Billboard Owners: Can you demonstrate the value your site delivers?

As technology transforms offline media like outdoor advertising, traditional media owners need to digitise the way they sell and measure their assets to survive and thrive. 

Out of Home (OOH) advertising is projected to grow to US$44.7 Billion by 2024. Asia Pacific is its fastest growing market, rising at a CAGR of 6.4% during the forecast period. Outdoor advertising is the only traditional media channel to experience this kind of growth. 

Billboard owners are surrounded by opportunities. The growing number of shopping malls, airport terminals, and transit hubs attract high consumer footfall and are therefore lucrative advertising locations. 

It's not just the traditional large brands who are embracing the medium either. Over 20% of OOH’s top spenders in the USA are digital tech brands. Technology and online companies like Apple, Samsung, Netflix, Iflix, Lazada, Shopee, and Property Guru have also established a sustained outdoor ad presence in Southeast Asia. 

The Billboards are Digital But the Business Process Remains Manual

A majority of digital and emerging brands are attracted to outdoor media's dynamism, flexibility, and ability to reach consumers who are on the move. However, while the medium itself has evolved, the selling process has largely remained the same. 

Billboard owners are largely unable to quantify the results their media assets deliver.

"My site is in a prime location... Attracts high traffic... Highest resolution screen," and so on are commonly used to describe why one media asset should be prioritised over others. Outdoor advertising suffers from a lack of standard measurement. It is unable to justify its effectiveness. 

This would be perfectly fine if outdoor advertising wants to remain a backdrop medium. However, the channel competes for the same media budgets as other digitally advanced channels and marketers are increasingly moving their dollars from exposures to activations. 

Be Digital to Survive, Think Digital to Thrive

Take mobile advertising for example. According to Recode, by 2019, advertisers will spend more on mobile than all traditional media, except television, put together. By leveraging location intelligence, app usage, and social media data, marketers are able to not only able to target precise audiences but also measure consumer movement as a result of the ad they served. 

Outdoor media needs to similarly position itself as an activation medium that can measure the audience it reaches and track the influence it has on them. The key to doing this is being able to measure physical audiences. Globally, the outdoor media industry is moving to measure audience movement around billboards. 

Physical audience measurement is possible by combining multiple location data sources. This includes online data - digital footprints left in the form of social media activity, device activity, and mobile application use - and offline data from hardware sensors and smart cameras.  

Advertisers don’t Just Buy Media, They Buy a Share of Audiences’ Attention.

As digital companies increase their outdoor media spends, billboard owners can no longer depend on historical population data and traffic estimates to report the impact of an outdoor advertisement.

Without a standard measurement method, OOH has remained a "backdrop" medium that doesn’t seamlessly fit into the digital media planning process (<10% of total adex).  Planners are comfortable with digital metrics. Implementing digital measurement will increase OOH consideration in the media mix and quantify how it impacts other media channels or store visits. 

Digital is engulfing the physical world and the tech giants (Google, Facebook, Snapchat, and others) are all building physical audience measurement capabilities. The onus is on billboard owners to act quickly and take control of measuring their media sites.

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