On-Vehicle Advertising: DOOH With a Difference

Want to be paid to drive your car? StickerRide offer drivers the chance to be the billboard and advertisers the chance to appear on a wide range of vehicles in far-reaching places. ExchangeWire speak with Mikhail Marchenko, CEO, StickerRide about automated outdoor advertising, with a difference. 

ExchangeWire: StickerRide seems like a very different approach to outdoor advertising – how does it work?

Mikhail Marchenko: StickerRide is a leader in on-vehicle advertising. We offer an app that consumers can download to select brand stickers they’d like placed on their cars. Then, these drivers get paid, simply for driving their cars as they normally would. 

What journey has StickerRide been on, as a business? What growth have you seen?

Thus far, StickerRide has been on an exciting growth trajectory. We began in Russia, and now have offices in Los Angeles, London, and France. We raised USD$3m (£2.05m) in investments from Winter Capital in April 2016, and currently have more than 90,000 drivers worldwide. We have conducted advertising campaigns with brands like Marvel, Warner Brothers, Lukoil, Michelin, Efes, Binbank, RocketBank, and Paramount.

StickerRide is based on the simple idea that there is no replacement for truly compelling, captivating ads that are encountered in person. Today, there is so much noise and market exuberance around digital advertising, particularly mobile. As digital channels grow more and more crowded, it can be increasingly difficult for marketers to stand out. We are trying to show brands that some of the original, older advertising formats (out-of-home, or OOH) are still relevant and effective. 

How do you manage a form of non-digitised advertising entirely digitally?

Unlike many static billboards, it is possible to measure reach of our on-vehicle ads digitally. We are working with Geopath to create a measurement system that can record the number of impressions generated by an auto-ad. We can parse this data to show impression numbers based on time of day, and location/route of the drive. There are many variables contributing to these calculations. 

How do advertisers determine targeting requirements for this type of advertising? Do advertisers know on what vehicles their ads will be appearing and where those vehicles are located?

Yes, advertisers can pre-select geographic zones for their campaigns. We offer an online portal where they can then access all information about their campaign. This includes seeing vehicles, routes, impressions, various analytics, and behaviour of the drivers.

We also augment campaigns to ensure vehicles are strategically located for maximum impact.

As one example, Warner Brothers partnered with StickerRide to build visibility around the Suicide Squad movie premiere in Russia. StickerRide drivers participated in a quest – drivers could choose stickers with a favourite character from the movie and, during the quest, they needed to find and take photos with the same character whose stickers were placed on their cars (kind of like a scavenger hunt). This encouraged the drivers to drive highly trafficked routes, promoting visibility. These quests ended with the drivers arriving in the parking lots near where the movie was being shown, where StickerRide had organised flash mobs (one took place in Moscow, another in Saint Petersburg). 

What measurement metrics are available? How do advertisers track their campaigns and determine success?

We offer metrics based on impressions, gross rating point, reach, and more. As noted, StickerRide offers an online portal that brands can access at any time to track these metrics in real-time, as well as number of cars, miles, and routes traveled.

How is media bought through StickerRide?

It is a very simple process. We work with brands to launch an advertising campaign on our app; brand ambassadors (drivers) then apply for the campaign and get stickers installed; and cars then drive around to create advertising reach.

How do you expect this type of advertising to evolve?

We expect digital measurement capabilities for on-vehicle advertising to become more precise, and we expect other OOH advertising formats to adopt truly forward-looking and innovative digital measurement strategies. In one very interesting example, billboards can now be equipped with devices that scan the types of vehicles passing by; associate these vehicles (for example, a minivan, or a motorcycle) with a particular demographic and report back to the brand the number of high-quality, targeted impressions, based on the brand’s target audience demographic.

As the digital advertising landscape grows more crowded, we also expect to see more companies gravitating back to OOH, particularly to new formats like on-vehicle. Even as digital advertising, especially mobile, continues to attract huge marketing investments, OOH advertising methods are continuing to hold steady. According to the most recent statistics from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), OOH advertising revenue rose 4.1% in the second quarter of 2016, compared to the previous year, accounting for USD$2.35bn (£1.61bn). OOH is also outperforming the US economy, more than tripling GDP in the second quarter.

Within the OOH sector, we expect to see newer formats like on-vehicle advertising emerging. According to a recent survey we conducted, users overwhelmingly prefer on-vehicle ads to traditional billboards, using words like 'appealing', 'catchy', and 'unusual' to describe ads placed on cars.

Finally, we expect to see greater investments in similar types of advertising that let brand ambassadors, versus marketing dollars, do the brand’s marketing work. A brand’s fanbase is often an untapped well for creating awareness. Fans often associate with like-minded people, which is what makes the brand ambassador concept so powerful – consider the example of a young mother, who parks her branded car in a playground parking lot, for other mothers to see. Social adds a whole other element of reach, in that brand ambassadors post pictures of themselves with their cars – which, again, are made visible to like-minded people.