How data is changing the game in Out of Home advertising

Volvo billboard advertising on road

By Tara Coverdale, oOh!media Data and Insights Director

It’s hard to cast your mind back to a time before the industry was spruiking the benefits of taking a data led approach to everything from audience profiling, planning, buying, and metrics to demonstrate success. The explosion of data across the media landscape has impacted all media categories, including the previously data poor Out of Home industry. We are now faced with almost too much data, every media operator has a data offering, and the question lies, is all data created equal?

When I first joined oOh!media 12 years ago, the industry’s use of data was in its infancy. Industry audience measurement was in development with survey data available, however providing only a macro view of consumer behaviour.

Beyond that, while it was understood people spent a significant amount of time out and about every week, and that outdoor media reached broadcast audiences as a ‘one to many’ medium, the industry was data poor when it came to understanding audience movement and profiles at location.

Fast forward to today, and the situation has changed dramatically. The Out of Home industry has accelerated and developed significantly in exploring and applying the power of data in greater depth  to better understand audience profiles at location – a key development as advertisers seek greater confidence in delivering their message to more of the right people to influence business outcomes.

Here at oOh! we have been on this journey too, and over the past five years in particular have ramped up our efforts to bring unique, robust, trusted data into our business. The aim has been to deliver deeper insight, built from real data and based on actual behaviour, into audiences at location, and deliver that at scale across our national network.

This ability to capture data has evolved significantly over the last decade so much so that we likely couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago where we would be today. This is thanks to numerous developments in hardware and software, from increased digitization in many walks of life to larger and faster platforms on which to store and process information to the development of sophisticated algorithms that now only take seconds to search and analyse billions of data points, saving hours of research and boosting insight capability exponentially.

This embarrassment of riches when it comes to data has led to the growth of specialist companies who collect, analyse and partner with businesses like ours to provide access to anonymised datasets across a wide swathe of the economy. In short, we are swimming in data, and now have the technology and the tools to capitalise on what it can tell us.

Data evolution

Our journey at oOh! from basic data collection to today’s sophisticated methodologies has been fuelled by years of investment in people and expertise. Beginning with just a couple of individuals, we now have a team of data scientists, engineers, developers and analysts who specialise in how data can be used to drive ROI for clients, capturing ever-increasing slices of aggregated audience groups as they go about their daily lives.

As a location-based business, understanding the audience who lives around our advertising locations is not enough. In recent years we have stepped up our commitment to understanding the profile and movement of audience groups at out of home location, activating that through the build of easy-to-use applications and tools to demonstrate superior targeting to inform planning.

We bring that expertise to life through our recently launched Smart Reach product. Smart Reach sits within our DataScience offering, encompassing industry leading tools and capabilities aiming to deliver unparalleled audience insight at location, industry and audience profiling, creative effectiveness tools and access to the largest database of ROI norms in the country. Smart Reach is a global leading Out of Home planning tool powered by two trillion data points and combining the most robust anonymised transactional and movement based datasets available. Smart Reach enables advertisers to maximise their media spend and reach, and is proven to deliver on average 25% more active buyers, also known as category buyers through unmatched targeting across the Out of Home media landscape.

A wide breadth of data sources allows us to bring to life this global-first data offering and give our clients uniquely valuable audience insights to plan and execute their Out of Home campaigns. For instance, through our work with data partner Quantium, Smart Reach draws upon an unrivalled picture of the travel and shopping behaviours of 80% of Australian households based on de-identified and aggregated data. This enables Smart Reach to map the behaviours of audience segments, based on actual consumer behaviour, for an unparalleled understanding of the oOh! locations they are exposed to.

Smart Reach informs the effectiveness of campaigns across multiple Out of Home formats that, for example, combine Road, Commute and Retail assets to build strategic responses that drive the strongest ROI – playing to the strength of each format in achieving an advertisers objective and identifying the optimal mix of locations to deliver that message. It’s this combination of an extensive network of physical and digital assets, combined with data-led research, that gives advertisers the best chance of ROI success.

Driving Volvo sales

A recent example demonstrates this approach in practice. To introduce the Volvo Omtanke – To Think Again campaign to the Australian market in 2018, the Swedish company chose to launch with a large format oOh! Road campaign prior to running a national TV campaign.

The oOh! Road campaign was planned using Smart Reach. The strategy was to optimise campaign placement across digital Roadside locations to deliver on the ‘big family’, ‘singles’ and ’young couples’ car buyer categories. The solution also utilised audience data to tailor creative to each location, ensuring the most relevant message was delivered to either young singles and couples or big family audiences.

The solution delivered 1.6 million (53%) singles and young couples car buyers, and 1.2million (58%)  big family car buyers, engaging audiences on average 4.4 times over the campaign period.

The results of this campaign were validated by independent research agency Dynata, who found high levels of recall for the oOh! Road campaign among key targets (42% among those in the market for a new car, and 46% among the affluent younger audience). Dynata also found 43% of those who recalled the campaign took some kind of action as a result of seeing it, as well as a significant uplift in recommendation (+104%) and consideration (+136%) among those who recalled the oOh! Road campaign compared to pre-campaign benchmarks.

New opportunities with neuroscience

These are real results from today, derived from real data. Campaigns such as this also open the door to other possibilities to further drive positive outcomes based on emerging technologies, which hold the promise of delivering even more effectiveness in future years. One example also used in the Volvo campaign was oOh!’s multimedia creative optimisation tool, known as the ‘Iconic Trigger’.

Grounded in neuroscience, Iconic Trigger research was conducted by Neuro Insight, a world leader in the field on 70 different TVC campaigns. Their team found that by identifying the most powerful, or iconic, moment in a TV commercial or video pre-roll and applying it to Out of Home, advertisers could increase a respondent’s long-term memory by +42%, which is a measure strongly linked to enhancing the overall ROI of a campaign.

This relationship between advertising and neuroscience is fertile ground for further exploration, and will doubtless lead to the development of other tools and insights across the industry, reinforcing brand messaging and maximising return on investment across multiple advertising formats via capturing people’s attention in ever more creative ways.

Return on investment

Advertisers are increasingly taking a multimedia approach to engage with consumers at various points along the customer journey. Out of Home is fast becoming a priority media partner that can be used very effectively in combination with other media

The latest research study accessing the ROI norms across 140+ brands and derived from over $9bn in advertising spend in Australia by Analytic Partners for their audience, shows that the combination of TV, digital and Out of Home drove the strongest ROI. This combination drives a 27% incremental increase on top of the ROI delivered by each of the mediums separately. Additionally, the optimum results for campaigns with a media spend of under $1 million were achieved with a media mix of Digital and Out of Home. And campaigns that had more than six per cent of their media spend in Out of Home achieved a 57% ROI, while those which spent under that amount only achieved a 41% ROI.

The study with Analytic Partners displayed for their clients an average doubling of ROI growth when buying media through a category buyer approach vs demographic targeting. Research such as these show how data can be used to help inform not only the best combination of assets, but also how various Out of Home formats can be combined, and how they can work with other media, to drive results for clients.

Extensive data collection and analysis underpins all of these initiatives and shows just how far we have come from those tentative early steps evident a decade ago.

The industry has evolved dramatically in its complexity, but greater levels of data collection and analysis, combined with new research and technological advances, mean that we may still only be scratching the surface of what is possible in the years to come.

First published in AdNews