Sunday 2 February 2014 10:58 pm

Digital advertising on the street: Why posters are no longer static

@LiamWardProud WITH online marketing campaigns accounting for an ever greater share of advertising budgets, digital posters and billboards are catching up fast. There were over 79,000 digital out of home (OOH) advertising sites in the UK in 2013, according to a recent report by OOH specialist agency Kinetic. This figure is set to grow to almost 90,000 by 2016, and over 113,000 by 2020 – a 43 per cent increase in just seven years. Overall, digital is expected to account for 35 per cent of outdoor advertising spend by 2020. But technological developments, including smartphone connectivity and geo-location, mean that many future campaigns will be a far cry from the traditional posters and billboards we’re used to. One facet of this change will be a mimicking of web marketing techniques, says James Davies, chief strategy officer at Posterscope. “Outdoor content can be increasingly personalised, or tailored to a specific time of day. We can be far more programmatic with campaigns.” Posterscope worked with Stella Artois to devise a weather-based strategy for its new Cidre drink. Analysis showed that demand for the product rose when the ambient temperature was above a certain point. To harness this, 120 digital screens were linked up to site-specific weather data (Davies says that around 2m individual forecasts were used in the campaign), and the content was triggered when the temperature passed a specific threshold. But digital OOH can also create a far more engaging experience, says Kinetic’s UK chief executive Stuart Taylor. “We’re aware of the amount of spam people are exposed to. So we’re thinking about ways to make OOH a valuable exchange for the consumer.” Taylor cites Tesco’s use of a touch screen at Gatwick airport as an example. Registered Tesco mobile customers could log in through the interactive display and order groceries ready for their return from holiday. “This gives the audience something to engage with,” Taylor says, “something useful.” Examples like this illustrate how digital OOH is blurring the lines between advertising and the provision of a service – at once promoting a company and delivering something useful for the audience. This trend is only set to continue, according to Taylor. “The high street is changing. Consider how much more valuable it is to allow someone to download a film trailer to their smartphone, rather than just showing them a static image.” Liam Ward-Proud is business features writer at City A.M.