Industry POV

The digital future of outdoor advertising

07 Mar 2017

As advertising has moved on from television and newspaper columns to the web and social media, the digital wave has had its share of patrons and critics. However, for out-of-home advertising solutions, these digital trends have ushered in a new set of tools that help companies offer more personalised products to customers.

Irrespective of differences between markets, clientele, or age-groups, most OOH solutions earlier featured a one-size-fits-all solution. Cut to the present, outdoor advertising calls for a more targeted, data-driven, responsive, and personalised approach.  As per the Digital Place Based Advertising Association’s (DPBAA) eighth annual survey, over 61 percent respondents were keen on including digital place-based solutions in their outdoor advertising spends.

Here are a few ways in which outdoor advertising is embracing the digital push:

Digital screens: The number of digital screens you might spot in public spaces is going up. The rise in digital screens across cities may have a lot to do with relaxed government regulations and the lower cost of putting up LED screens.  As per Milestone Brandcom’s Nabendu Bhattacharyya, the rise in controlled environment mediums like at Indira Gandhi International  Airport’s T3, modern airports in cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and Metro rail services have contributed to the digitisation of outdoor advertising.

Hypertargeting consumers: Thanks to technology, there is a variety of data sources available to advertisers to gain new insights about consumers.  Details like web browsing history, mobile carrier data, and purchase records can help companies hypertarget people to expand their reach.

Technological advances: Most millennials today are a part of the smartphone generation, which is on its feet a major part of the day. In view of such an on-the-go lifestyle, outdoor advertising has become an important medium for companies. With technological advances like increased mobile penetration, it has become easier for brands to interact with the consumer in a more engaging manner.  For instance, at the IGI Airport, advertisers are using technologies like geo-tagging, augmented reality, and facial recognition.

The e-commerce boost: For many experts, the rise of e-commerce in India has had a huge role to play in the digital transformation of outdoor advertising.  For Craftsvilla.com’s Chief business Officer, Manish Kalra, while OOH works as a ‘reminder media’ for e-commerce brands, it is the emphasis on reaching out to customers in high-reach and high-impact locations that makes digitised OOH indispensable for them. For a communication campaign for promoting ethnic fashion in 2015, the online fashion retailer rented strategic sites across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.

You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape the digital push in OOH advertising! For most advertisers it falls in the natural order of things and shying away from it would be missing the bus. With a more streamlined focus, outdoor advertising is also one of the few sectors which have adapted well to the changes in consumers’ preferences. Digital outdoor advertising is expected to go up in the near future as OOH players opt for more customised and innovative products for brands.

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