Is technology the key differentiator for OOH advertising?

OOH players discuss technological advancements in OOH sector and how these help strengthen the medium with the possibility of targeting audiences and measuring overall ad impact

e4m by Rasika Kiran Upasani
Updated: Dec 29, 2021 9:23 AM

The out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry is all about digital out-of-home (DOOH) and programmatic digital OOH (PDOOH) advertising. In 2020, there was an immense growth in the use of DOOH during the Covid-19 global pandemic, which in turn aggravated the need for publishers to boost their digital transformation strategies and explore creative and innovative ways to maintain ad spends during these unprecedented times. 

The technological advancements have improved every essential process of Out of Home (OOH), digital out-of-home (DOOH) and programmatic digital OOH (PDOOH) advertising and brought in automation, innovation, transparency and accountability at all levels. Technology is bringing in various changes right from the way OOH is planned, to the way audiences are targeted along with measuring the overall ad impact.

E4m spoke to OOH industry experts to understand the significance of technology in out-of-home advertising and how the use of technology is modernizing OOH advertising.

Technology modernizing OOH advertising:

Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions, stated, “Technology is modernizing OOH advertising right from static to dynamic through DOOH, from non-measurable to measurable, as well as from larger than life to experiential and innovative.”

Gulab Patil, Founder and CEO, Lemma, remarked, “Technology is bringing in a host of changes right from the way OOH is planned to the way audiences are targeted and even measuring the overall ad impact. Technological advancements spanning across both hardware and software have improved every essential process of OOH advertising and brought in automation, innovation, transparency, and accountability at all levels.”

Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group, shared, “The OOH Industry in India is still very unorganized. Even today seasoned planners prefer to use their knowledge than they rely on technology. However, the introduction of technology into the OOH market is no longer just for modernization’s sake but for survival’s sake. Recognizing technology’s need and contribution to the current market and surrendering to it is the only way forward. In this term, the biggest modernization that tech has done for the OOH advertising industry is to change people’s mindset.”

Darrell Fernandes, Head of Client Partnerships, White Rivers Media shared his perspective on the importance of technology and how brands can leverage from technology in OOH advertising. “With the help of technology, brands can deploy targeted OOH campaigns across a variety of assets with the same ease and capability of a pay-per-click campaign, thus bringing more focus on performance and remarketing to the OOH market as well.”

Technology in OOH advertising creating fresh opportunities:

Yagnik shared his perspective on the role of technology in creating fresh opportunities for impactful campaigns. He stated, “Innovations is something which derives communication in the OOH industry and in order to achieve the same, brands take various routes. These days, with advance tech, one can create various spectaculars with the help of things like Drone shows, laser lights, Virtual Reality, AI etc. This not only enhances the brand visibility but also provides lot of earnings in the media along with PR.”

Patil elaborated on how the technological improvements in OOH have helped in bringing about some ground-breaking ideas to life. “In programmatic DOOH for example, brands can now sync campaign based real time triggers like weather, sports scores etc. and sync them to render ads with flight schedules as well. Not only this, but brands can also optimize campaigns based time-bands, vehicular movement and audience movement as well. Contextual and dynamic ad servings are also an added advantage when it comes to programmatic technology in DOOH.  All of this can help brands have meaningful interactions with consumers in outdoor space using both data and innovation supported by advanced technology.”

Shrivastava shared his perspective on how technological enhancements help in targeting, re-targeting, audience engagement and measurement. “All these aspects have been able to evolve and work better because of the integration of technology. Unlike other forms of advertising, the only requirement of OOH is for a person to step out.”

“DOOH, the most visible technological advancement in the OOH market, allows the companies to be more specific with their targeting. You cannot skip or fast forward any of the ads. In a campaign for Acardia SUV, GMC, they used facial recognition to detect audience demographics and accordingly played the targeted ad. DOOH allows for more creativity in the campaigns, which is why one can see a lot of interactive campaigns nowadays.

Currently, DOOH accounts for only 4% of the OOH industry in India compared to 20% in other developed nations. This shows that we still haven’t had the opportunity to explore different ways in which DOOH can be used to entrap the Indian audience,” he added.

Fernandes addressed the importance of digital billboards in a connected world, where most aspects of our lives can potentially intersect with physical, digital and social realms, enabling us to interact with brands seamlessly across channels. “Marketers need to appropriately integrate and measure online and offline ‘customer experience’ efforts. With digital billboards, marketers can create dynamic content that can change throughout the life of their campaign, increasing the impact of their advertising. There’s even the potential to engage consumers by offering them augmented reality elements by simply asking the audience to stop and interact with the ad piece using their mobile device."

Effects of technological improvements in marketing strategies:

Yagnik shared, “Measurements have always been a pain point when it comes to OOH. We at Madison have come up with various tools and partnerships to solve this issue and make OOH more accountable in terms of the spends and ROI by providing impressions and campaign evolutions.”

Patil remarked, “The basic shift that technology has brought about, is the shift from screen buying to audience buying. Marketing strategies can now make use of data points to construct campaigns that not only serve the purpose of mere visibility but influence consumers at multiple levels with relevant creatives being served to the right audience using DOOH. Moreover, technology offers brands the opportunity to device Omnichannel strategies with data harnessing allowing brands to target audiences across DOOH and mobile through parallel branding and retargeting. Additionally, location data-based technology enables brands to activate hyperlocal campaigns and serve directional ads encouraging users to visit stores.”

Shrivastava elaborated on how the OOH industry recognizes the value of re-targeting. “OOH ads, when combined with mobile, is a catalyst to generate quick customer action. Geofencing enables marketers to identify and retarget audiences via mobile when they are in close proximity to an outdoor advertisement. The OOH industry's biggest technological shift is integrating marketing strategies in order to complement mobile, social, retail, and other such channels.”

“Historically, out-of-home advertising was difficult to quantify and lacked insights to generate audience intelligence. Mobile has changed everything, allowing marketers to track audience movement and behaviours in real time. Marketers can now understand when, where, and how to reach their target audience at the best times and locations by using artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

Fresh technological advancements in OOH:

Yagnik shared, “DOOH is something which is gaining momentum with the increase in DOOH inventory. These days, we find DOOH at almost all touch points right from the streets to furniture billboards. Transit points such as buses, trains, metros, airports, etc., are also crucial. Location-based advertising and programmatic advertising give flexibility to the campaign and marketers to decide on whom to target and how to re-target them.”

Patil shared his insights on fresh technological advancements in OOH. “Technology is a key catalyst in the advancement of OOH. Many technological advancements in terms of hardware like screen quality, camera/motion sensors or even touchscreens for that matter have redefined the OOH ad space. If we talk about the software space, programmatic technology is the forerunner that has revolutionized the way DOOH ads are being served, bringing in a modern twist to a traditional medium. Additionally, smart planning tools, data management platforms and other solutions in campaign planning, delivery, optimization, and measurement have all contributed to advancement in OOH. Furthermore, a mélange of mobile and DOOH campaigns is also made possible with technology allowing brands to run omnichannel campaigns across devices seamlessly.”

Shrivastava remarked, “The freshest advancement in the OOH industry is SHARP from Laqshya Media. An application that measures traffic on the roads. It gives you a breakdown of their age, gender, and NCCS group. We also give numbers for the residential population across 60+ cities in India. Along with their age, gender, and NCCS group, we also give the education, employment, and language breakup of the residents.”

“SHARP gives details regarding the vehicle split of the roads, along with mobile handset pricing, and a wealth of other target groups. This is what OOH clients and agencies have been waiting for. A technology that uses machine learning that will not only modernize but also level the plain field for all participants.”

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