Over the last decade, data has fast become a new currency for advertisers. Its intrinsic value lies in the ability to offer advertisers a more granular understanding of audiences, enabling them to drive revenue through more effective targeting. Today, the vast majority of advertising capitalises on data to some degree.
Of course, the increased connectivity of our world over the past ten years has been a determining factor in the rise of data-driven advertising. Internet-enabled devices generate vast amounts of user data that can inform campaigns, particularly those delivered via web, mobile and via social media. Even traditional mediums such as TV and print are benefitting from user-generated data as more people view content through connected devices.
Far from fading into the shadows of its digital counterparts, out-of-home advertising has developed sophisticated methods and tools to enhance the effectiveness of the medium through data and, by doing so, has injected some much needed competition in the market. Out-of-home by its very nature is passively consumed and, therefore, does not directly generate data by itself. However, there is increasing use of interactive, socially-driven campaigns where content is published directly from social media to digital screens, or beacon technology is used to deliver targeted in-app messages to mobile devices in certain locations. This more interactive approach to out-of-home not only creates greater consumer engagement, but also enables us to create better metrics to understand these new ways of interacting.
Exterion Media is in the fortunate position in the UK of working predominantly in transit environments. These are point-to-point transport networks that are increasingly moving towards smart ticketing and also offering their customers a connected experience through the use of wi-fi and other technologies such as beacons.
All of this means that we have a genuine opportunity to understand in detail how our audiences flow and move over time across these networks. Think about it as a little bit like the way that a user navigates a website - they start at the home page (their home station), they click and browse through various pages (stations or stops on their route) and then exit the site and their final page (their exit station). In the same way as cookies allow publishers to make sense of these journeys, we have the benefit of touch-in and touch-out data along with the potential to utilise data from devices connecting to networks over the course of their journey.
All of this creates good quality and, in some circumstances, real-time data that creates better targeting opportunities through the segmentation of audiences behaviourally, spatially and in time. Having segmented these audiences and understood how they relate to our assets, we can then deliver optimised content whether that be to classic formats or to digital screens.
The benefit to brands is to deliver more effective campaigns while also providing more transparency and measurability. For consumers, the benefit is being exposed to more relevant and timely messages. Out-of-home media is becoming a quantifiable, data-based communications channel, generating ever-increasing revenues through enhanced accuracy and insights.
With an increasing digital footprint, out-of-home media has also become more flexible, dynamic and responsive. For example, we have high-impact digital screens with data-driven capabilities which allow for tailored content based on information such as offers from retailers based on real-time stock data or messaging based on news or events. These capabilities offer brands and advertisers the opportunity to provide more contextual relevance for consumers which drives stronger engagement.
The ever-increasing connectivity of our world is creating vast amounts of data for advertisers, so it’s more important than ever that companies invest in data and digital capabilities through the right systems, products and talent. The out-of-home sector has invested heavily in its data credentials over the past few years, positioning itself alongside other digital players in terms of reach, engagement and sophistication. If data really is the new currency, outdoor advertising is on a path to give the big digital players a run for their money in 2017.