OOH! Out-of-Home and Mobile/Location-Based Marketing

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Adotas explores the convergence of OOH (out of home) and mobile/location-based marketing in this Q&A with Mike Gamaroff, EVP of Channel Strategy at SITO Mobile.

Q: Which is your favorite medium between mobile and outdoor?

A: Neither. I have moved between both digital and outdoor; not only because I like a change but also because there have always been aspects of both in which I saw great promise. Digital provides fully trackable path-to-purchase insights, but can be intrusive and subject to viewability doubts, whereas outdoor has the premium power of large format engagement that cannot be ignored though it is extremely difficult to measure with any tangible certainty. Fusing them together symbiotically therefore makes all the sense in the world.

Q: What kind of data can you get from mobile phones that would be useful for an advertiser?

A: Mainly it’s the location that counts. Sure you can get things like OS and carrier, but you can do so much with GPS coordinates and a time stamp. You don’t get anything personally identifiable though, so we can never know whose device it is we’re seeing. With this we can understand where certain types of people are going, and if you are an advertiser with a product that is only suitable for certain consumers, well then the idea is you would only show your media to those people when they are in those locations.

Q: If phones only transmit their locations but no personal data, how do you know what audience type they are?

A: Well it’s what you do with all of these locations. People of certain types tend to live, work and play in certain places. If a device is spotted in a suburban area overnight, goes to an elementary school the next day, visits a supermarket in the evening etc, you might assess with a few extra qualifying parameters that they are a mom with young kids. Ads for Captain Crunch might go down well here.

Q: So when does outdoor advertising come into this equation?

A: Outdoor ads exist mainly in fixed placements in the real world. If we now know there are certain types of people who frequently visit certain kinds of places, then it means advertisers can concentrate their outdoor messages in the places that matter to them.

Q: You mentioned earlier that outdoor advertising suffers from the inability to measure its impact, how can mobile solve this?

A: It’s been shown that consumers tend to be influenced by an ad after numerous exposures. If we show a mobile ad to a person who we know was in front of large Outdoor billboard earlier that day, that mobile ad will have much more impact and a higher response rate. Sure, the final exposure that led to the engagement was on mobile, but it was because of the first exposure of the billboard that led them to that outcome in the first place. It’s a match made in heaven showing that neither these mediums should ever really exist alone. The future of location media is mobile and outdoor always together – without exception – if you care about efficiency in your media spend, that is.

Q: What are some obstacles before we can get there?

A: In the bloated world of agency holding companies, there is an almost religious separation of church of and state when it comes to channel swim-lanes. Large agency groups still have outdoor and mobile being bought in entirely separate buildings, on opposite sides of the city. To make matters worse, they encourage sibling rivalry which invokes fighting over the same budgets like piglets with one less available teat – all the while forgetting what’s best for the brand. The other issue is that outdoor media owners may believe in the importance of mobile, but there’s little motivation for them to sell somebody else’s inventory even if it does make sense for them to package it together.

Q: How can we overcome these?

A: The great thing is that brands are figuring this all out and placing agencies under pressure to get up to date with the times. SITO Mobile is a DSP that offers generous revenue sharing models for media owners to ensure they are not left out in the cold and can sell mobile with relative commercial impunity without fear of cutting into their budgets.

Q: What about those who worry about privacy and their locations being used for the purposes of targeted advertising?

A: Consumers are getting free lunches from the over 200,000 apps that they use on a daily basis. They rely on Google maps to get to meetings and restaurants on time and they always know what the weather is going to be like. Nobody ever said that a Verizon subscription entitled consumers to all of this added convenience for free. Giving up a device ID and a GPS coordinate is a very small price to pay for all of this, especially since advertisers have no idea who that device actually belongs to. When Cuba opened its doors to Americans for the first time in decades in a historic gesture of renewed cooperation, all you could hear was the sound of Khloe Kardashian having an anxiety attack when she visited Havana and could not connect to a carrier signal. Consumers must realize that they are still private when it comes to their personal identities, but have to expect to give a little in order to participate in a connected world.

Q: What is your message to advertisers who are accustomed to buying either mobile or outdoor as two separate channels?

A: There’s no question that these two channels belong together like Ross and Rachel. They are two sides of the same coin and where one fails, the other compensates. Outdoor is now measurable, and mobile ads have been primed for greater response. Outdoor buyers must supplement their campaigns with geo-fenced mobile retargeting, and mobile buyers should prime their media with some strategically placed outdoor.

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