Context is King: The measured value of contextual advertising in Out of Home

Enhancing OOH: Tailored Campaigns for Diverse Environments

Out of Home media (OOH) is increasingly utilising the flexibility of digital OOH, location and context in campaigns which get more bespoke messaging to the consumer in different mindsets, locations, environments and times of day.

OOH has many examples of this type of advertising, covering factors such as temporal, pure context, locational, environmental (around weather, traffic or shoppers), modal, behavioural and technological.

When these factors come together, evidence suggests that relevance adds weight to the message. It is well-documented that the Google Outside campaign has implemented thousands of pieces of unique, real-time and location-based data ensuring regular digital OOH screens became smart, context-aware & able to anticipate audiences’ needs. The first campaign demonstrated how people perceived location as a driver for engagement, above factors like context, time of day and their activities. A second campaign, which generated more intimate and dynamic copy focused more on contextual messaging and was strongly perceived as such (in terms of context and time of day).

Whilst we know contextual or locational relevance has a value to brands engaging with people, how can that value be quantified?

At Talon we have now worked with a number of advertisers and agencies seeking greater relevance in their communication. Some of the findings below include reference to major advertisers like Google, McDonald’s, Boots and others who have utilised context in both classic and digital OOH to drive personal and locational relevance.

For one of our brands, personal relevance increased by around a fifth when contextual copy was used (compared to just branding). This effect also extended to other key brand metrics (+10%), uniqueness of the location (+27%) and general brand positivity (+9%).

For a sub-brand campaign, locational messaging was seen to promote attention to advertising, smart brand perception and call to action in significant numbers.

Another brand recently used digital OOH to drive contextual messages around a key promotion. We were able to directly compare the effect of these messages, which were adjusted both by location and through a dynamic real-time contextual reference.

Research reinforced the strong visibility and effect of whole OOH campaign, but when directly comparing action and response measures for the contextual ads to a regular OOH campaign, the addition of contextual overlay added positivity, engagement and drove action. That group were more likely to visit store, more likely to engage with the promoted content, more likely to do so more often and in the future. This resulted in an overall contextual effect of +15% versus the standard campaign (and a range of values up to +24%).

There was a similar uplift (+15%) to brand perceptions around the contextual and locational messaging, such as making the brand smart, increasing personal relevance or driving interest.

Seasonal events can be highly effective at promoting context. Contextual OOH messaging for one retailer strongly increased people’s seasonal association of the brand (including consideration) by +40%. Locational relevance was also cited as a driver for purchase as the brand’s seasonal values significantly outperformed that of other retailers, where other measures like total ad recall fell behind those of competitors, driven by high-profile seasonal TV ad campaigns. These contextual findings were backed up by a significant ROI performance for the OOH campaign.

Analysis of Dunnhumby sales data from JCDecaux’s digital screens at 400 Tesco stores also highlights the incremental impact of contextual advertising. By optimising campaigns by time of day to when brand and category sales are most likely, a brand sales effect of nearly +50% can be achieved. This rises another 20% for seasonal brands where that context becomes part of the creative execution.

Which brings us to media innovation. We have measured the impact of individual OOH campaigns founded in innovation and experience and frequently see high engagement and the driving of smart perception metrics. Applying a particular contextual relevance to any innovation can further enhance the impact of a campaign.

When we added a particular format innovation to a brand’s summer campaign in London, we saw a significant increase in call to action metrics (+37%), driven by a creative association with the brand and the advertising, over and above the standard OOH campaign response.

PR, social media and other amplification helps this process. Oreo’s recent use of digital screens to mirror the recent partial eclipse as part of an integrated #OreoEclipse communication, was seen in some form by 20 million people in the UK and in over 40 different countries. A significant increase in sales was also recorded.

A contextual campaign for Camelot’s Lottery scratchcards around London’s transport network, including dynamic references to the number of winners by location, resulted in the brand’s biggest sales week in six years and increased the number of buyers by half.

Other brands have used topical events and even topical ads (witness Carlsberg’s recent “Beer Body Ready” ads parodying Protein World’s poorly-received “Beach Body Ready” ads) to great effect, driving engaging word of mouth, socialisation and reinforcing those solid brand values in the most compelling way.

We also know the measured effect of context and location on factors such as personal relevance, consideration, brand association, social media, mobile search and call to action. The consistency of effect is staggering and the sheer impact on key metrics is something we can’t ignore.

Across all examples in OOH, we are consistently seeing effects in the range of +30% across all measures in applying contextual relevance to an OOH campaign, over and above a standard response. Interestingly, those measures that tend to perform best are call to action and sales measures, often displaying +40% growth factors, ahead of those for consideration (+30%), brand perception metric’s (+20%) and basic awareness factors (only +5%).

So contextual OOH adds real impact, not just stand-out. Personal relevance, smart advertising and location focus can really drive behaviours.

As we continue to live our lives on the move, the opportunities for Out of Home, whether using strategies around classic, proximity, digital or innovation, are limitless for smart advertisers and planners.