The world is now talking about DOOH

Guest Column: Gautam Bhirani, Managing Director, Eyetalk Media Ventures, on DOOH networks playing a significant role in keeping the public informed during these times

e4m by Gautam Bhirani
Updated: May 25, 2020 4:48 PM
Gautam Bhirani

There is a saying “Crisis breeds opportunity”. The actions of the last eight weeks have set into motion an unstoppable chain of events transforming our lives, our markets and our world.

As we adapt to the pandemic-induced lifestyle changes, often termed as ‘The New Normal’, it is constantly impacting both consumer behaviour and sentiment. After two months of social isolation as countries resume certain economic activities with relaxed restrictions, people are coming out of their homes - anxious, curious, and cautious, adapting to the new normal - in an intra-Covid life.

In unprecedented times like these, DOOH networks across the world have come to life and are playing a significant role in keeping the public aware and informed at public places even as traffic and mobility improves. Digital Out Of Home being the only form of digital advertising, which is beyond a consumer’s personal devices, bridges an important gap between online and offline worlds that makes it one of the most powerful communication channels. With technological advancements and better connectivity, industry leaders across the world have been bullish on DOOH for its adaptability, flexibility and accountability that is coming to light now amid the crisis, unleashing the true power of the medium. From Trump’s Live Covid Death Clock Tower in New York, Queen’s address at Piccadilly Square, London, User Generated Content driven campaign ‘Sending Love’ across the World, CDC Covid-19 guidelines campaign across US and ‘Salute The Heroes’ - these dynamic social messaging initiatives have brought context to the medium building deeper connect with the audience making it more powerful and effective than ever before.

Winds of Change for Digital OOH
The perception in the pre-Covid era, especially in the last one year, in context to DOOH has changed because of the advancements in technologies, new generation entrepreneurs foraying into the OOH industry and rapidly growing connected display networks, the market has matured as marketers have started seeing the medium in a different light.

A medium, which was primarily used as a digital scroller in the past and bought-sold as a frequency-filler based format, has transformed itself into a dynamic content delivery platform with the same DNA as mobile. The introduction of Programmatic DOOH or PDOOH finally came to life in 2019 with digital specialists embracing the power of DOOH. The medium today is becoming a part of a larger multi-screen ecosystem creating an immensely valuable omni-channel targeting opportunity for marketers paired with mobile. This shift has been significant in the growing demand for DOOH and has fuelled growth for organizations like us who are continuing to invest heavily in India’s OOH digital transformation journey.

Amidst uncertainty and economic crisis where accountability for every dollar spent on advertising will be more than ever before, DOOH is likely to get good advertiser traction and will emerge as one of the biggest disruptors. This will help the OOH advertising community in times like these. With highly valued currencies of speed, flexibility, integration with other technologies and cost effectiveness in a new media world where “Quantify to Qualify” is the “New Normal”, DOOH will help brands connect to larger audiences digitally with adaptable content that not only connects in context but can be optimized, measured and purchased on audience impressions. With DOOH demonstrating its value as a medium for societal messaging in these testing times, it is a new communication channel governments are embracing to more closely engage with their public and a powerful dynamic modern channel for all marketeers waking up to an era where trust and purpose are the new essentials.

Eyetalk Media Ventures in Covid-19
With restricted mobility and a life far from social, we are witnessing dramatic shifts in Out Of Home behaviour which is transforming the dynamics of OOH advertising. As both leisure and transit touchpoints gates seem out of bounds for a while, our F&B network - TagTalk and VFS Global Network - Travel Talk - will remain non-operational till normalcy is restored. However, as lockdowns start to ease out across the country and certain economic activities resume, and employees slowly returning back to work in a phased manner, we have started activating Biztalk – our Corporate DOOH Network in association with Drsti Communications across Premium Corporate Hubs and Co-Working Spaces.

Biztalk

Being a digital-first organization, we have always laid emphasis on selling audience and integrated content on our DOOH networks that complement the location and connects with audience present there. These two factors are key specially in the times we are in today - where quantifying audience, context and flexibility of the medium are more important than ever before are getting us good advertiser traction.

While most ad campaigns are likely to start mid-June, our displays are currently playing a key role as a communication channel, keeping working professionals aware and informed by delivering COVID-19 related safety guidelines and defining social distancing norms that each of our real estate partners have enforced within the campus. The screens have been placed at high congregation points like building entrance, reception, lift lobby and cafeterias increasing dwell time. During lockdown we have also incorporated new features which enhance audience-advertiser experience and enable brands to optimise and measure campaigns on the basis of audience. For now, we are tracking daily employee footfalls with our new data tool as the primary data point and have also collaborated with mobile data partners for third party data. Once public transport services resume, we are likely to come to a conducive conclusion and will release our touchpoint analysis by 10th of June, defining actionable audience insights which will brands and our agency partners to plan-buy better.

As part of the Government of India’s Start-up and Digital India initiatives and as a socially conscious and responsible organization, we are also under discussions with government bodies to collaborate and build new digital ecosystems that can create value and help spread awareness using our technology in crisis situations like these.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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