What is promising is the upward momentum building around the need of having inclusive and integrated OOH platforms which will serve the needs of today’s communication realm, which is data driven and tech oriented
RD, Posterscope Asia Pacific & MD,
Posterscope Group India
OOH advertising is one of the oldest and resilient mediums that has stood the test of times. In the age where digital is no longer a connotation referable to electronic platforms of communication but an indispensable unit that is now in use in everything we do, OOH too has evolved with this so called digital wave of transformation. From place-based focus in which format type and size played a vital role in validation, data, technology and custom content are now probably the new areas of focus for businesses and their partners which are eyeing to keep their anchors held to these new tenets. But for India, the DOOH story is yet to be written and its protagonists have a much greater role to play for its success to shine through and to come at par with the rest of the world.
What is promising to see is the upward momentum building around the need of having inclusive and integrated OOH platforms which will serve the needs of today’s communication realm, which is data-driven and tech-oriented. Few emerging and palpable trends are interesting to observe closely.
India’s smart city imperative
The first announcement of the ‘Smart City Mission’ in 2015 by the Union Government gave new heights to infrastructural aspirations of the country. The programme very aptly defines what exactly is a ‘Smart City’ by focusing on several problems that are imminent to be addressed, in brief, amongst key areas – urban mobility is what we shall consider for discussion as it directly corresponds to how the future of OOH, particularly its digital side will take shape. The top three addressable solutions mentioned in the smart city charter are – smart parking, intelligent traffic management and integrated multimodal transport system.
For a truly interconnected network aimed at managing urban mobility in a smart city, OOH systems will play the most significant role and witness growth in transit, street furniture and indoor digital inventories. They will harness location-based information while using the same to connect intelligently to the audiences, no longer to be seen as a non-conforming layer but an integral fabric of the existing infrastructure.
Technology integration such as advanced visual imaging and recognition will be used to assist connectivity and networking. This shift will create much needed value for the advertisers using the new mediums. OOH ads will have the highest reach range, getting eyeballs from relevant populations, owing to high levels of urbanisation in smart cities. Estimates have it that the share of static / conventional formats will drop by 4% in the next five years and digital formats will rise by 8% (Source: Magna intelligence & IPG Mediabrands report 2017). This will be interesting to watch for a market like India in which 90% of the existing formats are static.
Leveraging and sharing domain expertise have resulted in creation of lateral ideas and new platforms, and there could not be a better time to invest in such partnerships. Examples of rising DOOH’s demand in mature markets like the US have created unique partnerships that allow effective media buys and sale. One such partnership between Clear Channel and ‘The Rubicon Project Platform’ enables smarter and easier buys of digital media inventories. This nexus addresses advertisers’ rising demand by tappinginto audience data that integrates into DOOH. In India, though the medium itself needs time to expand and flourish, but such partnerships will ensure media-platform abridgement and help the medium advance to times in which the rest of the world is. PPP (Public private partnerships) will also help in bringing applicable ideas that were earlier just scribbles in a note.
The agency business
With the entire OOH ecosystem evolving, change in business processes will have to adapt to the shift. We have lately seen many clients who spend perennially on various media including OOH somewhat pushing agencies to be more solution driven; their objective with each campaign is now measured on actionable KPIs visible during and after campaigns and agencies with data support and framework will lead the game in becoming their collaborators in the long run.
This also puts them alongside competition with other non-mainstream players who have strong data knowledge and process automation lineage. Tech and IT consultancies are already neck to neck with digital media agencies and soon OOH services in the digital form will appear in their offerings suite. While this change is daunting, it also poses an opportunity for agencies to step up their game and foray into unexplored spaces to broaden both expertise and revenues. The rise of consultancies is just a reflection of how much marketing is changing and where does DOOH stand to deliver business goals, not just brand goals. This seems to outflank the thought of brand building through straightforward advertising and invites new paradigm of brand building through direct interactions which in OOH environments will add unparalleled value.