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Data and location based marketing – the new out of home

Technology & Data

Data and location based marketing – the new out of home


After oOh!media’s signing of a landmark new data partnership, CEO Brendon Cook explains the media owner’s new audience-targeting capabilities and where the company’s digital offering is heading.  

For oOh!media, its recently-announced partnership with data and analytics company Quantium contributes to a growing suite of data insights and audience-profiling tools.

By adding customer transaction and behavioural data, oOh!’s CEO Brendon Cook claims it will revolutionise the way advertisers can target audiences away of home. “It provides the foundation for an audience-led future that will help advertisers to plan and measure out-of-home campaigns with greater effectiveness and efficiency,” he said in the announcement. “We have spent 12 months on data interrogation – developing a methodology to link Quantium’s data to oOh!’s data in a de-identified and privacy compliant way, and analysing the outputs they produce.

“This agreement sets us on a very clear but differentiated path of building best in class data and follows Quantium’s other media partnerships with Facebook, MCN and News Corp Australia.”

For Cook, the most compelling aspect of Quantium’s data is that it is developed from billions of consumer transactions, capturing actual spending behaviour. We asked him about the deal, how it fits in the evolution of digital outdoor and why location is the new cookie.

Marketing: Where are you aiming to take oOh! in the short to medium term?

Brendon Cook - CEO, oOh! Media 2016 - H & S versionBrendon Cook: What we’re currently doing is going through the platform evolutionary build. As a business we look at it as the drive-by, walk-by, stand-by.

Walk-by and stand-by are the non-regulatory environments, which means you’re able to sit down and discuss with the property owner how best to integrate to their building and their confines. That has had the first evolution to digital.

Now, we’re well into the evolution of drive-by. That is a regulatory environment so we’ve got all the longer-term issues [that come with] building out all the assets in a regulatory environment.

What you’re seeing now is the platform-build phase, with all these new capabilities to bring clients in.

We’re probably yet to see the creative evolution of how you use classic static and digital out-of-home media.

I often to say the market, ‘Look at our business: we’re closer to a new media than we are to an old media,’ and that’s the difference.

The other thing is that we decided five years ago we weren’t an out of home company. We’re a location based company.

M: What’s the difference?

BC: The difference is it makes you think. Look at Melbourne Airport: we picked up all the online rights for the business. We have content products, such as Hijacked in universities and ShortPress in cafes. In Qantas lounges we’ve put the first signage system throughout lounges that are actually adding value to the customer as well as giving an advertising platform.

We’re now content creators, we’re now technology experts. They’re some of the things that we’re now doing to evolve into a very different business to what anyone would have thought we were five years ago.

The key to what we’re doing is we’ve got this diverse audience platform. Still, today, most briefs come in and say, ‘I want to buy a billboard, I want to buy a shopping centre sign, I want to buy…’, but if you think of the online world the brief is, ‘This is my customer, this is my audience, how do I connect to them?’ We’re now building out that capability.

M: What are the types of data you’re now able to offer?

BC: There are two sets of data: there’s acquired data that we pay for and other data sets.

We’ve just entered into an exclusive contract for out of home with Quantium. That’s an example of us taking data further. We will now be able to take it back to small location areas by sales volumes, by patterns, by all the other consumer behaviours, relative to sales behaviour.

Reach and frequency is moot. What we will now have is sales behaviour, and sales buying behaviour. We’ll have that consistently across all our platforms, metro and regional. That is to say, we’ll be extending our scale even further.

We have been collecting other data under a banner we call ‘Locate’. We have the buy data, then we have the create data, which is data we own from over 900 wifi establishments, and we have other things we’re doing.

The future, of course, is where clients are also collecting their own data and our job would be to help them facilitate how their data might match what we’re offering.

Most data these days is being captured at a location. Location is the new cookie. Really, if you think of oOh! as a location medium, that connection of mobile and out of home becomes this powerful combination for driving that engagement-reaction-action type result that advertisers are looking for.

M: Does being able to differentiate in these ways make it easier for you as a CEO to have more control over your company’s growth?

BC: That’s one of the key things for us. I take a very simple view in life when it comes to the OOH industry of what we offer as our core based product. You’ve got to have the diversity and capability to reach an audience, but then you’ve got to know what value is around that audience and how that helps your clients sell more.

Everything we’re building is designed so that we work with the client to be able to deliver them more.

Clearly, a key part of that is the data-poor industry that out of home has been is because it’s been so difficult to collect. It should never be forgotten that MOVE is many times harder than Oztam in a technical sense. To put it into perspective, you’re pre-supposing the entire movements of a city, and you’re collecting points together, and how those points may interact. So it’s incredibly more complex.

The fact that now lots and lots of data is being collected at location means that more and more data is being made available to connect what clients are actually selling to the ‘where you are’ side.

Quantium has done an incredible job of leading the world in getting that put together into actionable, plan-able segments. We can actually talk to clients differently and engage them in a way that helps them understand their business and what they are trying to achieve better than they have previously. That’s been the goal for us.

M: Five years ago, the out-of-home industry the key message around ‘why choose OOH?’ is that it’s not interruptive. Does that completely go out the window?

BC: We’ve already started changing it by the style of environment. Some environments, yes. Content becomes a rich part of the fabric of why we would put something there, and makes the advertising stronger. When it’s part of it, whether it be news or other style content. Others, it could be just ‘what actually constitutes content?’

One of the things you saw, as an example, with these Excite panels shopping centres love theatre in their shopping centres. People actually tell them that they love it. We’ve actually just added to the fabric, even though it’s commercial, of what could be described as content. The game-ification has been examples, informational, giving me something I really want to understand. For FitBit, I go into JB Hi-Fi and there’s all these FitBits, I don’t actually know which one to buy. Well now you’ve got something that’s engaging, and allowing you to determine them by answering questions.

That also in a way is content. Then you go back in to content that is actually helping them go through their life. An example of that would be the flight information displays connected to the signs at Qantas lounges, now means there’s flight information displays everywhere and no-one has to move to be able to see their flight information display.

The consequence of that, being part of the fabric of infrastructure, is that that’s providing actual value service. Then you have wi-fi provided overlaying that, is where you get the new part, where we overlay wi-fi. High quality wi-fi is what we’re putting in, and have been putting in.

The idea is ‘ok, we’ll give you the free wi-fi, here’s a landing page’ but what if we now include content? Which we do. That content means ‘I’m going to do my own work but I can come back if I finish that, and do something else, or I can engage in some content that may be something that’s interesting to me given my lifestyle.

If you take shortpress, we know that small business owners are big users of wi-fi in our coffee shops. A publication isn’t depended on that, but they go in, they land on that landing page, they see interesting articles curated specifically and aimed at small business. They think ‘I’ll read that article’. We’re getting high readership of those articles and therefore we build native content in other areas around it.

So we’re starting to see that content has a very broad meaning. From a simple thing like a time clock as an example, right through to something else, is a very important thing. We’ve also seen, as an example, what we did with Suncorp insurance before the cyclone period last year. We had informational going out on our digital signs, about how far the cyclone was away from hitting Brisbane and different parts of Queensland, and messages like ‘get your car undercover now, get yourself to safety now.’ Suncorp’s brand was being associated with providing content that was really there and now relative and specific to people. So, that’s the changes that we’re doing in terms of the styles of content we’re providing.

M: On the question of the medium not interrupting…

BC: I think that OOH will always be a combination of classic and digital. What we’re seeing is the evolving of how you merge the two together to create this consolidated concept. If I take the Pan movie as an example, and just take the excitement program you just saw there. The first part you just saw there is the deep dive engagement part. The second part, the classical digital sign, is ‘OK, it’s a movie with a lot of action and we can play that action in a full motion sense’ and the third part was the single proposition classic static sign.

What you’ll start to see is that merging of the creative take advantage of ‘now I have all these multiple ways I can integrate my touchpoint while people are away from home, and hopefully get a whole range of ways to then connect them when they’re using their mobile phone and create the connection between the two.’

There’s all these variants and it gives us this richness in media, that we didn’t have previously. Now we have this stronger and deeper richness, with which the way you can connect with people when they’re away from home, can be created.

M: What sort of investment in innovation is going in to the more traditional, static walk-by or drive-by signage?

BC: Classic signs, or static signs, for me, you know, we’re constantly looking for the highest quality locations that work. We’re thinking through what works for a client as well. Not every location, for example, even if they could be digital, should be digital. Because it may be certain viewing, consumer behaviour, walking that way, single proposition needs to be very solo and isolated.

Of course, technology means that people can engage in a whole different range of ways with static signs. You can have pay-wave, you can QR code. But you can simply have the text code and the online side. That’s still creating those engagements out of those single propositions. Single proposition will still be incredibly powerful, as it’s always been, and there will be technology that can be applied to it. Shazam, if you have a Shazam app you can go up and take a photo and rich engagement comes out of static. It’s those multi-touches we’ve got, it’s not just about the digitisation of signs. Digital has a number of meanings. But also there’s the classic of just how you can create impact out of classic signs, looking as we sit here today. Putting the pepsi can like that creates a sense of impact, doing what Kellogg’s done creates a sense of impact. Classic still has that constructive three dimensional impact that you can create out of it which people still want to use.

Again, I go back to what we’re seeing as an industry and as a company we now have multiple ways that we can connect clients and make the journey of away from home much stronger for them.

M: The last thing I wanted to ask you about is one of the key things coming from OOH providers has been on the issue of spend not matching proportionately to the media that a person consumes. How are you going about that, is it an education thing, are media planners getting the message?

BC: Of course they’re getting the message. I mean, at the end of the day, it all starts with our long, long structure of how to use media. That’s obviously all been fractured. What we’re clearly seeing is clients spending more with us than they’ve ever done. Moving up that percentage buy of what they spend. The consequence of that is, they don’t always tell us, which is they come back and buy more. So I presume it must be working. I think we’re also seeing that if you look at other products, if you look at clients that are using the medium, the Apples, the Samsungs, you look at the industries that have a lot of connections straight to online. Automotive and finance. Very heavy users of OOH. You look at the emergence of consumer growth coming out of online business in OOH. We’ve become a critical component because we connect to mobile or their offline strategy. Then of course you look at the media themselves, the traditional media. Radio stations, TV stations, who are after mass audiences. What are they using? OOH. I think you can actually see, what is happening, is that the medium is really working for people.

Spend growth doesn’t come because you’ve built a new digital sign, or you’ve put a bit of content on or you do something different. Spend growth, from an advertiser, comes because when they used it they sold more stuff. That’s really the benchmark. We don’t always get to see what happens with that, clearly. Hopefully we’ll get more data in due course.

The reality is, for us, what we’re seeing is we are driving those responses and those reactions. And we are getting told that. Engagement and recognition and awareness build and all that, has always been consistent research technique that has shown the power of the medium. But I think we’ll see a lot more depth to our research because of location data and the emergence of more and more data that will enable OOH to be really seen as much stronger in what it achieves.

M: So partnerships like this Quantium one basically allow you to go into that bottom line and say…

BC: We have a better chance of actually being able to get more accurate data in that space than we had previously.

Regarding digital sites in general, around sustainability and electric uses. How is that managed.

With a lot of these businesses we work bloody hard on everything to do with sustainability. You know, whether it be the light you use etc. The beauty is, that we only buy the highest quality signs. What you find, the highest quality signs have the lowest electrical consumption. You can buy cheap stuff, but it consumes power too quickly, and obviously doesn’t last as long, so you’ve got wear and tear and the waste created by that. We only spend at the top end of the range, which, what we’ve seen is the power consumption consistently coming down. I would say, I think at the moment it’s about half of what it was three years ago. That’s roughly double a normal illuminated sign and it’s coming down at a pace.

So technology, just like we’ve seen in homes, ultimately gets better quality and comes in price and chews up less power. We’re very conscious, that power is one of our critical assessments. It is equally probably number one. Number two is longevity, the guarantees around the display quality, the colour fastness, because that all involves waste if you have to replace things quickly. Those two come first, and to be fair, price is third.

The big things is that as clients, marketers start collecting more and more of their owned data. They can start to get better at how they analyse their customers and where they live and what they do. What we’re seeing is the power of OOH to relate with and deal with them, and help them find better ways to deep dive into that location and connect that to the emergence of mobile and its location capabilities will be one of the two emerging media in my view, and it’s been shown by the numbers. We are very strong now as a company of how we an help advertisers bridge that gap to make sure their own data, what data we have, what data they get from mobile can really actually work together to drive great results.

Ben Ice

Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020

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