by Shona Read
Strategist, PHD Global Business

WARC forecasts that 2018 will see spend in out-of-home (OOH) increase for the fourth consecutive year. 

As budgets are being cut from a variety of channels, it is the convergence of data, technology and experiences that is seeing a resurgence in OOH. Couple this with the fact that we are seeing growing concerns with viewability online as well as an increasing number of subscriptions in ad-free models like Netflix, OOH remains one of the few channels that can’t be ignored whilst still providing mass reach. So let’s look at what 2018 may bring:

  1. Data

The back end of 2017 previewed some of the possibilities that data can unlock in OOH. We saw SKODA and Virgin make use of real-time traffic and context to launch their new models. Santander cycles made use of location and points of interest and this is likely to be commonplace and expected from digital panels, especially as brands who have already done so are seeing a 13% uplift in brand metrics. Burger King and VERY made use of inventory and consumer purchase data to drive sales close to point of purchase. Dynamically using OOH through the combination of a variety of data-streams (including first-party data) will produce insights for campaigns that add value to consumers and reinforce the brand.

  1. Technology

Interaction with OOH is continually improving, especially as we are constantly using our phone when out of home. Embedding codes within apps that consumers are already using, eases the way we can push content to users’ phones e.g. Spotify and Snapchat. But it is not just codes that are getting an upgrade; the potential for augmented reality (AR) and holographs is just starting to be explored. The end of 2017 saw Superdry merge AR with their in-store mirrors and Marriott trialled a brand new ambient format. Finally, actual integration with our phones, as with the Give Blood campaign, should see more brands explore these opportunities, especially for countries where digital OOH may not be as prevalent.

  1. Experiences

As consumers value authentic interactions with brands, we are already seeing the rise in experiential OOH and events that will continue this year. Deliveroo combined food with some of the most watched home entertainment to create a bakery. And it’s not just entertainment, although the Handmaid’s Tale launch in Australia turned heads, it’s also gyms like David Lloyds that are starting to see the value. We only need to look at the investment Exterion has made in producing a ‘live’ arm in Q4 of 2017 to see the interest in this area. So it’ll be great to see what happens around the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup this year!

In 2018, we will see new and more flexible ways to plan and buy with OOH and this is creating a greater level of accessibility for smaller businesses that may not have been able to afford these formats in the past. Technology led players are starting to see the value of OOH with Uber, Amazon and even Netflix having some of the most creative OOH ads, equating for roughly 25% of spend. OOH is perfectly placed for exciting opportunities and it can no longer be seen as an additional layer of activity on a plan.

Online media seems to have monopolised our attention and what we now need is creative investment that matches the media investment. Professor Byron Sharp points out that growing a brand requires a mix of media channels, and by adding OOH to the mix, effectiveness of campaigns increases by 20%. But a word of warning, new technology alone does not necessarily equal value for our consumers or mean effectiveness. Effectiveness will hinge on the creativity required to bring to life different media placements and formats AND working hand in hand with creative execution for relevant consumer interaction. In this, as it always has been, the relevant creative idea will reign supreme.

This article formed part of ‘PHD Perspectives’, click this link to read the full publication http://bit.ly/phdperspectives