By Christina Radigan
A timelapse of Times Square in New York from July 2019 shows crowds of visitors surrounded by towering video screens. A recent Harris Poll for OAAA shows people are noticing OOH ads 41 percent more than before the pandemic. daumiu/Getty Images
Video-based formats have been an increasing focus for marketers in just about every context. Video content has the power to tell better stories, capture and hold audience attention, and connect consumers to brands in more engaging ways than other formats. Video is high impact and highly effective — and in today’s multichannel, data-driven world, it can transcend the journey of the connected consumer.
During the pandemic, consumer attention turned to digital. While video spend rose, per AdExchanger, the channels in which it was being delivered faced challenges. Chief among them: audience fragmentation. Most viewers are distracted by multiple screens when they are “tuned in.” Linear TV is rife with cord-cutting, brand safety remains a concern across channels, and many consumers go out of their way to block advertising.
Post-pandemic, people are stepping outside of their homes with a new lens on out-of-home (OOH) media. After more than a year of stay-at-home mandates, consumers have digital media fatigue. A recent Harris Poll for the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) found that people are noticing OOH ads 41 percent more than before the pandemic. That, combined with video ad spend poised to reach $70 billion by 2024, according to eMarketer, means digital video out-of-home (VOOH) presents new opportunities for brands to reach audiences in new ways.
There are four reasons it’s time for advertisers to embrace VOOH as part of the larger marketing mix alongside other channels.
1. Stronger Reach and Awareness
Digital video out-of-home refers to IP-addressable digital displays that are placed at various consumer touchpoints outside of the home and which are comprised of custom-curated, contextually relevant content.
VOOH delivers mass reach and awareness and has the power to surround the consumer, wherever they may be, throughout the purchase funnel. Competing for consumer attention is a challenge, as the average person is served thousands of ads per day. To draw focus and make a lasting impression, advertisers need frequency alongside a medium that is effective in reaching their audiences.
Adding media in public spaces dramatically boosts audience reach. A 2019 MRI-Simmons study shows that adding media in public spaces greatly improves incremental audience reach among heavy media consumers. Additionally, according to Nielsen data, the top 10 VOOH networks (excluding cinema) have a 30 percent higher reach of adults aged 18–34 over cable and 31 percent higher than broadcast. Among adults aged 25–54, the top 10 VOOH networks (without cinema) have more than 15 percent higher reach than cable and 9 percent higher than broadcast.
2. Premium Inventory
Demand for premium video ad inventory is high — brands want to ensure campaigns are viewable, brand-safe, and fraud-free. Despite the explosion of digital inventory, premium video inventory that meets these criteria is scarce, and with the rise of publisher subscriptions and pay walls, premium video inventory with reach is even more scarce.
OAAA estimates VOOH is available on 1.25 million high-quality, large screens across the U.S. VOOH is also 100 percent viewable, with no “above the fold” or “below the fold,” and it’s the one programmatic channel that remains bot-free.
VOOH is ever-present and it doesn’t need to be turned on, tuned into, clicked through, or opened to view. Digital VOOH is seemingly everywhere and always relevant. Privacy standards have granted consumers the ability to delay, skip, and block ads that are interruptive, irrelevant, or have reached them without permission.
Digital screens in public spaces are designed to capture the attention of consumers passing by with short-form content — the same content advertisers may already be using on social media or elsewhere online. The key differentiator is that it is physically impossible to “tune-out” a beautiful ever-present screen. Consider the luminosity of Times Square or vibrancy of a sports stadium’s giant screens. People can’t avoid the awe-inspiring video displays — and don’t really want to.
4. Greater Recall
OOH generates up to 67 percent ad recall, higher than all other channels noted in a 2017 Peter J. Solomon Co. study, OAAA notes. It is also more trusted than any digital channel, including online, mobile, and social advertising, according to a 2020 study by Vistar Media and MFour, as reported in DailyDOOH. Where digital offers advertisers’ frequency, amplifying that same message in a contextually relevant setting invites more favorability and therefore greater recall. Context allows marketers to engage more directly with consumers, making the campaign more relevant and memorable, with higher impact.
What’s more, the MFour/Vistar Media study found that 88 percent of consumers assert stronger favorability to ads in contextual environments, and the same number share that they like these advertisements.
As the world grasps a new normal, one thing is certain — brands need to rethink buying strategies if they want to reach audiences in new ways. The proliferation of digital video out-of-home means advertisers have massive opportunities to activate rich, engaging experiences in virtually every environment in the public space.
About Author: Christina Radigan is the CMO at OAAA, a partner in the ANA Thought Leadership Program.