In the final Out \ Look of 2021, Colum Harmon, marketing director, PML Group looks to the year ahead for OOH and location marketing.
2022 is a year for brands to truly harness the power of OOH. The medium that’s now at forefront of captivating audiences through a mix of data and creativity, delivering communications that are more relevant and rewarding for consumers. Fusing data sources with inspirational creative ideas will produce memorable and effective Outdoor advertising in the year ahead. At PML Group, we see ourselves as architects of OOH’s future, but we are equally excited to see our clients take advantage of what is possible in the present – to ‘Be More Now’. The enduring power of classic OOH formats, salient transport networks and persuasive retail messaging, combined with the immediacy and flexibility of digital outdoor advertising, is driving new growth in the sector. The opportunity to truly deliver on the promise of dynamic digital OOH is there for brands to grasp.
We have seen great changes over the last two years that will have a lasting impact on how we live, work, shop, and interact with each other. Power Plays showcases the attributes that will drive the medium forward and enhance the connection between brand and consumer in 2022 and beyond.
Location-based marketing is a powerful method of connecting consumers to brands and experiences in the right place, at the right time. The physical shape of society has changed in recent years and continues to evolve. The potency of Out of Home media is grounded in the space that it inhabits. The power of location marketing is its ability to combine multiple data sets to create understanding of what’s happening where and when. Our interrogation of these data sources and analytics tools, such as Locomizer and Mosaic, provides OOH advertisers with valuable layers of data into where their audiences Live, Work and Play and what they Think, Feel and Do. Location intelligence is not only helping brands understand their customers better – it is driving better outdoor media decisions. Smart mapping tools, such as our Maps platform, does this by layering this data on top of business sets, relevant points of interest and OOH site locations.
In 2022, more OOH campaigns will leverage audience location intelligence to adapt to new patterns of living, taking new mobility patterns as cues for smarter planning. By then creating location-relevant messaging, brands can fully realise the potential of Outdoor’s Location Power Play.
Primed for Mobile
Location data can be the link between the physical and digital world. While marketers have become used to using online actions to build audience profiles, it rarely links to their physical movement. The greater emphasis on ecommerce has really changed brands’ relationships with consumers, and how they can target them. The location of a consumer when they encounter OOH advertising can directly influence their online and mobile behaviour. Using smart data-led planning and buying, OOH can grab their attention and get them to take direct action through mobile.
In 2022, the key to maximising Out of Home’s Mobile Power Play lies in two S-words – Shareable and Shoppable. Commerce is becoming more embedded into content. Social media is all about sharing – sharing of ideas and experiences with like-minded people. And OOH is highly shareable content. Outdoor can be the link from prompt to action. Including gateways such as QR codes on panels is a simple and effective route. The QR code is now a recognisable front door to stuff we want on the internet, whether it’s a payment or information. It’s the universal consumer motif that signals ‘something more’, and a more exciting space as AR rapidly evolves.
OOH offers unique creative opportunities for advertisers. Our Liveposter platform gives brands and agencies the opportunity to maximise the full potential of Dynamic DOOH and create award-winning campaigns that can change depending on the moments that matter in the real world. In a world of constant distraction, with information available at the touch of a button, consumers want and expect brands to connect with them in an engaging way. OOH media combines technology, data, insight and process to help create compelling DOOH campaigns that utilise the latest data to connect brands with their audience. Your audience’s mood & mindset changes throughout the day, so why shouldn’t your message? More brands will tell the right story at the right time in 2022.
We can publish and distribute content effortlessly from one central platform across multiple screens, networks and media owners. This gives brands complete control of their DOOH and helps get their message out to their audience with real-time interactions. This technology allows seamless integration between brands and customers in the Out of Home arena.
The Moments of Truth research shows how relevance in content translates to effectiveness in terms of neurological activity, recall and sales – the power of data-led creativity.
In OOH, data is geared towards creating more interesting advertising and better experiences for consumers. The networks now exist in Ireland to make that impact scalable and truly powerful. As we move beyond the third-party cookie, unblockable channels like Dynamic OOH will be more prominent and a bright opportunity lies in contextual targeting. OOH advertising is not about hyper-personalisation but about grouping audiences together by interest, based on anonymous, aggregated data.
We do that at PML Group using Locomizer data to create affinity groups. People are defined by the groups they belong to, so having genuine insight and understanding of your customers leads to better decisions. These insights can help brands make their OOH media useful and lead to better engagement, such as delivering live football scores to an environment or area where we know football fans over-index.
In 2022, brands’ first-party databases and third-party feeds will become vitally important in creating bespoke solutions that can take data and transform it into usable digital OOH content, creating event-based impacts relevant to the audience.
Audience & Mobility
Human movement is Out of Home media’s greatest currency. Consumers encounter the channel through so many significant touchpoints in their daily lives – commuting, shopping, working, socialising and travelling.
As we look to 2022, independent mobility measurement sources such as Locomizer, Transport for Ireland and public transport companies indicate levels of public mobility on par or above pre-pandemic levels, with many of our towns and cities back to footfall figures equal to 2019. Those statistics represent real people, out in the real world, considering everything from what to eat for lunch to what electric car to invest in. Yes, OOH plans can be refined and optimised through audience insights, but the broad reach of OOH is unparalleled.
Evolving networks of panels means that in 2022 there will be more opportunity than ever for OOH to connect brands and consumers. Many of those consumers are entering a new ‘hybrid’ era of working, and OOH is a solution to shifting audience mobility and working patterns through urban, suburban, and regional displays. There is opportunity in understanding how consumers live in both real and virtual worlds, and how and when they intersect.
Mental and Physical Availability
A brand achieves greater mental availability than its competitors when more consumers are more inclined to access it from their memory in more buying situations. Byron Sharp’s seminal bestseller, How Brands Grow, outlined five actionable measures a brand can take to increase its mental availability, all of which are relevant to OOH.
A mixture of the changing nature of audience behaviour and the evolution of the infrastructure of Outdoor advertising means the traditional lines of differentiation between brand and activation on OOH are blurring. The Path to Purchase is as much mental as it is physical and OOH location marketing must reflect this shifting audience behaviour. Evidence of multiple research studies conducted by PML Group shows the viability of Out of Home to build mental availability and bring about consumer action.
And it’s not just a question of advertising in that last window of influence. In 2022, it’s about engaging classic roadside and transport formats that consumers see as part of the fabric of their localities and that they notice more now more than ever in their communities.
Infinite Creative Canvas
Advertising is in the business of attention, an industry that builds real-world emotional responses between brands and people. People want advertising to be entertaining and interesting and the sheer scale of a billboard or the malleable nature of on-screen digital display offers brands a canvas unmatched. A pure advertising medium that cannot be skipped, paused, or blocked, powerful OOH creative has the ability to move minds. The medium leads the way in delivering effective creative that achieves cut-through for clients that is shared and remembered. It can inject joy into the daily grind with a visual joke, a clever line or a ‘stops you in your tracks’ special build.
OOH lives in the real world but using technology to optimise creative will be more prevalent in 2022. Heatmapping to isolate areas of a design that are most attention-grabbing refines creative and makes for a better ad. Our Create team at PML Group excel in converting ideas from the sheet to the street. 2021 saw an upward trend in ‘classic’ innovation with high impact special builds to the fore again, thanks to brands such as Disney+ and Bank of Ireland. In 2022, brands will embrace more digital innovation at scale, impactful special builds and getting back to real world experiential activations.
Platform for Good
The twin shocks of COVID-19 and climate change has prompted companies to refocus on what they stand for and brands are taking more care to spend their marketing budgets in a way that will support causes they care about, as well as driving results. Great leaps in technology, societal transformation, and innovation are often borne out of crisis. As a media channel with a tangible physical presence in public spaces, the OOH industry has a significant role to play in building a sustainable future and we should expect the continued development and roll out of multiple green technologies over the coming months, to include infrastructure technologies, biotechnologies that push the agenda on green, alternative inks and production processes, and recycled paper and alternative biodegradable materials.
The sustainability agenda is being transformed into action on OOH, such as Nestlé’s 100% recycled paper campaign in 2021, a first in Ireland.
Sophisticated Mass Marketing
In unison with the seismic changes we’re witnessing in our worlds, OOH is also transforming at pace and is presenting many new and exciting opportunities. Brands need to innovate and adapt to new behaviours. It’s a time for frontier thinking, both in offering new ways to engage, but also in experimenting with new technologies and channels. Perhaps OOH’s great North Star Power Play is its ability to provide this innovation, while grounding campaigns in the abiding power of the billboard and the bus shelter. Advertisers can tap into the capability of classic OOH to make impactful advertising, and to layer on contextually targeted content at scale through dynamic digital messaging. That potent mix can be complemented with special builds, real world experiential activations and direct response. In 2022, we believe this sophisticated mass marketing approach will truly unlock the limitless power of The Great Outdoors.