Adshel CMO: Why Relevance Is Adland’s New Engagement Currency

Adshel CMO: Why Relevance Is Adland’s New Engagement Currency
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In this guest post, Adshel’s head of marketing, Charlotte Valente says “being relevant” now pervades all parts of our lives and it should be true for the advertising industry, too…

I have been thinking a lot recently about relevance. I know, doesn’t seem like much, yet I believe it is the key to engagement. If something is relevant to you, aren’t you more likely to pay attention?

I lead the marketing team at Adshel, a leading out-of-home media company that has an aggressive digital growth strategy, and recently I have been thinking a lot about our digital proposition and its link to engaging audiences at scale.

When we launched Adshel Live, the world’s first national digital street furniture network, we developed a distinct value proposition that clearly defined the value digital out-of-home offers – contextual relevance and dynamic messaging being two. In fact, Adshel Live is ‘relevance at scale’.

Yet, many advertisers are not using the network in that way, opting instead to use it more as a digital version of their classic out-of-home campaigns.

As a marketer, I am somewhat bewildered by this. If context or relevance has proven to be more effective (on average 19 per cent more effective) then why are marketers not taking advantage of it?

Think about it. As I’ve said, relevance is the key to engagement. When we see and hear things that are relevant to us they capture our attention. This is not just the case in advertising of course, it filters into all areas of our lives.

Today, we are reconfiguring classrooms to adapt to the way children learn now days (it’s never too late). There is a whole concept around ‘flipping the classroom’ where kids watch online tutorial videos of their teachers lecturing the class subjects and when they get into class the next day they to do the homework or practical component. This is having a considerable effect not only on the learning outcomes but also on the children’s engagement in the classroom.

What about our workplaces? Today we adjust the way we work – our hours, our locations, our desk configurations – to adapt better to the life we lead today. More stress, longer commuting times and with increasing levels of busyness, striving for work-life balance. By creating these new ‘structures’, companies are benefiting from higher productivity, greater retention and more empowered employees who feel like their employers ‘get them’. Relevance.

We create more video content today because we know that our attention span is reduced to less than a goldfish’s. We have adapted our communication to be more relevant to the needs of our audience today.

Remember when online advertising revolutionised what relevance meant? We were (still are) getting served ads for months on end for things we had browsed or that our digital footprint had shown an interest in, albeit accidently. What about TV advertising… fancy seeing a supermarket ad during MasterChef or a date site ad during The Bachelor. All contextualised to deliver relevance.

So why not in out-of-home? It’s never been easier. We have endless data that tells us a myriad of things about the millions of people who will be seeing your ads. We know where the ads are showing, we know what the weather is like at each these locations, we know what is happening in the world as it happens across each location, we know the state of the traffic, and at any given time, whether people are going fast or slow past your ad in any location. Even scaling things back to the most simple trigger, time of day, we can adapt messages to make it relevant to what people may be thinking about or feeling at that particular time of day. So why aren’t we maximising it?

It’s never been easier to ensure relevance across all of our communications. Yes, change can be tedious, and while it takes more of our time and resources in the short-term, the rewards are far greater in the long-run. So who wouldn’t want to take the time if it was going to make our brands more memorable and create deeper engagement with our audiences?

It’s up to us, out-of-home media owners, to get out and educate clients and our creative, media and digital agency partners more. We cannot complain that advertisers aren’t using digital out-of-home correctly if we don’t show them the benefits and the rewards they will gain. And clients, creative and media folk, it is time to reconsider the possibilities out-of-home, digital or not, can unlock for your brand. Engagement in out-of-home has never been higher – take advantage and ensure your brand is not only noticed but remembered.

After all, relevance creates greater engagement.

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