Out of home advertising is the oldest form of communication but it still has the potential to become more sophisticated. With outdoor spend plummeting in 2020, Phil Clemas, CEO and Co-Founder of LUMO Digital Outdoor explains how the industry can start to evolve in 2022…
COVID-19 flipped the whole ad industry on its head, but no category felt the impact quite like Out of Home (OOH). I won’t bore you with stories of people being trapped indoors and clients pulling budgets overnight – that’s old news now.
What I will say is that the pandemic proved one very important thing; the OOH channel is poised and ready for adaptation. And a surge of new technological capabilities available to the industry and advertisers is driving the evolution faster than we’ve ever seen.
As a pure play digital out of home (DOOH) provider, we’re lucky at LUMO to have a front row seat to observe the new technologies coming into the channel. However, even we have to work to keep up as new innovations change the way we, and other players in the market, operate.
These innovations are affecting every part of DOOH from the screens to the teams. Even compared to five years ago we now have vastly improved LED screen technology that highlights the display quality, lowers energy consumption and provides better durability and reliability.
On top of that we also have the recent introduction of 5G to the channel. This fifth-generation technology allows for more digital content to hit screens faster and with less room for broadband error.
For the internal workings of our business we’re also seeing an evolution of the traditional CMS (Content Management System) platform. This is helping teams to cope with audience buying and flexible display times whilst still enabling them to manage the inventory and the media bookings that are coming in from agencies and advertisers.
Yet one of the biggest changes will undoubtedly be the rise in programmatic digital out of home (pDOOH) trading. Programmatic platforms are a huge tech advancement for the industry.
This channel will open up new budgets by shrinking the OOH media world. And it will all happen in the blink of an eye through supply side platforms (SSPs), demand side platforms (DSPs) and auto exchanges.
Once there is enough scale of inventory, programmatic technology will supercharge the growth of OOH, driven exclusively by DOOH.
Although the pandemic revolutionised many of the ways we operate DOOH, it also highlighted one area that needs a lot of attention.
There has been talk for a few years about how technology will lead the growth of the OOH media channel. But that talk has yet to push OOH beyond more than just a fringe channel, attracting just 5-6 percent of all ad spend in most markets.
Some of that suppression is self-inflicted owing to a lack of genuine media transparency and audience accountability.
COVID-19 shifted the goal posts as marketers and brands more closely scrutinise media metrics. Snap lockdowns and dramatic audience fluctuations showed the importance of having up-to-date insights on audience numbers so that advertisers could act and react accordingly.
Rather than blindly trusting historical data often used by traditional OOH providers, new technologies in the space are creating an industry-first opportunity for the channel to present real-time audience numbers.
LENS Technology and Analytics is one such software solution created amid the disruption of COVID-19. It was built as a direct response to overwhelming changes in OOH audience behaviours that could not be measured accurately by ill-suited platforms of the pre-pandemic era.
It’s also proof positive that with enough foresight and ingenuity the OOH industry can really move the needle.
Its superpower is the ability to specifically account for the dynamic volume, behaviours, and trends of digital out-of-home (DOOH) audiences. As an exclusive partner, it tells us where audiences are, how often they have visited sites and the vehicles they’re traveling in, with unparalleled accuracy.
This type of measurement is bringing engagement, trust, and reliability back to the OOH industry at a time when it is needed most.
Many have been singing the praises of the OOH trajectory in recent years, but are we being prematurely self-congratulatory? According to the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) the entire outdoor channel accounts for only 10.4 percent of agency advertising spend in Australia.
We need to do something about raising its profile and lifting the lid on the issues that plague its growth. With effort and focus around some key issues, we have the potential to double that to 20 percent in the next three years.
It’s only through the adoption of new technologies that we are going to see OOH secure the growth and the interest it deserves. These new capabilities make the channel more attractive, cost effective, efficient and trustworthy.
At LUMO we lean heavily on new innovative technologies that help us stand out from the crowd and provide our clients with opportunities never before seen in the DOOH space. But if the whole channel adopts a similar mindset, advertisers will become more confident, allowing the next stage of OOH evolution to really begin.
So let’s make it happen.