Why OOH Is the Answer for Digital Advertisers in a GDPR World

With GDPR set to significantly change digital advertising in the near future, it may be time to explore other channels of distributing ads where strict opt-ins are not an issue. Craig Mytton (pictured below), CRO, Bitposter, argues for OOH as an alternative that will reach the consumer, yet does not have to battle privacy and ad blocking issues.

The looming GDPR regulations pose a huge threat to digital advertisers who are currently using data to target customers online. Without the stringent opt-ins from consumers required by GDPR regulations, and the 'right to explanation' on how their data is/has been used, much of the data currently sitting in their databases, and the databases of their current buying partners, may be unusable, significantly hampering their traditional digital marketing activity.

This means that from the 25th of May we may see a significant drop in online advertising activity as marketers take a cautious approach to the new regulations. Also, data companies will wait to see how the situation unfolds before building systems to comply with the new regulations – or maybe, in a couple of instances, pull out of the European market completely.

This is not good news for advertisers. Especially in the current economic climate, as experience has shown us that reducing advertising spend within a competitive market can have serious detrimental effects, negatively impacting on awareness and sales.

How can advertisers combat the impact of GDPR?

Craig Mytton, CRO, Bitposter

One option advertisers can explore is use of alternative media channels, where the impact of GDPR is less prevalent, and where the data required is already anonymised and GDPR-compliant – such as digital OOH.

The fast-evolving OOH market is opening up exciting new opportunities for advertisers, particularly through the growth of digital screens.

These are offering a raft of new advertising opportunities and changing the way OOH is purchased, making it very similar to other media channels – specifically online.

Additionally, what’s also exciting for traditional digital advertisers, is that they are best-placed to take advantage of some of the new functionality offered within digital OOH including:

  • Live social media feeds – where a person can change the content on a screen by messaging through a social media channel
  • High-fidelity day-part targeting – eliminating wastage and offering advertisers the ability to target commuters during core times of day. For example, offering a restaurant the ability to run a different creative for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the same digital screen
  • Full-motion creative & audio - allowing advertisers to run music with film trailer creative in environments like shopping centres
  • Geotargeting for moving media – targeting creative messages to specific parts of a town or city via digital taxi screens

Importantly, for those digital advertisers who are GDPR-compliant and have anonymised consumer data, they can also use this within OOH to identify locations that index highly for people interested in a product. This enables them to deliver highly targeted campaigns, by purchasing screens in areas where there are people interested in, and more likely to buy, your product.

Why choose OOH above & beyond other channels?

A number of advertisers may find it difficult to move from online to OOH – primarily because they are currently operating within a channel that’s delivering linear ROI and where they are able to justify a return for every pound spent.

The good news here is that this doesn’t change. Nielsen carried out research in the U.S. in 2017 that reveals that OOH is the most effective at driving online activity. It highlighted OOH delivers more online activity per ad dollar spent compared to TV, radio, and print.

It found online activations, including search, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram activity generated by OOH indexes at about four times the expected rate, given its relative ad spend.

Nearly five in 10 U.S. adults (46%) have used Google, Bing, Yahoo, or another Internet search engine, to look up information after seeing or hearing something advertised on a billboard, bus shelter, or other OOH format in the past six months. Also, nearly 40% have visited a Facebook page or posted a message on Facebook after seeing an OOH ad.

So, how does this feed into day-to-day execution?
  1. OOH is able to increase brand awareness – driving more people online to search for the advertiser’s product, service, or brand.
  2. Digital marketers can use online media to test and inform the OOH creative messaging.
  3. Digital advertisers can use online activity as an ROI measure by implementing an A/B test to look at how online performs, when it runs in isolation, compared to how it performs when supported by OOH. Digital advertisers have access to an ROI metric that will show the performance driven directly from the OOH activity.

As a result, if digital advertisers look beyond their usual media routes, and if they are prepared to try new things, they may find that OOH offers a significant opportunity – an opportunity that will enable them to continue to grow their business and maintain marketshare in a GDPR-compliant world.