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Indian OOH: Chaotically Organised

By M4G Bureau - November 19, 2019

Investments in infrastructure, audience metrics and technologies will go a long way toward increasing OOH’s share of the ad budgets

Yatin BalyanIndian outdoor medium reminds me of Mumbai local trains where people board the train in the most chaotic way, which is obviously not the best way to board. But I must say, it is the most effective way that ensures everyone is onboard.

Similarly, OOH is also a chaotically organised medium. Although there is not much data available to substantiate its effectiveness, there are enough case studies in place across categories that indicate the impact and effectiveness of the medium.

It is also perhaps the most traditional form of media that has not got its due because of the obvious lack of investments in infrastructure and measurement.

With growing emphasis on KPI accountabilities, performance and a media-agnostic approach to media planning and investment, OOH is seen to in the outer circle of the planner’s consideration set and usually gets discussed independent of the investment framework. They key challenges from the planning perspective is that the medium is very fragmented with no standardisation of display formats, and the planning is done without the support of an independent body of OOH audience measurement metrics. The additional challenge of securing outdoor assets and with no monitoring mechanisms, especially for campaigns targeted at different geographies, makes the campaign execution a daunting task.

The one big plus going for outdoor is that the audience base of the medium is growing in the wake of a greater number of people being on the move, outside their respective homes. Hence, OOH is an option for driving the impact of a campaign, and the advertisers and planners are cognizant of the flexibility that OOH offers in terms of innovation and the buzz that can be created around a campaign.

OOH is extensively used by marketers to instantly establish the perception and imagery of a brand or product. The flexibility and opportunities to create innovations is one big hook for planners and advertisers to keep coming back to OOH. An innovation well executed on an OOH asset is relatively more noticeable and helps build conversations around it. Advertisers over the years have developed their own guiding principles for OOH campaign execution.

OOH is evolving with newer advertising opportunities, especially the transit infrastructure space, such as, at the airports, Metro rail networks and railways. The creative displays too are improving, particularly in the controlled environment of airports, malls and cineplexes. OOH options that cater to specific audiences (like at airports, IT parks, etc.) are being preferred by brands because of the visibility on ROI.

Categories like automobile brands have been using OOH for the launch and showcasing of new models, variants or features of their vehicles. Media houses have been using outdoor to promote the launch of shows/titles. We see the same trend among the OTT brands.

That said, the Indian media landscape is getting very fragmented and audience engagement is constantly reducing. Dominance of mobile is growing, with people spending a lot of time on social media or consuming video content while commuting. This will have a great impact on the way brands use OOH – from the creative and display perspectives.

To enhance the relevancy of OOH advertising, the industry will do well to invest in the following areas:

  1. Measurement – This has always been a pain point, and OOH is not in a position to quantify the campaign visibility in terms of basic campaign KPIs. We do see some initiatives by some partners in this direction. Quantification of campaign visibility and the ROI thereof will help OOH attract a greater share of the advertising budgets.
  2. Infrastructure  – To enhance the audience experience of being exposed to brand communications and to deliver the desired creative visual appeal, it is important that the assets are digitised for better creative displays.
  3. Technology – To enhance the audience engagement and to contextualise the campaign communications, the industry may move towards programmatic planning and deployment.

Yatin Balyan is Senior Vice President / National Head – Investment & Enterprise, India with Omnicom Media Group




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