The Ward Group Weighs In on Getting on Board with Digital Out-of-Home

Written by The Ward Group

Back in August, we wrote about the rise of digital out-of-home (DOOH) in the post-pandemic world and the benefits it affords media buyers & advertisers. We shared that this medium is effective at capturing and retaining user attention, that there are more data points for targeting & measurement available compared to traditional out-of-home, and that DOOH is proven to be a medium that triggers cross-channel behavior on your digital ads and websites. These are all great benefits, it’s true. But today, we’ll explore the key benefit that in our opinion makes DOOH stand out from static OOH and other traditional media vehicles. We’re talking about creative flexibility.

Creative Flexibility with DOOH

Digital out-of-home combines the impactful mass medium of OOH with the dynamic messaging capabilities of digital. Out-of-home media buys are typically purchased in blocks of four-week windows. Traditionally, this meant having one static creative message put on a billboard by a production team that remains unchanged for the duration of the campaign. In these OOH scenarios, it is very expensive and labor-intensive to make any creative changes. With digital-out-of-home, these pains are alleviated. Media buyers & advertisers have the ability to swap out creative messages essentially at-will, ensuring that the brand message being served to viewers is as current and real-time as possible according to the current needs of the advertiser.

Why Should I Change Messaging with DOOH?

Businesses are dynamic. Businesses change. Needs & objectives change for businesses and for consumers. We learned this more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic affecting all facets of life, from mask mandates to vaccine restrictions to literal lockdowns, brands needed the ability to quickly share information about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, including changes in business hours, in-person dining, mask requirements & much more. Brands that were active in DOOH found it very easy to adjust and adapt their messaging. Other brands on more permanent channels like static OOH found themselves in a pickle. Now with the pandemic closer to the rearview mirror than ever before, the advantages of flexibility in creative messaging are being seen for other, more strategic purposes. For example, an e-commerce brand might promote custom coupon codes in DOOH ads to test different ad design versions. A restaurant is able to highlight the item of the week. An amusement park might have differentiated messaging depending on the weather outside. The options really are limitless. With DOOH’s ability to swap out creative messaging in real-time, the doors are open to differentiate messaging against a mass audience like never before. In fact, creative flexibility in DOOH can be so impactful that advertisers not taking advantage really aren’t maximizing the potential of the medium.

Technological Possibilities in DOOH

You can take the impact of creative flexibility in digital out-of-home to the next level with technology. We just described that DOOH buyers who aren’t employing creative flexibility aren’t really harnessing the power of the medium to its fullest. What if we told you that DOOH advertisers also have the ability to apply real-time, automatic information feeds to populate their DOOH ads? With the power of RSS feeds, brands have the ability to automatically adjust ad messaging with up-to-the-minute information.

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is technology that provides a live feed to a website that can, among other things, push details and data to a DOOH ad posting in real-time. This takes the creative flexibility of DOOH to the next level. Rather than manually swapping digital out-of-home creative (which is already a big step up from the static OOH swap process), media buyers and advertisers can rely on technology and automation for the most recent, relevant, real-time information to distribute to their target audience. For example, an amusement park advertising on DOOH could use RSS feeds to trigger different creative versions based on changing weather information. A hospital could have a dynamic emergency waiting room time reflected on their DOOH ads. And…well, you get the point! Tying DOOH capabilities into RSS feeds is a creative practice that is very underutilized in the industry, and we encourage brands to take advantage of it every chance they get.

Psychological Impacts of Creative Flexibility

The benefits of creative flexibility in DOOH don’t just stop at strategic and technological purposes. Thanks to the science of neurological study, we can actually see that digital out-of-home campaigns containing varied messaging over the course of a campaign tend to be more effective. Our friends at Clear Channel Outdoor shared a study conducted on brain activity that showed DOOH ads with creative variations were more than 38% more memorable than those with one fixed message version. The brain is more stimulated when presented with different messages from the same brand, rather than being exposed to the same message repeatedly. Clearly, the brain wants to see some variation.

What Do I Need to DOOH?

Are you ready to put DOOH to the test? First, you’ll need a strategic plan for a DOOH campaign. Our out-of-home media buyers can help with that. Then, once you have a DOOH schedule negotiated and placed, it will be important to stay in contact with our OOH media stewards to communicate any needs for differentiated advertising messaging. Creative specs will be provided, and all you’ll have to do is provide different creative versions to our media buying team. We’ll take care of the rest.

Our DOOH media buyers stand ready to help with all of your out-of-home needs, and we can help you tap into the creative potential of the medium and guide you through the process. Call us at 972-818-4050 to get started!

About the author

The Ward Group

The Ward Group is one of the most tenured independent media buying firms in the Southwest. Since 1985, media planning and buying has been our core compentency and sole focus. It is our passion! Our media buying strategy begins with a very simple philosophy that we follow daily. That is, we treat every dollar we invest as if it were our own. In looking at your money as if it is ours, we make sure it is working as hard as possible to achieve your objectives.

At the Ward Group, we have a very goal-oriented, rigorous process for addressing clients’ communication challenges. The planning process is thorough, disciplined and grounded in research. The output of this process is a strategic focus and sound media executions that are relevant to the audience and revenue-generating for the brand.

We have a superb team of professionals that is charged with producing the best possible outcomes for the brands with which we are entrusted. It's a responsibility that we accept and enjoy. Our goal is to create a place that people want to work with and for. We work hard to achieve that goal every day.