Why digital marketers must embrace out of home (OOH) in GDPR world

Fast evolving OOH is becoming increasingly important and offering new opportunities to digital marketers in the GDPR age. Now is the time for you to look at OOH if you are serious about driving market share.

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GDPR is set to bring significant changes for digital marketers who are currently using data to target customers online. With GDPR requiring stringent opt-ins from consumers and the “right to explanation” on how their data is or has been used, many marketers and technology companies aren’t yet ready for this new era. As a result, much of the customer data in their databases, and those at their current buying partners, may not be usable come 25th May, which will have a massive impact on their future traditional digital marketing activity.

I anticipate that marketers will be much more cautious when these new regulations come in which will result in a significant drop in online advertising activity. A wait and see approach from data companies on how the situation unfolds before building systems to comply with the new regulations will also impact on marketing activity. In fact, we have seen that some of these companies have pulled out of the European market completely.

None of this is good news for advertisers. Especially in the current economic climate as experience has shown us that reducing advertising spend within a competitive market can have serious detrimental effects, negatively impacting on awareness and sales.

What’s the solution for digital marketers?

Looking at alternative media channels where the impact of GDPR is less of an issue, and where the data required is already anonymised and GDPR compliant, is vital. One such media is digital out of home (DOOH). Digital OOH is offering new ways to target consumers, it’s possible to use GDPR compliant data to improve the targeting of OOH campaigns, and research reveals that OOH is the most effective media at driving online activity.

The fast-evolving OOH market is opening up exciting new opportunities for advertisers, particularly through the growth of digital screens.

These are offering a raft of new advertising opportunities and changing the way OOH is purchased, making it very similar to other media channels - specifically online.

The exciting thing for traditional direct marketers is that they are are best placed to take advantage of some of the new functionality offered within digital OOH, including:

  • Geo-targeting for moving media – highly targeted creative messages to specific parts of a town or city via digital taxi or bus screens
  • High fidelity day part targeting – eliminating wastage and offering advertisers the ability to target commuters during core times of day. For example, offering a restaurant the ability to run a different creative for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the same digital screen
  • Full motion creative and audio - allowing advertisers to run music with film trailer creative in environments like shopping centres
  • Live social media feeds – enabling the content on the screen to be changed by somebody messaging through a social media channel

It’s worth bearing in mind that digital marketers who have consumer data, which is GDPR compliant, can also use this within OOH to identify locations that index highly for people interested in their products. This results in the ability to deliver highly targeted campaigns, by purchasing screens in areas where there are people interested in and more likely to buy their products.

Why OOH is a standout channel for digital marketers

Digital marketers like working with channels that deliver linear ROI and are able to justify a return for every pound spent. Well, the good news with OOH is this doesn’t change.

Research in the USA by Nielsen in 2017 revealed that OOH is the most effective at driving online activity. It highlighted OOH delivers more online activity per ad dollar spent compared to TV, radio and print.

Interestingly, it found online activations, including search, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram activity generated by OOH indexes at about four times the expected rate given its relative ad spend.

Nearly five in 10 US adults (46 per cent) have used Google, Bing, Yahoo, or another Internet search engine to look up information after seeing or hearing something advertised on a billboard, bus shelter, or other OOH format in the past six months. Also, nearly 40 per cent have visited a Facebook page or posted a message on Facebook after seeing an OOH ad.

Why OOH is a good alternative for online budgets:

1) OOH drives brand awareness – by directing more people online to search for the advertiser’s product, service or brand.

2) Online media can be used to test and inform the OOH creative messaging – delivering standout campaigns

3) Digital advertisers can use online activity as an ROI measure - by implementing an A/B Test to look at how online performs, when it runs in isolation, compared to how it performs when supported by OOH. Digital advertisers have access to an ROI metric which will show the performance driven directly from the OOH activity.

With GDPR looming, and the skill sets which currently sit with digital marketers, now is the time to look at different media routes and be prepared to try new things to grow market share. OOH should be at the top of that list, and be embraced because of the opportunity it provides.