06-11-2018

Advent of digital OOH in India

4 min read

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In today’s world where consumer’s attention span is decreasing quickly, innovation in outdoor advertisements is imperative for a better impact. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, one of the oldest and rather untouched form of marketing, perhaps has the most potential for experimentation. Several brands in the West are doing just that — the OOH industry in the UK, US and parts of Europe have been witnessing a delightful amalgamation of old-school branding and new-age technologies. Some of these include Geo-tagging, sensor-based triggers, gesture recognition, heat mapping or — in the case of the BA hoarding — ‘automatic dependent surveillance broadcast’ a.k.a. triggers in billboards that react to objects in the sky!

With India slowly replacing China as the largest consumer market in the world, it is important more than ever to rethink outdoor advertising in this geography. Where does India stand then, a landscape where there are infinite possibilities of OOH campaigns due to the diversity of people. Well, in comparison to the west, India hasn’t really had an advent of digitalization to that scale in the OOH space and this is due to many reasons ranging from lack of awareness and infrastructure to the absence of a uniform set of government regulations.

Approximately 95% of all OOH formats in India include traditional billboards, bus queue shelters, pole kiosks, bridge panels, gantries, buses, trains, trams, metros, airport media, mall media, etc. Of this only the airport, metros and mall media seem to have digital advertising spaces. There is a lot of opportunity to bring the digital real estate to the streets of India while keeping the safety of the drivers and the pedestrians as the foremost objective. The government also has certain safety guidelines in place though nothing is concrete and standardized.

Industry experts claim that the US and UK are currently investing close to 25–30% of their OOH spends on digital campaigns, while the Indian figures currently hover around 6–7%. Outdoor advertising can be the most effective medium with better reach — but only if it is done right. Hoardings and banners are enduring but they lose their effectiveness in the dark. This is where LED billboards stands out. A digital, consistent, and cost-effective promotional tool, LED billboards can really expand the reach to the potential customers. LEDs have a wider appeal than the traditional billboard hoardings. The flamboyant, striking, and unique display has a better chance of catching a passer-by’s attention. LEDs are available in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes that are very catchy and appealing to the senses. In the current lifestyle, streets during the night are as busy and bustling as the day and Digital displays are the best way to reach the consumers during this time. The vibrant LEDs are attractive at night and day light both and can be viewed from a decent distance. With smart strategic content, these digital displays are powerful outdoor advertisement tools that can convey a message clearly to the potential customers. Digital displays connected to the cloud clubbed with the new machine learning and AI technologies can open up a whole new world of new opportunities in terms of better targeting and reach.

We are on the brink of a Digital Out-of-home (DOOH) revolution. The necessary ingredients for this growth are starting to emerge slowly — from the lowering costs of LED screens to the increase in demand for such modern outdoor alternatives. Additionally, the Government of India is truly investing in building the right infrastructure through initiatives such as Smart Cities and Digital India.

‘Digital India’ is a dream that is still under construction and this is definitely the right time to rethink the DOOH space and disrupt it with cutting edge tools and technologies.