, location data could make OOH an unexpected rising star among performance digital channels.
Why location data is changing the face of OOH
Mobility data can be used to identify the geographic position of a device or individual, and with point of interest (POI) data, businesses can determine the proximity of that device or individual to a POI. Mobility data can be collected from smartphones, tablets, laptops and other connected devices (and then anonymized and aggregated to preserve consumer privacy).
Pairing OOH with location data allows advertisers to target specific audiences and project impact by cross-referencing ad buys and mobility data (which shows which audiences are crossing paths with an ad). The format of this channel — big digital signs, not tiny digital ads — can also result in greater brand awareness, generating more memorable impact with individuals and extending beyond the primary target audience.
Mobility and POI data can also be used to simplify the ad buying process. Marketers can apply insights gained from competitive intelligence and consumer research to make decisions about the appropriate market and format for their OOH ads.
How DOOH solves for traditional OOH and digital’s pain points
To understand how DOOH pairs the targeting and measurement capacities of digital with the attention-grabbing power of a large, physical ad format, consider how a retailer selling university apparel could leverage location data for a spring advertising campaign.
Knowing that high school juniors and seniors and their families will be visiting these markets from other cities during the campaign, the retailer’s marketing team could use location data to uncover which hotels visitors tend to stay at, which airports and terminals they fly into and which restaurants they are patronizing in each of their markets. They can also use location data to look for trends in the time and duration of visits to the campus and other POIs in those markets.
With foot traffic and POI insights, the marketing team can pinpoint where and how they reach campus visitors and encourage them to shop at the retailer’s physical or online store. Additionally, if they include specific promotional codes or scannable QR codes with unique UTMs, they could directly track the influx of traffic from their advertisements, in addition to traditional OOH metrics.
In this example, the marketing team could also measure the change in total foot traffic and sales coming into the physical stores for the duration of the campaign. For online sales, the team may ask for first-party data to better understand their customer journey. These all paint a larger picture of the campaign’s success.
Shore up DOOH with high-quality location data
While location data-driven DOOH advertising can enhance marketing campaigns, not all data is created equal. This is especially true when it comes to location data.
In the previous example, let’s say the retailer’s marketing team wanted to target the top 10 highest-rated restaurants in the city. Poor data quality could prevent the marketing team from discovering a competitor directly next to four of those restaurants, resulting in lower engagement and sales (or even driving shoppers to a rival). Inaccurate or out-of-date POI data could also result in the retailer purchasing ad space by a restaurant that was recently closed or that doesn’t fit with the marketing team’s target demographic based on price point.
The solution is to ask a location data provider whether they specialize in the form of location data they’re providing, how they use both machines and humans to verify it and how confident they are in its accuracy. POI data, in particular, is often inaccurate because it comes from poorly regulated open sources or providers that have strong data in developed markets but not overseas, where information is less consistent. Vetting location data sources carefully guards against these inefficiencies.
In sum, DOOH represents the future of omnichannel marketing. With accurate location data, marketers can take their place in the vanguard.
(2023, February 09). Geoff Michener – CEO & Co-Founder, dataplor. Retrieved from https://www.digitalsignagetoday.com/blogs/how-location-data-turns-ooh-into-performance-digital-channel/