Out of home advertising is among the critical mass of integrated marketing communications. Other medium in the IMC eco system include television, radio, press and social media.

With the increasing penetration and usage of the internet across various economic groups and sectors, with reported penetration of over 50% in Nigeria. The internet has proven to be a tool for business, economic and social enhancements and engagement.

The media is particularly affected by the increasing penetration of the internet in the way the media is consumed by the audience.

Hitherto, media consumption was predictable in the sense that the audience was exposed to limited opportunities but now with hand held devices throwing up new opportunities for media consumption the audience is faced with a highly fragmented media eco system.

Media fragmentation has become very pervasive across television, radio, and the print medium. The only traditional medium unaffected by fragmentation is the out of home advertising medium due to its unique infrastructure and structural dependencies.

The relevance of the OOH medium will continue to grow as long as the consumers continue to spend more than 70% of the time outdoors. Because habits formed are difficult to quit consumers will continue to use the same highways, expressways, inner city ways, train stations, as they undergo their daily commute to work, school, church, recreation, sporting events, etc.

The manifestations of these habits is that the consumers will be exposed to the same billboards as they make use of the highways, inner city roads, train stations,etc  with the attendant message amplification over time.

The evolution of data and technology in the media eco system would also help to strengthen measurability and accountability of OOH assets and inventory that enables strategic OOH buying and requisite returns on investment, ROI.

Audience measurement has been a big issue for both OOH advertising asset owners and advertisers and has manifested to inappropriate rate determination and poor buying decisions for both parties.

While you may be distracted with your mobile phones, shopping online and social media browsing and gisting, it is inherent that the consumers are stock with the billboards spread across the expressways as they commute each day.  The static and digital displays at the train stations and bus terminals are regularly exposed to the consumers each time it uses those channels.

The emergence of social media and technology has transformed out of home advertising eco system to apply integrated approach to its campaign utilization. Recent campaign development has seen out of home advertising integrated with social media platforms such as twitter, face book and Instagram that has generated comments with the positive amplification and reinforcement of campaign messages.

Nigeria OOH agency, Posterscope deployed its Johnny Walker campaign through the integration of social media and OOH digital assets spread across Lagos metropolis.

The delivery of exceptional value to advertisers through out of home advertising medium with the integration of social networks would crystallize OOH inventory utilization.

Though the present economic recession in the country has led to massive cut in marketing communications budget but that has not diminished the exceptional value out of home advertising offers to the client as highlighted below;

Massive reach

One morning on my way from home at Isolo to the office at Mende Maryland taking through Bolede, Oshodi I decided to do a census of billboards and other hoarding on that route to ascertain the penetration of OOH assets between Isolo and Maryland. My observation was that there were more Unipole spectaculars and gantries than any other type of billboards. Further noticed that passing through the inner routes with heavy concentration of consumers and high vehicular traffic, billboards are practically non existence. My census came up with six Unipole spectaculars and two gantries on the route.

Out of home advertising is reputed to generate massive reach because of its concentration along traffic highways, train stations, stadiums, bus terminals, sub ways, etc and some of this channels provide opportunities for captive audience.

It is estimated that over two million vehicles commute daily from Lagos mainland to Lagos Island driving through the third mainland bridge. Though the figure for Eko and Carter bridges the other road arteries into Lagos Island is unavailable their command of vehicular traffic is also very high.

Cruising across major road arteries such as Mobolaji Bank Way, Ikorudu road, Apapa – Oshodi express way, Iganmu – Orile- Apapa, Costain – Eko Bridge in Lagos metropolis the avalanche of billboards donning the skyline is a testament of the massive reach of OOH assets.

Across Nigeria major cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Onitsha, Warri, Aba, Owerri, Enugu, Benin, Calabar and Uyo the presence of OOH assets are manifest in their major road arteries.

Inability to be skipped, blocked or turned off

In my July article I had discussed the emerging forms of marketing communications where it was stated that the evolution of ad blocking software’s are making advertisers to rethink their advertising campaign strategies. Because consumers see advertising as interruptions there are devising methods to avoid the distractions caused by the frequent bombardment of campaign messages by advertiser. Digital billboards will be critical to the integration of OOH assets with social media networks.

As the physical world progressively become connected and with ubiquity of mobile devices, free WiFi internet applications, proximity networks, integration of OOH digital assets with social networks will become more profound.

These interruptions are more pronounced in television, radio and internet based advertisement.

OOH continues to enjoy strong advantages over the traditional forms of advertising because it is boosted by its non programming content as seen in the traditional forms. As a result OOH has remained insulated from media fragmentation with great value additions to advertisers.

Proximity to point of sale

The primary goal of all advertising campaign messages is to create awareness, enable loyalty and drive consumer patronage. Patronage is delivered at the trade level and OOH medium facilitates the amplification and reinforcement of campaign messages as consumers commute daily.

The actual consummation and exchange takes place at the point of sales and brand owners seek out OOH locations along the trade channel route that would stimulate and enable exchange.

The typical campaign messages would be call to action oriented so as to achieve the desired intentions.

SoLoMo

SoLoMo stand for social media, local marketing and mobile media and is frequently being utilized by advertisers as key strategy in complementing OOH integration with social networks.

SoLomo recognizes the shifting media consumption habits driven on the back of social media and mobile marketing. Strategies has changed with advertisers engaging and enabling interactions with consumers to elicit patronage and usage.

More recent development has seen advertisers using OOH medium to drive consumers to web sites for interaction and engagement through social media networks. It thus justifies the increasing relevance of out of home advertising over other forms of traditional media.

Industry research findings shows that OOH audiences are young, mobile, affluent, and heavy users of the internet thus making it imperative to engage with them over the social media network.

Increasingly, out of advertising is connecting the consumers with brands in more engaging and effective new ways that was hitherto thought impossible. Technology enabled social media networks driven by face book, twitter, and Instagram is at the core of this integration.

The Nielsen OOH online activation study found the OOH was more effective in driving online activation than other offline media types achieving activation at four times the expected level.

The Bench marketing OOH ROI and Media Mix Optimization study reports OOH boosts the ROI effectiveness of search by over 40 percent when added to media plans.

No doubt it has been difficult getting proper measurement on OOH asset audience exposure in the past but with the increasing availability of data and analytics technology measurement for OOH consumption habits is becoming a reality.

My suggested approach would be collaboration between OOH industry practitioners and ICT data management entities. It can only get better but practitioners need to sustain the progress achieved with OOH campaign integration with social media networks.

Globally the shape of out of home advertising is experiencing real time changes as there are downloadable web applications that enable OOH asset owners to track information on consumers driving by its billboard as well as the content on display.

With innovation and technology the OOH industry is gradually creating its own version of viewed impressions.