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The changing face of OOH advertising!

OOH, or Out of Home Advertising is perhaps the most primitive and the most effective form of Advertising Avenue to catch the eyeballs of the mass audience. The easiest way or form of OOH is probably the graffiti on the walls. In some countries, this is also considered an art form, while for other countries it forms a serious way to attract attention and registration in the minds of potential buyers and influencers. From products, services to even electoral candidates this formed an important basis of creating maximum visibility.

Similar in line to wall paintings are cloth banners and now the use of vinyl with digital printing coming in handy to print and display the exact form of the promotional message or communication.

Well, that's advertising for Pete's sake! It is about the delivery of the message or the communication selling a brand of product or service and trying to reach out to the potential target audience and influencers.

Advertising has been a massive part of our lives from time immemorial. The most effective and hard-hitting form of advertising is outdoor advertising. A form, where people can know about particular products or services when they are outside their homes. It can be used for branding, broad messaging, supporting campaigns, and so forth. Outdoor advertising has always been the strongest form of reminder media advertising, instigating buyers to form a favorable impression of the marketable brand. In some cases, advertisers relied on OOH medium solely to make it the primary form of promotion for their brands.

Outdoor advertisements use different tools such as billboards, point of purchase ads, transit ads, kiosks, digital display boards, and others. For example, while you are outside, you see billboard advertising about a specific product offered by a company. So, this is precisely what we call outdoor advertising.

From the second half of the 20th century, when digitization began infiltrating different industries while simultaneously moving towards the public sphere, digital media became more popular. People turned their attention towards televisions and radios to expand their reach among the audience. Also, in recent times, advancements in Artificial Intelligence have made the internet an ideal platform for service and product promotion, garnering the attention of most potential customers. Therefore, the question that comes to the forefront is, are out-of-home (OOH) Advertisements still in the game?

The answer is a big yes! According to Forbes, in the year 2018, the revenue earned through digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertisements was $34.8 billion. Even though this value is less as compared to online ads, the fact remains that outdoor advertisements are here to stay. The prime reason being, people spend more time outdoors, accounting for 70% of their time each day. These potential consumers are made up of several demographic groups, be they professionals, students, entrepreneurs, etc. As long as there are potential consumers who will look at these advertisements, OOH ads will remain alive.

How is OOH as a strong media evolving with the changes in technology and a mad scramble of mapping the customer responses more accurately?

The answer is simple, to bring technological advancements in outdoor advertising. Even though it is definite, that OOH advertisings are here to stay, there is still a certain requirement for improvements in such a way that it not only just captures the attention of people but also interacts with them. With the help of cutting-edge technology, one that uses technological devices or techniques which employ the most current and high-level IT developments, we can change the face of OOH to make it relevant with today’s digital and fast-paced world.

Following are some of how technology has been impacting the OOH advertisings and what more can be done.

Smart outdoor ads- smart outdoor advertisements are those which not only show information about a particular business, product or service but also react to who's viewing it. They use features like facial recognition and sensors to interact with different types of the target audience. But due to their high costs, they haven’t been much in demand. Apart from this, the use of augmented reality in OOH advertisings has also made ad campaigns more efficient.

Outdoor augmented reality advertising is more effective than traditional ones and does not require any direct actions from the users. It creates an emotional response from the audience by immersing them in their content. Just by mere observation, users feel involved with what is happening, even if they do not have any direct relation with it. For instance;

  1. The promo campaign of the AMC series- walking dead season 5 premiered in 2014, witnessed AR advertisements broadcasted on bus stops. The AR video looked too real to the audience making them feel as if they are part of the post-apocalyptic series.

  2. Clothing brands have also incorporated outdoor augmented reality advertisings by creating visual fitting rooms in the store windows. American manufacturer and retailer Timberland did the same. They created visual fitting rooms so that customers could try on new clothes and save photos of their looks. The brand's new collection achieved much attention due to this as customers shared their photos on social media.

Enhancing data gathering options- earlier, billboards only showed information, leaving little space for advertisers to just hope that people would view their ads and stop by at their store to purchase the product.

Today, technology can be aided with OOH to increase the views of the advertisement by the targeted audience. One such technology is BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy. It is a low-power wireless communication technology that can be used over a short distance to enable smart devices to communicate. Devices like smart watches, smart phones, etc. use BLE to enable a seamless experience between devices. BLE is used to make beacons, a small, wireless transmitter that is used to send signals to other smart devices nearby. They are one of the latest developments in location technology and proximity marketing.

Integrating OOH ads with mobiles- OOH has become part of public life. It has a wide range of audiences and provides a "one-to-many" ad experience. It helps advertisers by giving brands high coverage and providing them with continuous reach. Similarly, with more than 4 billion users worldwide, mobile phones have travelled a long path and evolved from just a simple calling device to a consumer's constant companion. Along with the facilities of personalized messages, it provides a "one-to-one" ad experience to them. It also helps in targeting a specific audience, collect relevant ad and store visitation data.

Therefore, it is safe to say that OOH and mobile are complementary to each other. By coupling public ads with measurable results provided by mobile data, agencies can maximize brand engagement, reinforce their messaging, and enhance campaign efficiency. Using technology like beacons as medium, outdoor ads can be integrated with a consumer’s phone display or device’s audio.

Choosing a potential location for advertising technology has impacted outdoor advertisings in such a way that now it even provides endless results about where digital advertisements should be placed, keeping in mind they should garner the most attention, while also being audience-specific. In recent years, OOH advertisements at airports have increased. The reason being passengers belong to different demographic profiles, providing a variety of target audiences. Apart from this, public transports like buses, taxis, trains, or even blank walls can be an ideal space for smart ads to be placed.




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