Is DOOH the way forward for Transit Media?

DOOH experts share how digital inventories will entice more clients to invest in transit media and make the medium more ROI-driven

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: Oct 28, 2020 8:23 AM  | 6 min read
transit media dooh

The sky is the limit when it comes to gaining data through digital metrics and audience metric solutions. DOOH inventories placed at transit locations especially the ones that have a high mobility rate at key locations will help brands and OOH agencies strategically place their campaigns in that particular area.

Advertisers are looking for audience metric solutions and an ROI driven medium especially in the current economic climate. Even though brands are aware of the impact the large-format medium can produce, most of them are shying away and are hesitant to invest. Giving a more ROI-driven and data solutions inventory like DOOH in Transit Media will help brands be more confident in approaching the medium during this COVID market environment.

OOH experts shared insights on how transit media can leverage from DOOH solutions and the challenges involved.

The Pluses

For Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group, DOOH is the best format to draw the attention of people on the move. It can be both programmatic as well as normal DOOH media. Digital formats register higher recall, can be static as well as dynamic, can project multiple creatives, can be placed as a single unit or as programmatic units. The flexible options in DOOH come handy during this COVID era when traffic at times could be low. The media owner is not bound to recover the costs from one display only. He can have multiple brands to share and divide the costs. Some DOOH units also offer the facility of audience measurement. It will help the marketers to record ROI and plan their investments accordingly.”

Gulab Patil, Founder, and CEO of Lemma, believes the Covid market has brought in two major changes in the transit media ad space — one limited audience in comparison to pre-Covid days and higher dwell time due to social distancing. Both these changes are crucial variables that brands consider when selecting media.

“DOOH offers immense flexibility to deliver meaningful brand interactions and these can be improved further with programmatic technology that allows for insightful, dynamic and data-driven ad serving. Furthermore, DOOH inventories infused with programmatic capabilities allow brands to get creative in serving ads basis real-time triggers like footfall, weather, time of the day, train/bus schedules etc. The best thing about DOOH inventories going programmatic is that there is no additional change to be made in the system and transition from DOOH to programmatic DOOH is seamless and hassle-free with countless advantages. Better occupancy rates during these times are rare and with pDOOH capability, screen owners can experience demand flowing in from digital media agencies as well, improving their revenue inflow,” Patil said.

Ramana Siddhartha, Head, LMX India, Moving Walls, shared that in a post lockdown scenario, the utilization of public transport has been by specific audience segments - particularly professionals (both private sector and government) and the unskilled sector.

“With the onset of the festive season, other audiences, including families, have started re-emerging. DOOH and more specifically campaigns delivered programmatically is ideal for a scenario like this as it has the ability to maximise exposure to specific audiences via location data-based, time belted campaigns. It has the capacity to dynamically serve content.”

COVID-19 has impacted many industries, including Out-of-Home (OOH). According to Upinder Singh, Project Director, Edge1 Outdoor Media Management Software, Digital Out-of-Home has fared better than traditional OOH in this landscape.

Talking about the reach of the medium, Singh says, “In this COVID market environment transit DOOH media makes it possible to reach younger people in an unconventional way. Transit advertising revenue goes directly into improving the quality of transportation in a region. It’s common for cities, train lines, and bus systems to offer formal programmes to help brands reach consumers. The government agencies also have insight into ridership and demographic variables that may influence a campaign. Ads reaching consumers-in-transit are functional as you can reach people in an organic, impactful, and meaningful way. The greatest advantage of transit is a captive audience. A controlled environment and sharper targeting are also considered valuable benefits. It has given the OOH industry a fresh boost to reach out to a wider set of audiences.”

Singh further says that while we expect the OOH industry to fully recover and continue to see year-over-year growth, COVID-19 has given DOOH a greater role. “This is because DOOH is nimble and dynamic allowing advertisers to be more fluid with when, where, and how impressions are delivered.”

The Hurdles
Talking about the challenges, Shrivastava commented, “The cost of DOOH units is prohibitively high. With the exception of Airports, most of the transit media is run by comparatively smaller players. Lack of awareness and skilled workforce is further a challenge. In quite some cases, we’ve seen the hesitation of clients to share the space with other brands they want exclusivity. Last but not least is short term tenders and contracts, which doesn’t allow the media owners to invest in expensive formats like DOOH. Metro and Local Trains service has started in most cities.”

According to Patil the primary reason for limited numbers of screens is the media investment needed in installing these screens at scale. Secondly, maintenance and security from vandalism are also factored in when deciding to install screens at public places. “However, many big players the likes of Armour DOOH media, Vyoma, Times OOH and others have obviously put these problems to rest and have expanded their network across many public places and are also now programmatically enabled via Lemma. In addition to the mentioned problems stated rules pertaining to each region in terms of screen installation also vary and may either favour or disapprove of the same. The screen cost, security and maintenance can be factored as key reasons for the sluggish growth of this medium.”

Transit media is more expensive than static or traditional OOH mediums, Singh stated. “Consumer behaviour is not conducive to receptiveness as people are in a hurry. The target audience it caters to is very limited compared to traditional media. Also, transit media is now being more creatively used, it’s not just about being on transit media. A lot depends on how creatively you use the medium.”

Bringing the spotlight on some other issues, Singh said that while media hygiene factors and monitoring systems are important, monitoring a media that is on the go could be quite challenging.

He further said that issues around auditing and compliances have largely remain unaddressed. “The other big issue is the lack of consistency of the visual appeal and aesthetics in the formats, if you take pictures of 10 bus panels, they will all look different. Creative agencies would find it rather difficult to plan for such varied formats that also do not ensure any consistency in their presentation to the consumers,” he noted.


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