What is digital OOH?

What is digital OOH?


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Out-of-home (OOH) advertising has been around for centuries but over the last decade, this traditional form of advertising has been revolutionised by digital technologies.

Out-of-home advertising is all in the name, relating to adverts that reach customers when they are out and about. The main formats of this advertising technique are billboards, vending machines, bus stops, and in or on transport. These formats have not changed as people still travel in the same way (for now…), however, the techniques have been updated to suit a digital age.

Digital OOH is on the rise in the UK. In 2009 there were 2,056 digital screens across Britain and by 2019 this had grown to over 11,000. A key reason for this rapid growth is the falling prices of LCD and LED screens, allowing cities across the country to install displays in a variety of locations. Digital OOH offers unparalleled viewability and targeted personal experiences, providing brands with access to audience insights that can be used to accelerate business, such as mobile location marketing, facial recognition, or even smartwatch data.

Digital displays on pedestrianised streets now have facial recognition, touchscreens, and Wi-Fi too. These provide a range of possibilities for consumer interaction. Users who connect to the display’s internet will provide advantageous data for the brand. We have pioneered our very own Lookinglass® technology which provides a new path for human digital interaction. Lookinglass® allows businesses to trace consumer attention and movements to gather useful analytical data. This means that we can offer live and dynamic reporting to understand how users are interacting with products – an essential offering in digital OOH advertising.

While some digital OOH advertising is very similar to traditional OOH, the more modern displays have very innovative customer engagement techniques. For example, consumers can connect to an ad via mobile, using augmented reality to build a relationship between the user and brand. An NHS blood donation campaign allowed passers-by to wirelessly connect their phones to the display where augmented reality was used on their device to show how blood would be taken (if they were to donate). The patients featured in the ads had their lives saved as a result of blood donations too – giving emphasis to the reality of giving blood. This, coupled with the augmented reality, evokes an emotional response in the user, with the hope of encouraging them to support blood donations.

Another example of digital OOH includes Walkers crisps using their most famous face, Gary Lineker, in a campaign which involved the former footballer appearing to be sat in a vending machine. The virtual Lineker encouraged people waiting for their bus to tweet a unique hashtag to the Walkers crisps social account. In doing this, Lineker would drop a packet of crisps down the vending chute for the customer. It was a distinctive and entertaining way to build a relationship with the customer on several levels, as well as creating a wide-spread conversation on social media. The Walkers promotion was also filmed and used for a TV advert, linking the companies OOH advertising to their in-house work. Making use of Lookinglass® technology could arouse customers in a similar way – our product features gaze tracking technology, ‘dwell time’ tracking, and social engine connections that would allow a brand to build a comparable campaign.

Likewise, Pepsi placed a piece of glass on an Oxford Street bus stop which at first glance looked like a window showing pedestrians on the other side. However, augmented reality then made it look like an alien attack was taking place through the glass, or an asteroid had just plummeted onto the street. As with Walkers, Pepsi filmed people’s shocked reactions and used the footage for a TV advert. The “wow” factor allowed the brand to be a talking point and created a modern brand image.

Additionally, British Airways (BA) used a giant billboard in Piccadilly Circus to show a young boy walking around pointing to real planes as the flew over London. The destination and flight number then appeared with the phrase #LookUp. This encouraged onlookers to engage with the ad and consider real flights with BA. The brand is then likely to be strengthened in the customers' mind and helps to create a desire for a holiday of their own. The potential for campaigns like this is extraordinary, hence why our Lookinglass® technology is causing a stir of excitement in the vending and signage sectors.

As one would expect digital OOH is the future of public space advertising. PwC predicts that digital OOH advertising revenues will overtake traditional OHH revenues in 2020, with the digital variety growing at a rate of 15% per year. The synergy between OOH and in-house advertising could also increase, with brands recognising that creating a one-off ultra-innovative digital advertising campaign will help curate a modern reputation for the company.

We’re ahead of the game with our innovative Lookinglass® platform - a break-through in technology which will continue to alter the OOH digital landscape. Contact us for more information on our services.


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