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New-age DOOH makes a neat cut for evidence-based advertising

By - June 23, 2021

DOOH is also penetrating new audience locations; residential complexes could be the next big DOOH investment zones, writes OOH Business Strategist Rachana Lokhande.

Rachana Lokhande

The emerging business environment portends of strong prospects for Digital Out of Home (DOOH) media in India. Currently, DOOH has only a single digit share of voice (SOV) in the OOH space, but 100% growth of the DOOH media segment will push up its SOV to double digits, and provide a significant growth impetus for Indian OOH business as a whole.

Factors that are likely to contribute to DOOH growth in India are: 

  • Low penetration of the medium in the cities (including Metros), which is poised to change
  • Tenders floated with mandate for DOOH (in airport, metro rail, smart city projects)
  • Investments by tech firms (Food delivery firms & online/offline fitness platforms)
  • Changing consumer behaviour post-COVID

Rachana Lokhande, OOH Business Strategist As such, there is considerable variety in the DOOH formats available in the Indian markets, such as, individual screens (large format) and networked screens (single location / multi-location within a city or across cities). In places like airports and malls, there are both individual screens as well as networked screens in operation. Brands use them in particular combinations to get the best outcomes, especially in the airports, whereas very few malls are able to offer this combination.

In recent years, DOOH has also come up at several corporate parks, where the screens are used to display various announcements, and news updates such as on weather, along with advertising.

Screens are also seen in various quick service restaurants where the screens are also used for display of menu, with advertising running in a loop. Bars and restaurants are now relevant destinations for putting up DOOH media, and many brands have used this media to connect with the youth.

DOOH media received a major upshot with transit infrastructure expansion, especially in the Tier 1 cities & Metros. Metro & Rail networks have screens put up at various audience intersections, like ticket booking counters, platforms, inside trains and concourse. These screens draw significant eyeballs as they display real-time and relevant travel information, apart from advertising displays.

Screens made their way into cabs, with in-cab displays. But, more recently, digital screens are also been putting up atop the cabs. These networked screens attract contextual advertising that can be dynamically managed from remote locations.

While we have also seen other touch points coming up, like gyms, hospitals, etc., one segment that did not entice advertisers were the residential buildings. For targeting this segment, most of the advertisers used the activation route. But Covid19 has brought this segment to the fore. 

Since March 2020, we as a country have seen many lockdowns. Some were at a national scale, and others at a local level. With work from home becoming the norm in the face of the pandemic, more people are seen to be spending more time in their respective residential complexes. Whether it is regular school, gym, vocational classes and, of course, work, everything has moved online. When the first wave receded, people prepped for routines pre-Covid activities, like going to office, school, gym, etc.. But the second wave hit us harder and the online culture extended. The second wave has not only changed the consumer sentiment, but the consumer behaviour itself is impacted and that change is here to stay.

Convenience takes precedence over experience. Experience can only be had in a safe environment. And currently the safest environment is where you stay. You can control your space and your vicinity and hence residential societies become the most relevant touchpoint for brand/product communication.

We are seeing growing interest in the DOOH media partner fraternity to acquire these spaces for media operations. It is a vital destination in the consumer travel journey which has been untapped due to availability of other OOH options on the routes leading to this destination. 

Globally, DOOH is leading growth in OOH industry. Investments in DOOH have been increasing in India too, up until the pandemic outbreak. While it is part of OOH, The challenge would be to make DOOH part of mainstream media plans. It should not be planned or bought like the traditional medium. 

The D in DOOH not only stands for ‘digital’ but also the ‘dynamism’ it brings to the oldest communication medium.  The dynamic digital medium needs more education among all concerned stakeholders and collaboration among them. 

There is a combination of traditional and new age technology partners entering the DOOH space. The medium is catching attention and more and more players are entering in tier 1 & tier 2 cities.  Like OOH, since there are not many multi-city networks built, there is a likelihood of fragmentation.

DOOH needs large investments and hence is always installed with proper legal contracts with minimum or no conflict at any location. Which means, while more players increase competition in the overall DOOH industry, location specific competition is still minimal or negligible. Competition is needed, so long as it works to benefit of the industry.

This is a perfect time when all the investors / media partners of DOOH medium should collaborate to:

- Build

o Audience Based Currency

o Standard Delivery Mechanism

o Platform to access all inventory

- Educate

o Exchange learnings with new & existing partners.

o Train new set of digital OOH traders

- Promote

o Each other

o Overall Medium

Every advertiser is looking at incorporating a channel or a medium that delivers returns on its advertising investment. Digital medium has grown substantially on the basis of audience based deliveries. But in the digital world where targeting audience will become a challenge when cookies become non-existent, where current practices are making media intrusive and where consumers value privacy, DOOH as a medium is favourably positioned to gain.

With access to more locations, audience data, feasibility of playing dynamic content along with a method for standard and real time verification of the campaign delivery, inclusion of DOOH will prove more effective and efficient for any brand/advertiser. 

We all know that anything that can be delivered and measured, is valuable… DOOH fits the bill. 

There are global learnings and technology available to build models for measuring DOOH and moving towards impression based buys. More on that later. Let’s start by taking steps towards collaboration in DOOH and ushering in the new age for the OOH industry.

Rachana Lokhande, a business leader & strategist, has been in the OOH industry for 2 decades. She was a Co-CEO of Kinetic India until August 2020 and is now a Consultant with Schindler Group for Digital Media Services. Rachana is also appointed as an Advisor to the Board of IOAA. She has worked with some of the largest Digital, FMCG, Retail & Telecom clients. She was awarded “The Most Influential Person in OOH Industry” in 2019. She is a Visiting faculty at MICA for Business of OOH & is an Independent Director.


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