Buyers must tap into the power of programmatic digital OOH

Vistar Media's Ben Baker explores how to reach your audience in today’s uncertainty.

With shifting state and international mobility restrictions, the notion of travel has been redefined. CBDs of major cities were once overflowing with people, but as many professionals are now working remotely, the suburbs are seeing more movement. Regional shopping centres and petrol stations are seeing high foot traffic, and will continue to do so through the peak summer months, as many Australians take local long-weekend vacations.

The truth is, when it comes to audience behaviors, all previous assumptions about consumer habits (and buys based around those) no longer reflect consumer reality.

As a result, brands have been tasked with finding new and creative ways to reach consumers, which now not only move differently, but have developed new habits and needs. Because of this, brands need to have a flexible advertising strategy as the pandemic continues to change, and not make buys based on old assumptions.

Seeking more flexibility, less risk

Programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) allows brands to do this during times of uncertainty. With the ability to buy programmatically, brands can advertise on a diverse range of screens — sometimes in places you might not have even known to run ads. Additionally, programmatic allows for the quick and flexible activation of campaigns with just one click, similarly to the way other digital channels are bought.

Crucially these days, with programmatic, marketers can instantly shift budget and messaging as conditions adapt, allowing brands to invest in consumer engagement without risk. Campaigns can be even more contextually relevant and resonate with consumers. They can be activated by various triggers, such as weather, and run at that right place, at the right time, to the right consumer.

And with new technology, brands can analyse when and where consumers are moving, and activate DOOH screens only when their audience has the highest likelihood to be there. And looking to 2021, those locations may be very different from the past.

Embracing data-fueled audience targeting

GPS data can help build custom audience segments based upon behavioural based movement patterns to target personas as they move throughout the day. Comparing audience movement patterns reveals just how important it is to rely on data, not historical assumptions, to inform your purchasing decisions.

For example, in 2019, a global technology company built a custom audience of IT decision-makers in Sydney and targeted them with DOOH as they move throughout the day. After a successful first campaign, the brand wanted to leverage the same audience – understanding and adapting their DOOH campaign to the new movement patterns of this segment after the changes from the pandemic.

Now, despite restrictions, this audience segment is still very much out-and about, reflected via heatmaps – but instead of clustering tightly in the central business district, they are spending time in local areas as they work from home.

Extending strategies into OOH – and back to other channels

With the variety of audience targeting strategies available today, brands can rely on the same data that delivers for them in online channels to extend success into OOH. Whether first-party data on your loyal customers or a 3rd-party audience segment from a preferred data provider, you can inform your DOOH media purchasing with the same data that delivers for your brand in other channels.

On the flip side, it’s easier than ever today to take a DOOH campaign and extend that into online media through retargeting to create a true omni-channel messaging strategy. Again leveraging GPS data, you can identify exposed consumers while your campaign runs — based on when and where the ad was shown and device proximity at the time. These IDs can then be anonymised to safely run a retargeting campaign on mobile or any other channels.

Without leveraging data for precise targeting, brands will miss out on reaching consumers across the full variety of touchpoints available in the physical world, misalign their media spend by ineffectively activating against old patterns of audience behaviour. This year has undoubtedly thrown us for a loop, but brands are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the programmatic capabilities available in the market and enable truly data driven buying to meet the new needs of consumers — and must do so with programmatic DOOH.

Ben Baker is the sales director ANZ of Vistar Media.


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