OOH advertisers must shed myths and embrace fundamentals, says CEODigital Signage Today

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Matthew O’Connor, CEO of AdQuick, shares details on report that debunks common OOH myths and helps advertisers leverage new opportunities.

As reported in DST, AdQuick recently released a report that debunked common OOH myths, showing that OOH advertising is easier, faster and more affordable than most marketers think along with being far more available and widespread. This week, we reached out to Matthew O’Connor, CEO of AdQuick, to discuss the report and its surprising findings in depth.

Q: AdQuick recently released a report dismantling common misconceptions in out-of-home advertising. As an experienced executive and marketer, what was the finding that most surprised you?

A: What I found most surprising in the survey was that only 2% of advertisers surveyed believe a campaign can be launched in less than a week. OOH advertising has this reputation of being a laborious, manual process that requires weeks of research, planning and executing, which really isn’t the case. When it comes to digital OOH advertising campaigns, the turnaround from inception to execution can be as little as one to two days.

Q: When people hear “OOH advertising,” their minds can flash to boring, tacky billboards on long road trips. What’s the real scoop on OOH advertising in 2022, and how are common prejudices against OOH ads unfounded?

A: In today’s world, thousands of OOH vendors operate across the country; However, we found that more than 60% of marketers we asked believe there are simply a handful. When we look at why marketers think this, it comes back to the belief that it’s more difficult to launch outdoor campaigns and the labor involved is much more intense than other channels, which is no longer the case.

Q: This quote was remarkable: “With a CPM of less than $5, OOH advertising is one of the most cost-effective mediums around, but that hasn’t translated into marketers always getting the best deals.” Why is OOH so cost effective, and how can companies make sure they get conversions out of ads?

A: OOH advertising is cost-effective because there are a variety of mediums that provide low-cost/high-value (billboard, transit, place-based, wallscapes and wall murals, etc). OOH brings marketers back to the foundations of using data to inform campaign planning to be strategic about not only having the right message, but making sure your message is contextually relevant. When it comes to making sure that conversions are being made, marketers need to be looking at the correct measurements and using those metrics to improve their strategy. For those interested, our team wrote a blog on how to create an OOH media plan, and it touches on how to optimize campaigns based on these insights.

Q: One of the hottest topics in DOOH is interaction. Everyone is excited about new tech that is replacing old-fashioned static ads with content that engages the consumer, from QR codes and augmented reality to next gen holograms (some of which look like something from Blade Runner!) What are some of the most useful interactive innovations that advertisers need to know about in 2022, and how can they leverage those?

A: Interactivity in advertising is another proof-point that this industry is continuing to innovate, but advertisers and marketers still need to ensure that the message is contextually relevant to the ad. If your message doesn’t match up, it doesn’t matter if the ad is interactive.

Q: The report mentions that broadcast impressions are down, pointing to factors like screen fatigue, consumer concerns over privacy and costs (mobile, web, broadcast, etc.) media-savvy consumer landscape?

A: While we do live in a high-tech, media-savvy world, we’ve seen a lot of digital fatigue and mistrust that is leading to audience disengagement. We can’t combat this digital fatigue with more digital, just like you don’t fight fire with fire. OOH brings marketers and advertisers back to fundamentals on reach and frequency, which cannot be skipped. OOH also provides an opportunity to reach everyone because there isn’t a digital divide as there is with other channels. While we’re having to battle digital fatigue and distrust, OOH provides a different medium that doesn’t feed that fire of digital fatigue and mistrust, but rather provides a reprieve for audiences.

Q: We could spend hours talking about complex analytics on conversion rates and ROI, but let’s get down to brass tacks. In simple terms, how does OOH provide more bang for an advertiser’s buck?

A: Most marketers today are re-evaluating media plans over and over again to ensure that they are driving the greatest value possible. Total ROI for media mixes is under a new level of microscopic scrutiny. OOH advertising is one of the most cost-effective and cost-efficient advertising channels available to marketers today because of a few reasons.

First, because these ads exist in the real world and have a more tangible feel to them, they are more immersive and memorable than a fleeting digital ad — creating an extended brand experience that makes a lasting impact. Part of this is because when a person sees an OOH ad, their attention isn’t being pulled in five million directions as it is when they are on their phones or in front of their computers.

Second, high brand recall — OOH ads have greater ability to create more of a one-to-one interaction with an audience. I love using the sandwich example to explain this. Say, it’s lunchtime and you’re running errands but your stomach is starting to grumble. You see a billboard or a city transit bus go by with an ad for the most delicious sandwiches in town and that statement is coupled with mouth-watering images of sandwiches and even a side of chips and a drink. What’s purely magical about this ad is that it seamlessly blends together contextual relevancy and a specific emotional or behavioral state. That’s the key to driving action. And even if you’re not able to stop by the sandwich shop that day, the image and message will linger in your mind. So if we take the low cost plus high brand recall mentioned above, it’s obvious that OOH drives the greatest amount of value for every dollar spent.

One more thing I want to mention. In May of 2022, OAAA did a study that reinforced this statement and examined how consumers took action after being exposed to different advertising stimuli. What they found is that while OOH ads, TV ads, and video ads generate a similar share of consumer actions, 68% of advertising dollars were funneled into TV ads while only 4% went to OOH.

Q: People have been through a lot with COVID, supply chain nightmares and other world events, so this is a more personal question. What most excites you about the changes you see in marketing and advertising, and what makes you optimism going into 2023 and beyond?

A: Going into 2023 and taking lessons from everything we’ve experienced over the last few years, it’s exciting to see marketers and advertisers get back to fundamentals. It used to be that only online advertising gave first-hand visibility into ROI for every advertiser, but now OOH is able to give this same level of visibility. When every advertiser gets granular data on the campaigns they run, they’re able to prove the effectiveness for themselves — and optimize campaigns to further improve performance. We call this bespoke measurement. Until recently, OOH advertisers relied on general effectiveness metrics as impressions, reach, and frequency to measure a campaign. While insightful, this data doesn’t offer the types of quantifiable business results that can be leveraged to optimize campaigns.

When it comes to OOH, there’s a big difference between general data and company-specific ROI data. Utilizing data that allows advertisers to measure the performance of their unique campaigns on a granular level is crucial, especially at a time when broadcast and digital channels are falling short.

Matthew O’Connor is the CEO and co-founder of AdQuick.com, the first platform to allow marketers and agencies to complete the entire process of planning, buying, executing and measuring out of home advertising campaigns anywhere in the US and across the globe. Prior to AdQuick, Matt worked at Amazon and held various executive positions within Instacart.

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