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In an age of mobility, outdoor media is the second screen

As the importance of both "context" and "mobility" come into their own in the media, outdoor stands to reap the benefits, says Chris Forrester.

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The purpose of advertising is to deliver a stimulus that produces an effect. The more powerful the effect is, the more likely it is that it will cause change in the attitudes or actions of its recipients.

Increasingly, we understand the importance of context in its ability to add to the advertising effect that’s experienced.

In a nutshell, context is the effect of the environment on how a consumer responds to an advert or marketing execution. So, with that mind, context has suddenly become top of the agenda due to another buzz word – mobility.

Not mobile but mobility

The progression of technology, particularly in smartphone capabilities has resulted in a clear behavioural shift and has further enabled the era of "mobility". Not "mobile" the outdated term restricted to devices, but bona fide mobility, where the consumer is utilizing the increasingly sophisticated capabilities of their smartphone to live their lives on the move.

Personally, and I admit this isn't the case for everyone, when I think mobility I think about smartphones and not tablets.

Apparently we are now "always on" connecting through smartphones a staggering 110 times a day, searching brands and showrooming being great examples of this. So, recognition of the importance of context and acting on it on this platform is crucial for brands to successfully engage with and please consumers.

The importance of context

A positive response from an ad served through a mobile device is many times more likely if the ad is relevant and contextual.

In the second edition of its "mobile playbook" Google spells this out: "When companies talk about the opportunity mobile presents, often they are referring to the opportunity context presents.

"A better understanding of context, the specific circumstances in which your customers seek you out, such as time, location, and even proximity, allows your marketing message to be more targeted, meaningful, and successful."

It’s not surprising that it didn’t mention outdoor at this point but, perhaps when you bear in mind the current trajectory of the connected consumer it could easily make its way in to Google’s next edition.

In the same handbook, Google highlighted that "90% of consumers move sequentially between one device to another to complete a task whether it be shopping, planning a trip, or browsing the internet.

"Simultaneous multi screening is already the norm in the living rooms with nearly 40% of smartphone users watching TV while browsing their smartphones on a daily basis."

So I’m joining up the importance of context and the concept of second screening at the moment of mobility.

But most of the time we are in consumer mode, we are also conducting our lives in the Active Space that is Out of Home.

Out of home is the main driver

While Google suggests that it is mobile that will typically spark these multi device sessions, I would suggest that when consumers are outside it is their OOH experience which is actually the major instigator. The stimulus of the environment sparks the device session.

Context has always played a huge part in the reason brands use OOH. For centuries OOH aficionados have provided the greatest context by carefully considered placement and location of ads in order to command the best result from passing consumers, commuters, shoppers, socialisers, when they are at their most active and attentive.

It’s no accident that we pay more attention to our surroundings when out of our home (this harks back to prehistoric times when we could have been eaten alive).

OOH advertising utilises the context of who people are, and therefore what to target them with, as well as when and how to do it to evoke a positive response.

So if it’s mobile first planning we’re working towards, in moments of mobility, the poster is the second screen. A, (very large) second screen if you will, that increases rather than diminishes in importance in the presence of a mobile device.

Consider the power of combining your mobile advertising with an OOH execution. Add to that increasingly sophisticated geo optimised, socially charged mobile devices, which enable advertisers to continually follow the journey of the consumer and trigger creative that’s completely appropriate for the individual at the moment in time.

Now the creative power to drive effect is being magnified by the relevance of the moment created through contextual planning and execution.

Next time you’re planning a mobility campaign that needs to follow the different contextual states of your consumer throughout the week, consider the real life relevance of mobile and OOH working together in the Active Space.
 
Chris Forrester is commercial director at Primesight

This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk

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