Opinion: Why digital OOH advertising is especially effective right now

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Marketers have new opportunities to reach consumers as restrictions on travel and commerce ease in states throughout the U.S.

In recent weeks, many major cities have seen double-digit lifts in movement outside the home compared to early April, according to data from location tracking company Ubimo. In some locales, traffic has returned to levels at or near what it was before the COVID crisis, the data shows. And as consumers emerge for more activities — including drinking, dining, grooming and some gym-going — it’s an opportune moment to reach them.

“Today, as people take their purposeful trips there is less distraction and noise,” Gilad Amitai, Ubimo’s COO and co-founder, wrote on the blog of parent company Quotient. “Brands can reach consumers with little distraction in the critical moments before they make their purchasing decisions.”

He noted that out-of-home advertising (OOH) gives marketers the chance to reach customers just before they go into a venue where they’ll make a purchase.

As marketers reinvigorate OOH messaging, though, they also need to prepare for fast-changing circumstances. More than ever in recent memory, marketers need to target and message according to what’s happening on the ground in near real time. Even in geographies where car and foot traffic is up, overall, trends fluctuate week-to-week as consumers watch the news and officials tighten or loosen the rules. Protests and curfews in dozens of cities have added new considerations to the mix.

Realistically, digital is one of the few ways to manage the complexity for OOH messaging. There are about 220,000 digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH) screens in America today, and the numbers may grow. DOOH can be activated in 72 hours or less, compared with weeks for traditional OOH, and in as little as 24 hours for the more than 10% of screens currently transacted via programmatic — another percentage that’s growing.

Marketers using DOOH can move spend among geographies and also mix and match across mobile and other channels, using omnichannel data from them all to optimize as circumstances shift. They can deploy dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to hone in on the types of creative executions showing the most positive effects, changing based on traffic and weather patterns, for example. They can also underweight messaging where their products have become less available due to distribution glitches or spikes in demand.


Roey Franco

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