Why Data & Insight working together is making a difference in OOH

I heard recently that big data is losing some of its appeal and a more sensible suggestion came from a leading media agency CEO that we should refer instead to people data as the focus should only be on activating customer-centric data.

We agree and it’s surely time people stopped talking about the data they have an actually start using it. And perhaps people data can also be referred to as smart data, as smarter businesses engage the findings to drive progress in the changing business worlds we all find ourselves in. People and technology continue to drive unprecedented change. How we use our data in smarter ways – to drive insights – will define which sectors and businesses make a difference and truly evolve.

The world of Out of Home is a fascinating microcosm here. At Talon we are seeking to combine three things; the data we have that measures our industry; the data that is now defining the wider communications world in which we operate; and the strategic insight and smart planning that enables us to evolve, so we are defined by what is happening around us and our clients in real time, not by historical context.

As Out of Home embraces long term media owner investment, digitisation of screens; polarisation of assets around key environments; technological possibility; and the changing demands of people who are beginning to see the value of location and context, we are seeing more campaigns embracing real time, context and location as drivers to activate our relationship with brands on the street.

Power of Data in Out-of-Home Advertising

Location is one of the new currencies of marketing and OOH is centrally placed to drive better engagement and smarter thinking in this space.

Has a change in Audience Measurement made a difference?

The Route research (now over a year old) gives us the structure and confidence regarding how OOH schedules deliver against different audiences. We can now optimise by format and environment efficiencies and be confident that the impacts targets we are delivering are suitably efficient for that audience. At Talon, we have fully analysed the deliverables of each format against a broad spectrum of audiences. We can now therefore adapt our planning to audience, impacts and coverage targets and to other communications factors. Our Planning Tool gives us the benchmarks and parameters to deliver the campaign, against the geography, cost and demand/supply factors that exist in the market at any given time. We can therefore plan and buy smartly with the confidence we are delivering appropriate weights, all dependent on audience and campaign objectives.

Route data also allows us to evaluate campaigns much more efficiently by helping our market mix analysis and econometrics partners better identify the variation in the data that Out of Home campaigns truly deliver.

But to augment Route, other planning factors from retail, behavioural and geo-demographic sources are used to ensure we are reflecting real consumer environments and the challenges of planning in 2014. Out of Home is not a standalone medium and, increasingly, we are integrating with other channels to help amplify those messages and using location as a key offering tapping into people’s contextual on the go behaviour.

The increasing importance of Location

Location is offering additional and more important opportunities for brands to converse in the right way with people. And as a new currency of marketing, it is no coincidence that the reinvigoration of mobile marketing in the past 12 months has been around location and geo-targeting, adding real context to the growing intimacy we have with our devices. At Talon, we have successfully partnered with mobile agency BlisMedia to reach people with multiple integrated messaging in key environments that play on location, purchase environment, mindset and presence. Increasingly, as the two media work together, we are helping offer a better level of communication engagement by virtue of where they are and what they are doing.

And with players like Blis and Weve now successfully driving greater and more integrated mobile engagement, the opportunity for OOH and mobile to work more closely together is clear. Both media have at their core an ability to communicate the localisation of a national message or brand communication, retail proximity and point of sale targeting, and distinct audience and mindset targeting.

In the recent Google Outside campaign, the client used digital OOH screens to tailor specific messages that were specific to a number of factors, including location, proximity, daypart and context (from weather to day of week). The inspiration was a combination of mobile search data metrics (which it used digital OOH to replicate on an altogether different type of screen) and insights around our behaviours by time of day and location.

The campaign drove strong perception shifts in the brand around being smarter and innovative plus a favourable call to action response (app downloads). Interestingly, it also pitched location as the most important attribute of the messaging, above context, time of day and mindset. People seem very in tune to location marketing, not only through the mobile phone (which has proved an important catalyst), but through other messaging. Out of Home and digital OOH’s capacity to influence and change messaging is coming into its own and smart clients are using the format to focus messaging in many different environments.

Data and insight is playing its part in ensuring we are targeting the right locations and environments, from Route, client data and smartphone metrics now widely adopted by the mobile marketing community. By adopting the right data for reaching audiences – and that includes dynamic insights around events, changing behaviours across the days, weeks and seasons and retail and other data that highlights the opportunity in using proximity as an adjunct to effective targeting – we can keep ahead of people’s changing expectations and tolerances around all advertising messages, whilst not ignoring the need to combine broadcast, proximity and personalised messaging in all brand engagements.

Real industry developments in data and insight driving smarter planning

The OOH marketplace is responding strongly to the opportunity and truly embracing data and technology to improve planning, targeting and trading metrics. In 2014 we are witnessing a real and significant step change in the adoption of change, to which Route was a catalyst, but media owner investment in screens and smart technology is radically changing the definitions and capabilities of the Out of Home industry across the board.

JCDecaux has just invested in upgrading 400 Tesco point of sale screens to digital, enabling smarter planning and usage by advertisers who can tap into Decaux’s CAPTAIn tool in order to analyse Tesco DunnHumby purchase data (against equivalent periods) by hourly segments across the day. This data resource enables us to target customers in line with category purchasing, true seasonality and around events like Christmas, Easter, holidays and Back to School.

JCDecaux has already tested the efficacy of a data-led smarter planning approach, comparing its historic proximity advertising effect (a +17% increase in sales) with the effect digital OOH can have, over and above a static point of sale 6 sheet (a further +9%). By applying a flexible planning approach in the pre-launch phase of its new screens at Tesco, the additional effect on sales was a further +11%. All this, before we apply a factor (another +15%) where animated copy is used, thereby increasing the effect further and reflecting a proven finding from other insights that movement can have a discernible effect on noticeability and action.

All this indicates that by applying smart data to the way we plan and buy our communication, to reach the audience at the best possible time, we can increase the impact. By incorporating it more seamlessly into the way we are trading will begin to instigate a philosophy within digital OOH that will create extended interest from a larger pool of advertisers, realising they can engage and effect people’s behaviour in the more active space of Out of Home.

JCDecaux is not alone in driving behavioural change in the sector. When MediaCo launched its fully interactive CityLive digital screens in Manchester towards the end of last year, they incorporated their own investment in audience analysis to quantify impacts on an hourly basis and ensured that data is incorporated into the trading model, encouraging flexibility around audiences and brand behaviour.

Large-format digital players Ocean Outdoor, Outdoor Plus and Storm have also incorporated a more flexible approach into their trading models, using data to inform and measure impact delivery. Storm’s approach is a fully-flexible ownership stance, allowing brands to take ownership at times when the message is most impactful. Ocean Outdoor’s Grid trading model is a more nuanced approach, offering flexibility in terms of national campaigns, location-specific inventory and full broadcast-led communication. It applies to their full-motion city-centre screens where enhanced flexibility makes additional sense.  Others, including JCDecaux, are now embracing a networked approach to their digital assets and making OOH audience-led trading a closer reality.

Amscreen has continued to champion the integration of data and technology and offers fully-flexible planning around measurable and attributable contacts from its in-built OptimEyes camera technology. Its Audience Assured Advertising approach leverages the data that’s now becoming available and they will offer key identifiable impacts against four broad, tradable audiences (adults, men, 15-34s and 35-64s), traded purely on impacts and fixed costs per thousand.

Although the data is not yet instantly transferable to a real-time delivery model, this is where a number of other OOH players will likely end up, enabling us to enhance our Route schedule data with fully accountable, behaviour-led data which gives advertisers the flexibility to reach audiences at relevant times, to influence purchase or brand consideration. The step-change is transformational.

Others are using Route data to reinvigorate packs and formats around audience. And exciting new opportunities have come to market, not least the ability to target and geo-locate moving taxis and serve messaging relevant only to that environment or proximity, with real-time dashboard metrics to match. More developments will be realised in the coming weeks and months as both the technology finds a consumer relevance and the market delivers sufficient confidence to trade and plan against these changing metrics. Existing data sources must keep pace with this change and new data sources must be relevant in their application across planning and trading by audience.

Real change is now making a difference

At Talon we are adapting to the change and using Route and other data – as just one part of our investment strategy – to drive investment decisions against impacts or audience targets to ensure a more efficient delivery of media that integrates in the right way with other brand activity. We also now have the ability to analyse different data sources in one place, as part of our ongoing Project 42 initiative, bringing together the planning and buying elements of audience, insight and location.

The industry is in the midst now of an important period of change and we are armed with both the desire for change and the data to give OOH campaign planning and evaluation real structure and insight.

Effective data and smart insights are helping us quantity the real value of all formats and providing the platform for real change. Multiple data sources are opening up new ways of commercialising the industry, creating a value-led environment for advertisers of all sizes to use the great inventory available to fully engage with our purchasing and experiences.