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Posterscope’s Stephen Whyte: underestimate the power of dynamic digital out of home at your peril

Recent media forecasts from sources such as GroupM have forecast slow but continued growth in advertising expenditure in 2020. In these reports, out of home, and more specifically, digital out of home (DOOH), has been identified as one of the main beneficiaries of this growth.

This very positive outlook for the OOH medium reflects its increasing importance as a ‘real world’ counterpoint to powerful and addressable digital channels, so it’s somewhat ironic that the use of dynamic content in DOOH is so under-developed in comparison with those digital channels.

The ability to deploy truly dynamic content across thousands of high quality, networked digital screens is the most significant step forward for OOH since the arrival of those digital screens well over a decade ago. But clients, agencies and media owners around the world are still significantly under-estimating or overlooking the potential of dynamic DOOH.

Even in markets as developed as the UK and the USA, media spend on dynamically-enabled digital out of home represents just eight per cent and just less than five per cent respectively, of all DOOH campaigns.

We are frequently told that there is a substantial appetite for innovation among marketers and business leaders. In the Global Digital Outlook Study by SoDA and Forrester Research last year, business leaders identified “brand differentiation through innovation” and “adopting emerging technology before our competitors do” as the most important strategic factors driving success for their businesses. And then there’s the ever-increasing need for greater speed. Forrester’s research revealed that 63 per cent of senior marketers thought that producing and publishing content more quickly was a major priority for their business.

Dynamic DOOH delivers across all of these factors. It enables new advertising content to be published instantly, in real time and as often as the data and circumstances require. It provides greater consumer and contextual relevance which is proven to drive uplift in impact. Above all, it delivers significantly greater advertising performance and effectiveness.

At Posterscope, we studied a total of 20 of our campaigns between 2015 and 2018 and conducted a total of nearly 14,000 respondent interviews to analyse the performance difference between dynamic digital and standard digital activity for all of these campaigns. The results are remarkable in terms of the effects on both brand and memorability measures. Brand consideration increased on average by 34 per cent and spontaneous ad awareness by an astonishing 85 per cent. The overall impact on key brand measures was an uplift of 36 per cent, and on campaign memorability of 60 per cent. Combining the effects on both brand and memorability measures, the increase in overall ad effectiveness across these 20 campaigns was an incredible 48 per cent.

So why are marketers, agencies and media owners ignoring the undeniable impact of dynamic digital out of home. Is it too complex to understand or perceived as too expensive to activate? Is there just too little awareness and understanding its benefits? And has enough been done to standardise digital content management systems in order to simplify and speed up the technology connections?

All of these factors probably apply to some extent but, whatever the reasons, the industry needs to come together to overcome them and to be much, more active in promoting dynamic to both agencies and advertisers.

Dynamic content can change the way advertisers view and use out of home and attract new clients to the medium, ultimately generating growth. It provides fantastic creative opportunities, leads to award-winning work and increases the attention that our medium attracts. Most importantly, it transforms advertising effectiveness, delivering substantial uplifts in ROI.

Whilst we may have under-estimated its potential and importance so far, it’s not too late to put that right. It’s absolutely in our power to grasp the opportunity more effectively from here on.

Stephen Whyte is global president of Posterscope.

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