Is 2019 the Year for Digital Out-Of-Home?

Opinion and Insight 11 Add to collection
Jeremy Taylor, managing partner at DOOH looks at how digital out of home will impact advertising in the year ahead
Is 2019 the Year for Digital Out-Of-Home?

As much as digital out-of-home continues to grow exponentially as a market, the general perception - outside of the DOOH community anyway -seems to remain that the primary advantage of digital screens over posters is they don’t need peeling away after a fortnight.

The reality is that DOOH and traditional posters are about as similar as a notepad and an iPad. They might be the same sort of shape and we certainly see them in all the same places, but they work in very different ways. In spite of this, the vast majority of DOOH advertisers in 2018 used a single creative across every screen on their media plan for a standard two-week period.

In the years that have passed since Nike ran their groundbreaking dynamic 'Write the Future' campaign back in 2010, we’ve seen a steady stream of smart, reactive and data-powered campaigns. There are now countless examples of what can be achieved when DOOH screens are viewed in the same light as a web page. Still though, the overall uptake remains less than 10%; surely a criminal underuse of the technology available, but why?The primary reason for this conundrum is that any sort of dynamic automation on DOOH is still perceived as complicated, costly and time-consuming. This is why remains focused on a message of simplification, standardisation and driving cost efficiencies at scale. 

That’s not to say it don’t love the stand-out, innovative 'Wow, that’s f**king clever' type campaigns which excite brands and audiences alike; fantastic for showcasing creativity and highlighting the incredible capabilities of the medium. Unfortunately though, they’re also usually seen as inspirational or ‘nice to have’, and often lead to the all-too-familiar push-backs of “well we haven’t the budget for that sort of thing” or “that’s awesome, but we don’t need it because we’re only trying to sell more packets of… whatever”.

Tackling this perception will enable the industry to usher in an age of true synergy with other digital media channels. DOOH must continue to evangelise about the power of context and show beyond any doubt the role it has to play in even the most traditional of ad campaigns, not just the clever, sexy ones. Hence DOOH's mission is to demystify the process of delivering smarter digital OOH ads. To be clear though, ‘smarter’ doesn’t mean complicated. It simply means changing an ad to reflect time of day, day of week, local weather conditions, specific audiences, or brand parameters such as sales trends and stock levels. Pretty basic stuff really.

The focus for 2019 within DOOH will remain on the arms race for automation and data-led efficiency. For the broader ad industry, and in particular the creative side, all the uncertainty and social unrest makes for particularly fertile times. So rather than waiting for creativity to filter downstream before we look for ways to bring it to life, DOOH will put these capabilities directly into the hands of the creatives and letting them create with it.

2019 should also see an increase in cross-channel automation, with brands not only harnessing real-time information but using it in synchronisation with other digital display channels; something DOOH helped pioneer for British Airways at the beginning of this year for their annual January sale. By taking localised real-time search data, it was able to align both digital display and DOOH ads so that both channels displayed offers for the most popular destinations in any given area, all in real-time; a significant step towards true cross-channel creative automation.

DOOH also predicts a resurgence of digital out-of-home enabled experiential advertising over the coming year. As retail destinations invest in new ways to keep consumers there for longer, it see a return of stand out executions that stop consumers in their tracks and begin one-on-one brand to consumer conversations.

As DOOH plans and executes its strategies from behind computers, it must remember that consumers actually don’t give a s**t about buying efficiencies, delivery mechanics or play-out reports. They simply look at a screen and they either care about what they see or they don’t. If DOOH can bring together emerging technological possibilities such as voice interaction and 5G in a way that not only fits with the functional day-to-day mechanics of how brands use digital out-of-home, but also augments the consumer experience in the same way the mobile phone has, then it could finally be looking at the watershed moment DOOH have been waiting for. 

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DOOH, 4 months ago