Out-of-home advertising recently posted its ninth consecutive quarter of growth, according to the Outdoor Media Association.
It continues to grow and buck the trend of traditional media. Why is this so?
There are a number of factors of course. Adshel's CEO Rob Atkinson believes "the outdoor audience is growing with population increases". OohMedia's CEO Brendan Cook offers "outdoor is one of the last remaining broadcast media allowing advertisers to reach mass audiences".
Given out-of-home is not new, I've asked myself the question: how does it fit with today's typical customer journey and, more importantly, today's connected consumer?
Those moments of down time when outdoor is so powerful – at the traffic lights, on the tram, sitting at the bus shelter – are increasingly leading to web visits.
If the consumer's actually interested in what the brand has to say, it's less likely they're going to make a mental note to visit a store (or log on when they get home), and they're increasingly going to pull out their phones and Google it.
Beyond this transformational behavioural shift, the emergence of real time interactions will also only enhance outdoors relevance.
QR codes won't work in this market until the apps are native in phones, though NFC (near field communication) will have a big impact. Coles has already put its toe in this tank.
So it's inevitable we'll see more dollars and eyeballs going this way. The opportunity to engage – on a deeper level – with consumers is here today.
An outdoor campaign can never end again with a great piece of art and copy. It also requires a mobile-friendly, seamless online experience that offers not the same but more information (indeed this is the benefit).
It is no longer optional to have out-of-home brand or retail campaigns not connected in the digital ecosystem.
In fact, I'd go as far as saying that if the experience doesn't continue online, it will create a negative impression on the brand.
So how are Australian marketers (and ad agencies) doing?
Over the last month I've made a point of photographing as many outdoor ads as I can. Then, while I'm outdoors, I go to their brand's website on my phone or tablet. The results are staggering. Try it for yourself.
Brian Vella is MD of DT
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