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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced every industry to adapt and evolve – advertising has been no different.
As consumer behaviour changed, marketers began rethinking their existing ad-spends and started moving their money into ad-channels that provided more in-home exposure.
However, a return to normalcy has not meant a return to the older ways – there are some habit-changes that have now become a part of the New Normal.
The New Normal has seen brands focus on digital advertising and outdoor advertising, as print, television and radio have slowly fallen down the ladder.
Print fell to the wayside primarily because there was a clear and outright halt on objects that could potentially bring the virus into people’s homes.
Essentials such as groceries were being cleaned and disinfected before being brought into homes – newspapers and magazines were categorized as non-essentials.
Digital advertising had, even before the pandemic, eaten into a major chunk of advertising revenues for television, print and radio – and now with subscriptions at an all-time low and newspapers bringing in news that’s already been consumed online 24-hrs earlier – advertising revenues have dried up for these channels.
Television – with its preplanned content and ad-breaks – have failed to adapt to an increasingly impatient audience that’s getting its entertainment on OTT platforms and YouTube, for considerably lesser subscription fees as compared to cable!
Radio – once a companion on commutes to and from work – fell silent as more and more people are working from home, and no real commutes in sight in the near future.
Most of that ad-ex has shifted onto digital, but there’s one other platform that’s making a comeback like no other – Digital Outdoor Advertising!
Digital advertising has become cluttered and overbearing – consumers are actively looking for ad-blockers to keep their browsing experience clean.
The difference with Digital Out-of-Home ads is that they are a part of the outdoor experience!
Standing on the cross at Bukit Bintang (Kuala Lumpur) or walking through the ION Orchard mall (Singapore) wouldn’t be as exciting if there weren’t those large colourful screens dotting the eyeline.
Image Credits: straitstimes.com
A WARC study has shown that the DOOH industry will be the second-fastest growing advertising channel in 2021 with a 20% increase in overall DOOH ad-spends.
GroupM’s global study showed a 12.3% increase in the overall size of the outdoor advertising market.
A large part of that growth is related to the way outdoor ad-tech has improved during the pandemic.
Digital advertising has made some significant advancements in terms of targeting and overall reach and influence – a possibility due to the interactive nature of the inputs/outputs received/delivered.
Targeting and reach in outdoor advertising was based on a lot of inferences – if a screen is near a mall, families and young adults would likely see it – and the like.
Things, however, have evolved significantly – using Google Maps, app data, wi-fi data, cameras and other input sources, outdoor ad-tech companies can now determine the characteristics of the consumer who frequents a particular spot – essentially, that guesswork has been eliminated from the targeting process!
The next aspect, of course, is the introduction of interactive or creative ads.
Not only are digital or video ads more effective than regular outdoor ads, they also add to the experience of being outdoors – especially after a lockdown scenario where people are moving out of their homes again and appreciating the outdoors in a new light.
Smart advertisements, using programmable technology, are also becoming the norm.
With the introduction of blockchain, 5G networks, IoT devices, and facial recognition services, adverts are becoming smarter by interacting directly with niche audiences.
The field of Extended Reality (XR), which includes Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, will make a huge impact in the upcoming years too.
Programmatic advertising is on the rise with outdoor ads changing according to the elements or surroundings.
Bosch’s outdoor ad campaign used taxi-top screens to deliver consumer product ads when the cabs were in residential areas, and then switched to industrial products for taxi runs through industrial areas – the same screens were delivering content according to external factors – something only digital has done effectively so far.
Integrating mobile with the outdoor adverts can help interact with the customers immediately, in real-time, with the brand.
When customers come within range of outdoor advertisements, beacons help integrate with mobile devices.
Simple things like QR codes are being used effectively to deliver coupons, vouchers and other special treats for customers – all through simple DOOH ads being triggered programmatically.
Outdoor advertising has evolved more in the last few years than it has in centuries!
From the inclusion of storytelling in ads – conveying thoughtful, memorable messages for greater impact – to delivering ads directly to the consumer without the hindrance of ad-blockers or a disrupted experience, outdoor advertising has become the second-most effective form of advertising after digital advertising.
And here’s why that’s important – you see, digital advertising has all the capabilities you could ask for as a startup trying to reach out to consumers, except for one thing – it is annoying!
It’s annoying to the point that apps and websites use an ad-free experience as a reason to get people to buy paid subscriptions!
Outdoor advertising, along with its technology advancements, is also facing a greater deal of push from all brands because it is super-effective!
There are plenty of cases where it has become the trigger for unbelievable search campaign results and exceptional social media campaigns.
For startups and small businesses looking to target at a hyperlocal level, the programmatic capability of DOOH has completely transformed advertising strategy.
The world has seen the unseen – from the tumultuous year 2020, there still lingers a hope on the horizon as we gingerly step through 2021!
The emphasis of making each penny count is ever greater today than ever before, so you might want to rethink your strategy to include DOOH trends into it!