‘Social media is the right partner for OOH’

29 Jul,2015


Digital has led to the explosion of Out-of-Home advertising in recent times. At the Outdoor Advertising Convention 2015 held last week, Mauricio Sabogal, Global CEO, Kinetic Worldwide, highlighted some  key trends in OOH and tells MxMIndia why this format works best in conjunction with other media.


From a global perspective, how has OOH been doing?

Out-of-home (OOH) has been growing a lot in the last five years, especially because of the explosion of digital out-of-home. Luckily, digital OOH is not coming out of the static OOH, so that means we are expanding the offer as a platform. While digital is eating in the budgets of traditional media, like television or print, OOH is becoming a real complement for digital advertising. We believe OOH is playing a central role in media planning, helping to activate and amplify measures through digital assets.


India seems to be doing fairly well in OOH…

I think because of geography, the difficulty in advertising and the penetration of other mediums in rural areas and small towns. OOH provides a real value for advertisers in this kind of environment. It is indeed difficult for the advertising industry to access the entire population. So in those environments, OOH works well.


What trends do you see in OOH in India vis-à-vis the rest of the world?

The biggest challenge in India is fragmentation. It’s the complexity in the markets, in terms of how to approach the population, and it’s a very complex market in terms of OOH as well. However, that challenge gives us the possibility to offer more value to our clients because of the need of an agency to integrate all the assets around, and create value for the business within the complexity. I see really good growth in India, especially because digital OOH is just starting, so in the coming years we can expect to see trends that we see in other markets.


There’s so much competition between mediums. A person travelling in a car has his/her mobile phone, tablet, perhaps even laptop on, and might miss the billboard s/he passes. So how can one grab attention with an OOH ad?

If you employ creative measures, you’ll get the attention. When you have competing screens, the advantage we have is the connection that OOH has with a mobile phone. The more interaction we offer with the mobile phone, the easier for the consumer to assimilate the measures and be engaged by the creativity in OOH.


So is it one or the other, or it is necessary for mediums to complement each other for a brand to effectively pass on its message?

OOH is becoming the centre of media planning. It’s the least fragmented, and offers the possibility to reach people in an easy way – particularly since mobile penetration is not yet that good, with [the reach of] smartphones beginning to expand. Also, OOH can be activated by the digital asset by default, especially through a partnership with social media which allows us to amplify the measures.


While the number of smartphones in India may be large, the usage is still at a nascent stage…

Not necessarily. OOH works depending on the situation. And in countries like India, the value that OOH offers in different towns and cities, is exactly how it is happening by country as well, depending on its development. In Korea, like in Singapore or the UK, the use and value of OOH is totally different, and the interaction that OOH allows is also totally different. That’s why specialised agencies matter; they understand the consumer and the local conditions and create the right plan for the right geography and culture. So no matter the difference in terms of development or technology, agencies are the ones provide the role that OOH plays in different spectrums.


Among your clients, how do they look at OOH versus other media?

I don’t think clients prefer mediums. It’s strategic planning matters that matters, and it depends on the conditions, the measures that need to be transmitted, the objective of the communication towards different mediums etc. When you are doing strategic planning, you are no longer rethinking in specific media; you are thinking of strategies to reach and engage the consumer. I’m not saying that the client prefers one or the other, I’m saying there are campaigns where OOH matters or where OOH is used in a better way than others. As I said earlier, creativity matters. Sometimes what is important is how creative the message is, and how we’re going to transmit that message depending on the medium and the amplification required.


So would you say that OOH is stealing budgets from other media?

At this point, I don’t see that. We are not stealing budgets from traditional media. When you see the trends, digital is taking most of the budget. However, the connection between digital and OOH is allowing us to take those budgets and put them into our sector. I believe the expansion of OOH is going to come from traditional media rather than digital, or more from expansion of our sector.


Are the spends on OOH in India in line with elsewhere in the world?

When you see advertisement invest by country, out of 100 per cent, about five to seven is on OOH, and that’s not different in India. The distribution of advertising shows that OOH represents between four and five per cent in India — a little less than in developed countries. What I hope is in the coming years, digital OOH helps us increase that percentage in the advertising expenditure.


There is no definite way to determine how many eyeballs a particular OOH ad has grabbed. Do you think the lack of measurement parameters is a downer for the sector?

Measurement has been very difficult for OOH. First, because it’s expensive and second, because of fragmentation. It’s difficult to put all the vendors together to create a trustworthy index. However, with the data available from cellphones and social media, we are using different methodologies to allow us to find the real impact of OOH and compare that with what digital is producing. Digital has a lot of data to track and measure effectiveness. So we are looking at the same data for how to measure OOH. The advantage is that once we are connected with social media, we can measure the effectiveness through social media data.


Are you saying there ought to be some synchronisation between OOH and other forms?

Totally. Social media, for me, is the right partner for OOH. While the latter provides the creativity, the idea, execution and amplification comes from social media. We have plenty of cases to show that OOH in combination with social media provides fantastic results.


With OOH being essentially a one-way medium, how do you make sure your ads will help lead to sales?

I disagree that it is one-way. It is changing, and today, with interaction with the mobile phone, OOH is becoming a two-way communication tool. Secondly, the value that OOH provides has different models. We are using econometrics to measure RoI and effectiveness in OOH. In fact, one of our companies is creating dynamic placing based on econometric modelling to allow us to place the advertising based on what the model suggests, and be more efficient and measure RoI for advertisers.


Lastly, what trends do you forecast for OOH?

The key trend is that OOH is moving towards the centre of media planning, while TV is moving out. I believe that OOH is the least fragmented, and giving us an advantage over digital, because in most countries, mobile penetration is poor. Also, the connection between the mobile phone and OOH creates a certainty for advertisers to reach people on-the-go.


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