Dom Kozak of JCDecaux UK Explores Attention as a Paramount KPI in pDOOH's Efficacy

Dom Kozak, head of programmatic, JCDecaux UK, delves into all things programmatic DOOH and attention, including metrics associated with pDOOH, and advancements of omnichannel strategies.

How does attention serve as a metric in evaluating the effectiveness of pDOOH, and what is its historical evolution?

The ubiquity of OOH environments (e.g. shopping centres, train stations, airports, metropolitan streets) and the variety of digital formats available (static, motion, small format, large format etc.) provides brands with an opportunity to capture peoples’ attention as they go about their daily lives – commuting, shopping, grabbing a coffee etc. 

The attention given to OOH ads is baked into the data that is used to plan and report on campaigns – Route - which has naturally carried through into pDOOH. However, the specific attention given to any individual OOH ad, depends on the screen size, the environment, the type of creative, and, of course, the relevance of that creative to the audience - all of which have parallels in other programmatic channels. 

Because pDOOH is bought via a DSP, most often alongside other channels, measuring attention provides marketers with a consistent way in which to measure pDOOH effectiveness and provides the link between online and offline as it is one of the only metrics that can be used across all channels in a fair way. 

Programmatic capabilities, such as real-time bidding and trigger-based creative optimisation, give marketers more options when it comes to how they evaluate which factors have a positive impact on attention in DOOH. Furthermore, the ability to buy pDOOH via the same DSP as you buy other channels such as CTV, mobile, and in-app combined with the ability to measure attention across multiple channels means that marketers can glean additional insights into how frequency and creative messaging in each channel impacts performance (including attention) in other channels – something that has not been possible until recently. 

Beyond large screen sizes, what makes pDOOH especially effective in capturing attention?

Programmatic targeting solutions enable marketers to increase the contextual (location) and timely relevance of creative thus providing an opportunity to further boost attention. Through the use of data and algorithms, advertisers can target specific audiences with tailored messages based on factors such as location, time of day, product popularity, and even environmental factors. This level of precision can help to increase effectiveness improve return on investment (ROI).

Secondly, pDOOH offers greater flexibility and agility meaning that campaigns can be planned and activated faster compared to traditional buying routes. This enables advertisers to respond to real-time events and changes in market conditions, again increasing relevancy. 

Finally, because pDOOH is highly measurable, advertisers can track the performance of their campaigns in real-time and optimise as needed. This level of transparency and accountability is highly valued by advertisers and can help to improve the overall effectiveness of campaigns, including attention.

Do certain ad formats or environments excel at capturing attention? Are there challenges associated with specific formats?

First, I think it’s important to understand what we mean by ad format and environment. 

In pDOOH, when we talk about ad formats, we’re referring to two things: 1. the size of screen and 2. the type of creative served e.g. static, animated, or video. Environment then refers to the location of the screen – roadside, rail, supermarket, mall, and airport. Different ad formats exist in different environments e.g. in a train station there might be smaller (D6) screens as well as larger screens most often located above or alongside departure boards. Finally, when it comes to the type of creative, in most cases all our screens can carry static, animated, and video creative, but there are sometimes restrictions based on location, e.g. no video in areas where it could constitute a distraction to drivers or pedestrians in high-traffic areas. 

The specific attention given to any individual ad therefore depends on the screen size, the environment, the type of creative, and, of course, the relevance of that creative to the audience. The ads that perform best in terms of attention are those that are thoughtfully placed in contextually relevant locations, with creative that addresses the mindset of the audience at that particular time.

The challenges that exist in pDOOH often stem from creative that has been poorly re-purposed from other channels. A creative that’s been designed to be seen on a screen within arm's length often contains quite a lot of information, or uses a relatively small font, and brand logos tend to take up less space than is optimal for DOOH. But that shouldn’t put people off adapting online creative as there are huge benefits to consistent messaging and imagery on and offline, plus there is a time saving to be had by repurposing creative where possible. A few simple changes are often all that’s needed to transform an effective online creative into an attention-grabbing outdoor creative that can then be super-charged with data-driven optimisation. 

JCDecaux’s Visual Impact Measurement (VIM) tool provides marketers with an automated way to test multiple creative variations and understand where consumers’ attention will be focussed within the creative execution. This makes it easy for digital marketers to understand which of their existing creative assets will work well in pDOOH. Using AI and machine learning, VIM also provides creative optimisation recommendations based on thousands of previous tests to increase attention. 

What methods can marketers employ to gauge the attention garnered by pDOOH campaigns, and how do these compare with other channels?

JCDecaux UK has recently partnered with Lumen and System1 to produce a robust attention measurement methodology that encompasses three techniques:    

  1. JCDecaux’s VIM testing which looks at which parts of the creative capture consumers’ focus
  2. Lumen’s attention test to identify what people see when they view DOOH ads in the real world
  3. System1’s effectiveness testing to uncover how people feel about different creative

The data and insights that are derived from these types of measurement can more accurately capture the nuances of media quality within and across channels. Our research has shown that logos at the top deliver +32% brand recall and products that take up more than half the screen size deliver 38% more attention. The rest of the space should be used wisely with one, maybe two, clear calls to action.

Using these guidelines as a starting point, marketers can then further maximise attention by layering additional data-driven insights into the creative strategy, for example, optimising the call to action or products shown based on location-based first-party consumer data. 

The digital advertising ecosystem is at a tipping point where marketers are moving away from the binary metrics such as viewability and CTR to measure performance and instead are turning to attention and many of the measurement techniques are similar to those used in DOOH. Of course, there are differences, such as the consideration of scroll speed in mobile or ad saturation in in-app, but the fundamental principles remain the same. To get a holistic view of attention across multiple channels you ideally need to measure active attention, passive attention, and non-attention. 

What advancements are being made in measuring attention for pDOOH, particularly in omnichannel strategies?

The biggest advance in the market recently has been the integration of attention measurement within omnichannel demand-side platforms (DSPs). This is significant as it gives marketers the ability to use a consistent point of measurement across all programmatic buys. This means that marketers can get deeper insights into their programmatic investment across channels and make more informed planning and optimisation decisions across the entire programmatic media mix in real-time. 

As more brands and agencies incorporate attention data into their media planning and buying, we are seeing strong evidence that attention measurement and resulting optimisation drives positive business outcomes. From a pDOOH perspective, this is fostering growth across several areas, including enabling new brands to use the channel for the first time thanks to a single, cross-channel access point. Additionally, brands that are already investing in pDOOH can easily increase their investment in the channel thanks to demonstrable proof that exposure to highly targeted pDOOH increases attention across online channels that struggle to attract audience attention across specific demographics or locations, for example.