OPINION23 April 2014

The data evolution in out-of-home media


Talon Outdoor’s Nick Mawditt highlights some of the smart uses of big data that are helping out-of-home advertisers reach the right audiences.


Out-of-home (OOH) media has been at the forefront of this data evolution, with the digitisation of screens leading more campaigns to embrace real-time, context and location as drivers to activate consumer relationships with brands on the street.

Route, the UK’s outdoor media measurement system that is now over a year old, gives us structure and confidence to see how OOH schedules deliver against different audiences. Campaigns can be delivered against geography, cost and demand/supply factors that exist in the market at any given time, and Route data also facilitates better campaign evaluation – by, for example, adding greater variation for econometrics.

Route is an excellent tool but, thanks to smart data augmentation, it can be improved by factoring in planning considerations from retail and behavioural and geo-demographic sources. OOH is not a standalone medium and, increasingly, we are integrating with other channels to help amplify those messages and – by using location as a key offering – tapping into people’s contextual ‘on-the-go’ behaviour.

Location: a new currency of marketing

The reinvigoration of mobile marketing in the past 12 months has been around location and geo-targeting, adding real context to the growing intimacy people have with their devices. Audiences can now be targeted with multiple integrated messaging in key environments, and increasingly, as mobile and OOH work together, there is a more effective level of communication engagement by virtue of where targets are and what they are doing.

“Route, client data and smartphone metrics give us the data and insight which influences the selection of the right locations and environments”

And with media players like Blis and Weve now successfully driving greater and more integrated mobile engagement, the opportunity for OOH and mobile to work more closely together is clear. Both media have, at their core, an ability to communicate the localisation, retail proximity and distinct audience targeting.

A recent Google campaign saw the client use digital OOH screens to tailor specific messages that were influenced by a number of factors, including location, proximity, daypart and context (from weather to day of week). The inspiration was a combination of mobile search data metrics and insights around behaviours by time of day and location. The result was a strong perception shift for the brand around being smarter and innovative, as well as a stronger call to action than was seen online. But, interestingly, it also pitched location as the most important attribute of the messaging – above context, time of day and mindset.

Route, client data and smartphone metricsgive us the data and insight which influences the selection of the right locations and environments. This allows agencies to keep ahead of people’s changing expectations and tolerances around all advertising messages, whilst not ignoring the need to combine broadcast, proximity and personalised messaging in all brand engagement.

Retail data driving smarter planning

In 2014 we are witnessing a significant move in the adoption of change – not least of all in media owner investment. JCDecaux has just upgraded 400 Tesco point-of-sale screens to digital, enabling smarter planning and usage by advertisers who can tap into Decaux’s CAPTAIn tool to analyse Tesco DunnHumby purchase data (against equivalent periods) by hourly segments across the day.

“Existing data sources must keep pace with change, and new data sources must be relevant in their application across planning and trading by audience”

This data resource facilitates targeting customers in line with category purchasing, seasonality and spike events such as Christmas, Easter and Back to School. Pre-launch data reveals that this planning approach can have a positive effect on sales of around 20% just by adopting a digital strategy, by 23% (when planning according to optimal sales times), and by 26% if you animate your ad copy.

Other exciting new opportunities have come to market: digital players Ocean Outdoor, Outdoor Plus, MediaCo and Storm have incorporated a more flexible approach in their trading models, using data to inform and measure impact delivery. Meanwhile, Amscreen has continued to champion the integration of data and technology and offers fully-flexible planning around measurable and attributable contacts from its in-built OptimEyes camera technology.

Although the data is not yet instantly transferable to a real-time delivery model, this is where a number of other OOH players will likely end up, enabling us to enhance our Route schedule data with fully accountable, behaviour-led data which gives advertisers the flexibility to reach audiences at relevant times. The step-change is transformational.

More developments will be realised in the coming months as the technology finds consumer relevance and the market delivers sufficient confidence to trade and plan against these changing metrics.

Existing data sources must keep pace with this change and new data sources must be relevant in their application across planning and trading by audience.

The industry is in the midst of an important evolution and we are armed with both the desire for change and the data to give OOH campaign planning and evaluation real structure and insight.

Nick Mawditt is director of insight and marketing at Talon Outdoor