How Data & Insights are helping OOH Bounce Back!
The out-of-home (OOH) industry is starting to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with the assistance of real time data and insights.
QMS’ new intelligent data and insights platform DYNAMiQ is helping with the recovery, offering advertisers confidence and audience guarantees for their OOH campaigns.
AdNews sat down with QMS chief strategy officer Christian Zavecz to discuss how OOH has been impacted during this period and what insights DYNAMiQ has revealed for the business and its clients since launching.
Did OOH go into total hibernation during the depth of the pandemic lockdown?
As with the majority of advertising and communication sectors, OOH absolutely felt the economic brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, to say that it went into hibernation would be an exaggeration.
During the early stages, there was a lot of uncertainty and our core focus was attending to critical business issues with clients and a need for us to be flexible in the movement of some campaigns.
We were fortunate to have just launched our intelligent data and insights platform DYNAMiQ, when COVID hit, and the fact that it is powered by mobility data enabled us to transparently report real time audience numbers for our digital billboards on a weekly basis.
What the data showed us was that whilst people were moving less often, they were still moving; and more critically being able to delve further into the how, where, when and why gave us a more in depth understanding of these audience changes.
The robust and granular data provided by DYNAMiQ also enabled us to successfully optimise site selection based on the real-time environment and implement an audience guarantee initiative that ensured our clients’ campaigns continued to deliver audiences equivalent to what they were at the same time last year.
This audience guarantee has provided clients with the certainty they are after during the pandemic.
- Christian Zavecz - QMS Chief Strategy Officer
What are the signs that the OOH audience is returning?
The good news is that audiences have already bounced back quickly with our total OOH audience at 78% of pre-COVID levels nationally, excluding Victoria.
This number jumps to 81% when looking at People 21-54, reflecting the greater need for caution amongst the older end of the population.
Not surprisingly, WA has been the best performed with audiences almost back to normal, 96% of pre-COVID.
Stage 4 restrictions have obviously impacted Victoria with the latest week of data (w/c 3rd August) showing audience back 27% from what they were during the Stage 3 restrictions.
What does the data tell us about OOH audiences now?
Aside from bouncing back from a volume level, we are also seeing re-adjustments to the way that people are travelling, and in turn the effect that it has on certain types of sites and locations.
Looking nationally (excluding Victoria) at the most recent data (w/c 3rd August), we can see that audiences in even some of the worst affected areas are starting to return quickly with CBD, Inner Urban and Major Arterials at 79%, 77% and 79% of pre-COVID levels respectively.
Not surprisingly Airport audiences are still being significantly affected at 39% of pre-COVID levels.
The flow of people. What habits formed during the pandemic?
One of the biggest shifts that we saw occur was the ‘flattening’ of the day which was largely the result of work from home measures and the removal of normal work travel patterns.
Usually we see quite a distinct morning and afternoon peak across most audiences and locations, however during the pandemic we saw this movement start to spread more evenly across the day, as per the graph below.
During the peak of the pandemic, we saw distinct differences in the demographical impact on audiences as demonstrated in the charts below. Younger more carefree audiences dropped to 53% (People 21-24) whereas older and more susceptible audiences dropped to 44% (People 55+). Excluding Victoria most age groups are now above 80% of pre-COVID audience levels, except for our most vulnerable group with People 55+ at 73%.
What is the opportunity now? What type of goods/services are matched to OOH?
OOH continues to be one of the most effective broadcast media for advertisers and through the maturation of digital OOH, it has now become more relevant to more industries than ever before.
The powerful data that DYNAMiQ delivers each week is helping to provide advertisers with certainty and confidence in the knowledge that their OOH campaigns will continue to deliver the mass broadcast audiences they require.
The combination of impactful formats, with intelligent data and dynamic creative capabilities now presents a powerful communication platform for any advertiser. This is the opportunity and those advertisers who embrace all the medium has to offer will be the ones who reap the rewards.
You mentioned audience guarantees earlier – can you elaborate on that further?
For a while now we have seen a significant void in OOH around accountability and ensuring delivery of audience. As an industry, we have traditionally been focused on selling an asset or group of assets rather than an audience.
The robust and granular nature of the DYNAMiQ data now allows us to not only compare audiences historically (by day, by week, by month or year) but it enables us to track actual campaign data, and that is vital to ensuring that we can deliver the audience that was bought by the client, especially during a global pandemic. A level of trust and transparency not previously able to be realised in OOH.
One piece of advice for marketers?
The enhancements in data sophistication enable marketers to plan and execute their OOH campaigns with greater precision and effectiveness than ever before. And when fused with dynamic creative capabilities, the industry will move from being seen as a digital asset to a true digital medium. So let’s stop talking and do more doing!