Digital Outdoor Advertising: The future is here; just not all advertisers know it yet.

The future is here and what was once thought to be science fiction is entering our daily lives unnoticed as we continually interact with emerging Digital Out of Home technology from the palm of our hands, and through our sense of sight and smell.

Our director John Kehoe featured in The Drum’s ‘Thinking outside the box: innovations in Out of Home advertising’ feature providing his insight on digital innovations in the industry. Click here to view the supplement, or read on..

The Out of Home industry is continually expanding, and becoming increasingly intelligent in order to keep up with the tech savvy consumer. Research shows that 71% of smart device users would feel more positive about a brand that invites interaction and Outdoor has had to find new ways to relate with the consumer, the term ‘DOOH’ means so much more than digital screens and video signage – it is building a relationship with the public.

It’s now over to advertisers to let the Outdoor Industry guide them through the digital field to capitalise on this technology.

QR Code vs. NFC

QR codes can be a great response mechanism for mobile users, and have much potential for brands including trackable consumer response data, the potential to create an optimised landing page that can seize consumers at the exact point of interest, and offer discounts, get them signed up for an email, or tempt them into making a purchase.

Our favourite uses of QR codes are those that grasp the public’s curiosity rather than the generic, sometimes lost square code in the corner of a poster. Out of Home International worked on a billboard campaign for The University of Bristol to target prospective students. The billboard showcased a custom QR code design in the shape of The Clifton Suspension Bridge, the symbol of the city of Bristol.

Out Of Home International - University of Bristol - Outdoor BillboardThe clever use of QR code in the design creative was the first of its kind in the UK and became an internet sensation with academics and techie’s alike and generated international media coverage.

The campaign saw potential students interact with the billboard and be directed to the landing page which provided details of the University’s open days and courses.

Although advertisers were initially concerned of the success of QR codes, due to users needing to download a QR code reader, it is important to remember that once they have the reader it is very quick and easy to use.

Near-Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless technology that allows individuals to make transactions, exchange digital content or connect with other NFC electronic device. NFC is developing in the UK, with the first large scale trial happening in March 2012 in Reading. The appetite for advertisers is there, ready to jump on this new technology, but at the moment knowledge is low.

The technology is incorporated in more mobile devices and roadside outdoor signage than ever before, and will soon be as common place as QR codes. The pros are that interactions require no more than a simple touch, unlike the scanning requirement of QR.

A great example of an NFC campaign was the Primesight Waterloo domination for EA Games to promote the launch of Battlefield 3 which created ‘Battle of Waterloo’ scenes around the station and the public could download content via NFC technology.

NFC will take interaction with brands one stop further by facilitating secure payments of advertised products, allowing consumers smart phone devices become ‘mobile wallets’. Brands will no longer need to rely on advertising recall as their customer will be able to purchase products instantly on the street.

Less well known digital innovations

DOOH, ambient and interactive Outdoor Advertising is becoming more common place in our world with the rise of facial recognition campaigns, body motion sensors, bus stops emitting smells of food and Wi-Fi enabled sites; but there are some technologies waiting in the wings to take Outdoor by storm. The future is here; just not all advertisers know it yet.

Augmented Reality / Blippar: “Blippar™ is the first image-recognition phone app aimed at bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with exciting augmented reality experiences and instantaneous content. The company launched in the UK in the summer of 2011 and will be expanding globally throughout 2012.”

Despite only having 19 reviews on Apple’s ‘App Store’ the new technology has so far worked with huge brands including Unilever, Nestle, Heinz, Diageo, Xbox, Samsung, Cadbury and Domino’s to enable consumers interaction with the advertising and the world around them through the ‘eye’ of their smart phone cameras.

RFID readers: In 2010, IBM UK was working on a technology that would turn ordinary digital billboards into RFID

Readers, to work with the fact that most of credit cards and mobile phones now have built-in RFID chips that house all of our personal information. A reader inside the board will identify consumers and deliver you a personalised advertisement indicative of our spending / browsing activity. It is said Apple are looking to implement RFID into its iPhone 5, creating a whole new world of opportunity for DOOH.

At Out Of Home International, we understand that the digital Out of Home media landscape is always evolving and new platforms are emerging daily. Consider us your ‘navigator’ in exploring the new world of digital Out-of-Home media. We represent the buyer, and work to strategically plan, research and negotiate digital Out of Home media campaigns to deliver the most effective results.