Moving Blog

Year in Review: Tech giants embrace out of home

On Dec 15, 2017

Avoid the "medical professionals" who added these songs to operating room playlists: Stressed Out, Can't Feel My Face, Stairway To Heaven, and Say You Won't Let Go

This was the copy on one of several hilarious Spotify billboard ads that turned users' listening habits into "2018 Goals". The campaign was recently executed on static and digital billboards across the world.

In 2017, Apple (who took over 10,000 billboards across 25 countries), Google, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook all invested in global outdoor advertising campaigns. In fact, technology companies now account for more than 25 percent of the top 100 OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising spenders. 

Why are these digital companies growing their investments in an offline and traditional media channel?

Massive Reach: Static billboards and digital signage have become increasingly commonplace in high-traffic locations like city streets, train stations, shopping malls, and event venues. Brands now have the ability to take over locations with their creatives on multiple screens at different entry and exit points. 

Additionally, advertisers now have the opportunity to target popular day-parts or time-belts on digital signage. 

Drive Online Search: A 2017 Nielsen study found OOH delivers more online activity per ad dollar spent compared to television, radio, and print. It is the most effective offline media at driving audiences online. 

This is largely down to the type of audience outdoor advertising reaches. People who consume outdoor advertisements are either on the move or waiting. As a "fleeting" medium, billboards only require a few seconds of attention before audiences turn to another activity like using their smartphone. 

Always On: OOH ads, by nature, cannot be skipped or paused. They are also strategically placed to capture the viewer's attention seamlessly. For example, they are at eye level while driving on a highway or waiting at a traffic light. 

Static billboards are technically "on" all the time and even digital screens can be taken over by a single brand. For digital companies, attracting new users and increasing app/platform usage is key. By putting their messages on "always on" billboards, they are able to reach the same audience multiple times without getting turned off or skipped. 

Accountability: Data and technology is transforming outdoor media from a backdrop or branding medium to a performance-driving medium. Location data enables advertisers to measure people movement and track store-visits. Advertisers can now access digital measures for physical audiences at their billboard sites. 

Sophisticated Planning Tools: The OOH industry suffered from fragmentation. There are hundreds of thousands of media owners. There was never a standard method for measuring or buying this media. 

However, this is now being solved by digital platfroms that bring some form of order and transparency. Billboard owners can now plug their inventory into supply side platforms similar to online publishers. 

This is especially useful for large tech companies who want to run global campaigns. For example, Apple could now plan and even track their global outdoor campaign, on thousands of billboards, from a single platform. Just as they would do for any digital advertising campaign. 

Digital companies will continue to embrace "Smarter" outdoor advertising. In 2018, data innovation and intelligent planning will continue to establish outdoor advertising as a performance driven media channel. 


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