Look Before Leaping Onto the Digital OOH Bandwagon

Despite those who proclaim the downfall of “traditional” and “offline” media, out-of-home (OOH) continues to grow. According to Media Post, the industry took in $1.5 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2013, a 4.5-percent lift from the year before. This marks the 12th straight quarter of increases.

Much of the growth is credited to the expansion of digital OOH boards. These boards offer brands endless opportunities they couldn’t even imagine a decade ago. It has also brought new life to the industry.

That said, marketers shouldn’t immediately order their media agencies to snap up digital billboards. Depending on the marketing strategy, there are times when brand should not be using digital OOH boards.

When Creative Flexibility Isn’t a Priority
Vendors are still not discounting impressions on digital boards, even though the media is shared space. Marketers don’t need to share if they don’t have to. If advertisers don’t need to quickly change creative, or are running a limited number of messages over the course of a campaign, it is better to “own” that board than risk the message getting missed.

When OOH Is the Awareness-Building Vehicle
OOH is traditionally purchased in four-week periods, but digital OOH can be purchased for a week or even a couple of days, which is great for promotions or events. However, if OOH is being used as an awareness and brand builder, the client should have a more stable and long-term presence in the market.

When Dynamic Possibilities Aren’t Needed
Digital OOH offers exciting, dynamic possibilities, including live updates, simple countdowns, social media integration and even crowdsourcing. But dynamic messaging may not be right to meet the campaign’s objectives. Also, vendor capabilities vary greatly, making it hard to have a cohesive campaign across multiple markets.

One last consideration not highlighted above is client priority locations. If a client needs to target a particular geographical area or a specific retail center, location should trump everything. The best location should be chosen regardless of whether the board is static or digital.

OOH is a strong space in an ever-changing and ever-moving world, regardless of format. And like any media, from the most shiny-new digital to tried and true traditional, advertisers must always step back and see if it fits into their overall marketing plan and brand story.

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Gretchen Reisner
Gretchen Reisner

Gretchen's deep expertise in broadcast, print and out-of-home is an asset to the programmatic buying team as more media spaces are being bought programmatically. Gretchen views media agnostically and believes in results-driven media plans.