How to deploy DOOH during fast market shifts

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With cities reopening throughout the U.S. and activity outside the home increasing, out-of-home advertising (OOH) is also picking up. Now, restaurants are serving meals, air travel is ticking up, hotels are booking more rooms, and people are walking and driving more, according to data compiled by The New York Times. Digital OOH (DOOH) can help marketers reach potential consumers, while integrating messaging across channels for maximum effect.

DOOH in the new normal

Because consumers’ behaviors vary widely by region, marketers using DOOH will want to keep adjusting, to match their messaging to what works.

For out-of-home advertising, digital screens used in tandem with other opportunities, with data harnessed and fast shifts to changing circumstances, will bear the most positive fruit.

Here, then, are tips to manage DOOH campaigns in the new and changing landscapes:

1) Move marketing to match activity

It’s glaringly obvious that ads work only if people have the chance to see them. DOOH spend needs to be targeted to screens that will have the most robust chance for exposure, such as billboards, street-level pedestrian units, and those at gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores.

2) Watch geographies

Where marketers could once set a campaign and check in periodically, there’s a lot more variation by region now, and changes are more frequent.

Some beach communities are opening up, others are open but with restrictions. In outdoor venues like parking lots, performances are being held and movies shown to audiences in their cars. And it all keeps shifting.

3) Sync messaging to mobile screens

The IAB quotes research that shows OOH increases clickthroughs on mobile by 15%. Advertisers need to mix, match, and move messages among screens to reach consumers with the right messages, at the right time, in the right place to engage and re-engage people.

That also means targeting, measuring, and optimizing across channels to drive the best possible results

4) Pay attention to the news

Data is a digital marketer’s right hand but it’s available only after the fact.

Forward-looking marketers attuned to news reports, social media, and other listening signals can use DOOH to add, remove, or change placements and creative messaging in as little as 24-72 hours, and adjust messaging on other screens to enhance the DOOH exposures.

5) Watch the creative

Marketers can move ads onto or away from screens, or swap out creative to capitalize on news events, or to avoid potentially jarring juxtapositions.

And, as in more other epochs, DOOH that’s run through programmatic platforms allows for dynamic creative optimization to adjust creative elements automatically according to what the AI shows is working outdoors, and on other screens the consumer can see.

6) Communicate with your organization

Supply chains are still behaving differently than before the COVID crisis, and marketers need to move messages to where products are available. There’s little point in spurring demand to areas where the product can’t be purchased.

7) Look for shifting demos

Driving routes and the demographic profiles on those routes may change, too, as some consumers choose to avoid hotels and wealthier people leave their urban abodes for suburban homes. U.S. consumers are taking more trips by automobile, fewer by plane and train.

In New York, the most public-transit-friendly U.S. city, both car sales and bike traffic are rising much faster than normal.

All of that means that both traffic and movement patterns and the demographic profiles of who sees DOOH screens in those places are likely to shift, and keep shifting. Consumers can be reached at home, again as they move about, and again at home.

8) Think afresh about a screen’s surroundings

With commuting and travel patterns changed, signs in train stations and airports might on the one hand have fewer customer exposures to offer but may also be in less-cluttered environments — and be had at discounted rates.

Signs close to stores might have more impact than usual as socially distanced shoppers line up outside. Look for opportunities.

9) Know your categories

Some brands, such as travel and entertainment, have been way down in purchases and in messaging, for obvious reasons.

For marketers getting back into the market, it can be a fertile environment to not only show messages but also have them stand out. For brands in categories that are doing well, such as essential CPG goods, marketing reminds consumers of the brands they know — or new ones they should try.

10) Don’t forget the usual considerations

Consumer behavior still varies a lot according to weather and other factors, just as in normal times. Marketers will want to move messages and adjust creative to drive the greatest positive outcomes.

Prepping for the post-pandemic economy

The OOH market was valued last year at $8.1 billion globally, according to Marketwatch, and despite the disruptions it is expected to continue growing.

While a recession has officially been declared, there’s also been a surprising uptick in employment numbers. The economy will recover — the only question is when.

When it does, marketers who’ve gathered data and learnings will be that much better at effectively and efficiently deploying their marketing spend as more screens become available outside the home.

Consumers are adjusting to the current environment, and their behaviors and attitudes will continue to evolve. Throughout, they have continued to welcome advertising messages that help them and that strike the right tone. What marketers shouldn’t do is stay away.

As Mower Insight Group writes on ClickZ: “History shows it’s in a brand’s best interest to continue to advertise through an economic downturn.”

Doing it deftly will make that advertising even more effective and stand brands in good stead to succeed even more as economic conditions improve.

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