Liv­ing in the Great In­doors

ArabAd - - CONTENTS -

We were of the op­ti­mistic ones, think­ing this would hap­pen in 2020, but here we are - 2016 and the fig­ures say it all. We are talk­ing about the ma­jor shift to dig­i­tal in the out­door sec­tor where the old bill poster, which en­tails print­ing and stick­ing has be­come re­dun­dant. The rea­sons for this shift are many, some very ob­vi­ous, oth­ers not so.

First, let us start with the good news. A new study re­leased re­cently from Out­smart, the mar­ket­ing body for Out of Home (OOH), re­veals that OOH ac­tiv­ity drives +17 per­cent up­lift in smart­phone brand ac­tions. The re­sults also show that the up­lift in smart­phone brand ac­tion in­creases to 38 per­cent among the top 20 best per­form­ing cam­paigns within the study and even higher for Mil­len­nial and Gen Z au­di­ences.

Re­sults demon­strate that OOH con­verts brand ad­ver­tis­ing into brand be­hav­iour, re­veal­ing 66 per­cent of smart­phone ac­tions are di­rect to brand, such as a search query or web­site vis­its. Fur­ther­more, 57 per­cent of re­spon­dents who took ac­tion were new or lapsed cus­tomers, high­light­ing the power of OOH for brands seek­ing growth by reach­ing a wider group of con­sumers be­yond the core buyer.

The other good news, is that for Clear Chan­nel, one of the UK’S premium OOH play­ers, its op­er­a­tions will gen­er­ate more than 50 per­cent of its rev­enues from dig­i­tal dis­plays this year, the first time that dig­i­tal has sur­passed other OOH ad­ver­tis­ing means.

The fig­ure il­lus­trates the huge leap, which the com­pany has made with its dig­i­tal bill­boards. In 2015, its dig­i­tal

July/au­gust 2016 dis­plays gen­er­ated 30 per­cent of its UK rev­enues, which in 2009 was just two per­cent.

Wil­liam Ec­cle­share, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Clear Chan­nel’s op­er­a­tions out­side of North Amer­ica, de­scribed the shift as a “dig­i­tal tip­ping point” and added that “It’s transformational in how we think about the busi­ness.”

Ac­tu­ally, play­ers in the OOH field scolded us for hav­ing an er­ro­neous neg­a­tive feel on the sec­tor; they in­sisted it is boom­ing and is still “cheap” as a sec­tor due to its wide reach­a­bil­ity and in­sured us that so much de­vel­op­ment is hap­pen­ing.

How­ever, a naked eye ob­ser­va­tion, shows that Ra­madan ads – which came and went – are still there, con­certs long held are still plas­tered and ma­jor unipoles sit­ting atop busy in­ter­sec­tions are empty or have not changed for months on end. Ten years ago, it was es­ti­mated that to make a cam­paign “vis­i­ble” one must have 650 bill­boards across town. To­day, we spot­ted a cam­paign with two – yes two – bill­boards on the way lead­ing to Beirut.

"It's the econ­omy, stupid!" - is a slight vari­a­tion of the phrase "The econ­omy, stupid," which James Carville had coined as a cam­paign strate­gist of Bill Clin­ton's suc­cess­ful 1992 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign against sit­ting pres­i­dent Ge­orge H. W. Bush. The econ­omy is in­deed so bad, the mar­ket so tight, no one is ac­tu­ally in­vest­ing in any­thing and ad­ver­tis­ing is the best barom­e­ter for eco­nomic re­cov­ery, and since no one pitched it, this means we have a long road ahead to walk.

Fig­ures of com­par­i­son on year to year ba­sis in­di­cate lit­tle or no dif­fer­ence in the bill­board sec­tor (with tele­vi­sion still tak­ing the lion’s share); yet, there was Ra­madan and es­pe­cially the mu­nic­i­pal and may­oral elec­tions. Even those two events could not push fig­ures up de­spite them be­ing back to back.

Sources exclusive to Arabad re­vealed that one of the ma­jor out­door play­ers, namely Groupe Plus, is merg­ing with two smaller en­ti­ties. Merg­ers are in­di­ca­tors that money is dry­ing up in the mar­ket, as what hap­pened when two main In­ter­net providers, Cy­be­ria and IDM did in the past when they re­alised the money was run­ning-out.

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