By Remi Roques, GM Broadsign APAC.
In the world of Out-of-Home advertising, you might hear people talk about “making the switch” to digital. While catchy, this phrase can be a bit deceptive, because it makes the whole process sound easy. In reality, deploying digital to an Out of Home (OOH) network is a significant business decision, and should be carefully considered. If done properly, though, the results can be phenomenal.
Luckily, the principles of digital OOH (DOOH) are the same as traditional static OOH. Whether the screens are used for advertising and promotion, spreading information, or entertainment, the end result is engaging an audience. For any OOH operator considering adding digital to their network or are already in the early stages of deploying digital screens, the following six steps are essential.
- Plan for ROI
It might seem obvious, but every OOH media owner needs to make sure that digital is right for their business before spending anything. A good way to start is by gauging interest from advertisers. Asking your current customers if they’ve worked with vendors who offer digital before can give you insight into the types of DOOH they’re already buying – or, even better, what they wish they could buy. With this information, you can better determine which of your locations will turn the most profit after a digital conversion.
It’s likely that you’ll find a great deal of interest in digital right now. Particularly in the midst of this pandemic, advertisers more and more want to have full control of their advertising message. Having the ability to change creative in an instant in order to stay relevant has now become essential across every media category. Since digital panels can be updated with a click of a button, digital OOH messages can stay relevant for longer.
- Start small
By introducing digital in a small way at first and running a test pilot, OOH operators have the opportunity to spot problems early on and fix them before the digital network is brought to scale. There are many different ways to go about running these pilot tests. One is by packaging the sites geographically and choosing a handful of sites that are close to each other. This way, the same installation team can work with the sites, and fewer people on the sales team will need to be retrained. It’s also a good strategy to offer advertising packages that include a mix of both static and digital, particularly when approaching clients who are traditionally static buyers.
- Upskill your tech team
If you’ve decided to invest in digital, it’s critically important that you get the right people on your team. Pre-deployment and planning will require a project manager, an IT manager or technician, a digital sales manager, a software engineer, an integrator to ensure that the digital rollout will run smoothly and not disrupt the rest of the business, and a lawyer with knowledge of the DOOH market. In post-deployment and day-to-day operations, a content manager, traffic manager, web development manager, and network operations manager will need to be appointed.
- Make good deployment choices
There is no “one size fits all” solution – what works for one OOH business won’t work for another. As with all outdoor, the sites’ visibility is paramount. However, when digital is added into the mix, there is also the need to consider environmental factors. The hardware for the screens needs to match the environment they’ll be deployed in – installing a digital screen in hot, humid Singapore for instance, will need completely different technology compared to a site that has to withstand winter in northern China.
For all DOOH operators, the content management system (CMS) chosen is critical. The key to getting this right is to find a CMS that allows you to easily manage content strategy, run the sites remotely, and work to scale.
- Create a content strategy
A smart content strategy will need to evolve over time in order to adapt to market changes. The sales and IT teams should be included in these discussions, so that everyone has input into the types of advertising the business will sell, as well as an understanding of whether the technology can support it. The location of the sites should be a key consideration, as well as the ability of digital to play different content in the morning or evening, or on weekdays or weekends to target different viewers. Ultimately, the goal is to create relevance for the intended audience.
- Prepare your sales team
The goal of any sales team is to help advertisers understand how the medium can help them achieve their business outcomes and to utilise the inventory accordingly. The final, crucial step towards adding DOOH to an Out-of-Home business is to arm the sales team with the right tools and knowledge they will need. We recommend creating a set of content standards that are clear and simple for both the sales team and advertisers, as well as using audience metrics that the market is already familiar with. This will not only make everyone’s jobs a lot easier; it will also pave the way for a smooth transition from traditional static formats to digital.
As we are finding our way out of this pandemic, there hasn’t been a better time to set ourselves up with DOOH capabilities to meet the advertising demand that 2021 will bring.
If you’d like to learn more about adding digital to your OOH business, click here.