How to Tie OOH & Digital Planning Together

Ensuring everything is integrated has always been top-of-mind for marketers, but as new mediums continue to enter the industry, brands must strategically decide which tactics will make the biggest impact. Today, an integrated marketing plan can encompass TV, radio, print, out-of-home (OOH), public relations and all of the brand’s owned channels, including having digital be the “always-on” thread that ties it all together. Simply put, most brands don’t have enough advertising dollars to be everywhere on every channel, so they must choose which combination of tactics will yield the greatest return. For our clients, one of the ways we find success is by tying OOH advertising with digital advertising.

There are several benefits as to why advertisers should leverage OOH, including it’s a strong branding platform; it’s an impactful way to drive a creative message; and in today’s world, it’s one of the last remaining unavoidable advertising tactics. However, there are downsides, too, including cost, limited inventory and limited space (and time) to deliver your message — but the reality is, OOH advertising is one of the strongest ways to drive top of the funnel brand awareness. If your placements get strong traffic and the message you developed is unique and has appealing creative, OOH advertising will improve your brand’s perception.

OOH advertising is projected to grow 3 percent in 2019, according to a report from Magna — a global advertising forecast publication — with a certain amount of that growth happening as billboards are transformed to digital advertising platforms. As more boards are digitized, it will present an opportunity for advertisers to buy inventory programmatically similarly to how digital display is purchased. At GYK Antler, it’s our belief that over the next year, OOH and digital efforts will become increasingly dependent on one another. We’ve already seen the strength behind pairing these two tactics together and expect to see each platform become more interdependent in the coming years. Change is already well on its way. Just this past week, Firefly — a company focused on placing digital advertising boards on top of rideshare vehicles — announced plans to fit more than 300 taxis in New York City with programmatic digital screens. Additionally, the company just completed a round of funding in excess of $51 million, which includes a large amount given by the venture capital investment arm of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. As physical placements become digitally connected, it will present advertisers with opportunities to further tie digital and OOH.

In 2019, digital advertising will overtake all traditional advertising mediums and make up 54.2 percent of the entire advertising landscape. As consumers’ lives are continually impacted by digital growth and mobile expansion, this medium will continue to see success. The benefits that have helped to grow digital to the number one advertising platform are its efficiency, targeting and scalability. Nowhere else can you drive such a specific, creative and powerful message than on digital and social channels. But with increased activity and competition within the platforms, the need arises to extend beyond just digital advertising tactics.

By combining mediums and thinking strategically about how your digital campaign can mirror your OOH placements, you can cover quite the spectrum of the marketing funnel by using just these two mediums, and we believe the future of marketing will rely on continuing to integrate the real world and the digital world.

As an example, the following is a high-level overview of how we have combined OOH and digital advertising to drive strong results for one of our clients in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space. We have partnered with this client while they expand into new retail locations throughout the country. Each time they gain access to a new market, we deploy a tactical formula of OOH, programmatic display/video and social. Our team focuses on finding high-traffic OOH locations — highway billboards, transit signage, pedicab wraps with free ride offers, etc. — and each tactic is selected based on the opportunities in the market we believe will help increase top-of-mind brand awareness. Then we target our digital efforts around the geographic location of our OOH efforts and the new retailer locations our client gained access to. By geofencing our client’s new retailer locations and OOH billboards, we’re able to drive synergies between the two tactics, which allows us to market to consumers who either walked into a new retailer location or drove by our OOH placements — or, ideally, both. These geographic targeting parameters allow us to advertise digital videos to a consumer base that has a high likelihood of shopping where our client’s products are offered. Combining this geographic data with the demographic and psychographic data of our client’s ideal consumer drives consumers deeper down the funnel — from awareness to consideration and intent to purchase.

As you begin to plan to join your OOH and digital efforts together, keep a few things in mind. Get specific, but don’t go crazy. Yes, you could geotarget and map every retailer and OOH placement in a city, or you could just geotarget the city. While it’s important to target, you only want to do enough to help provide you and your client with tangible marketing insights and outcomes. Next, benchmark your sales pre- and post-campaign, as this will help you correlate a true uptick in bottom line activity. Finally, don’t expect to do this once and then walk away — building brand awareness and affinity takes time and constant communication with consumers. While you don’t have to repeat the same tactics every year, you should use the previous campaign efforts as the building blocks to success for your next campaign. Most importantly, make sure you test and learn — just because you tried something and it might not have worked doesn’t mean you didn’t learn anything. As advertising continues to become a science of how to reach people and how to get them to respond, it’s important to focus on always learning and continuous improvement. Because if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse — and no individual or brand wants to remain stagnant in an industry built on growth.

Mike Stevens is the Executive Director of Strategic Planning & Account Services at GYK Antler. His passion is simple, helping companies and brands achieve their business and marketing goals and objectives. A strategist at heart, Mike’s 14+ year career at GYK Antler has allowed him to work on brands including: PayPal, United Bank, Sweet Baby Ray’s, Stonyfield, Cedar’s, Bauer Hockey, and Timberland.


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