Views from Ad Week: What OOH can learn from the Content Experts….and Tinder

Dan Carey, a Business Director at Posterscope UK, reports from Ad Week Europe.
It seems somewhat ironic that each year Advertising Week Europe comes along, and each year I don’t get to attend quite as many sessions as I would have liked because I’m too wrapped up with the day to day tasks of working in advertising.  It’s like the music fan who misses the headliner at Glastonbury because he’s sitting in his tent listening to Spotify.
The good news of course is that you can stream the content live, but like watching Glastonbury on the BBC it’s not quite like being there.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I want to be in attendance in case Tracey De Groose or Sir Martin Sorrell decide to stage dive into the crowd, as it’s not that kind of gig, but being there to see and hear them speak is always better than watching it behind your computer screen.
So this year I’ve only managed to attend a couple of events, namely Storytellers will rule the world and How smart cities will transform advertising.  Both sessions offered a great insight into the sector I work in (OOH) but I’m going to focus on the storytellers session in this post. What this session in particular made me realise is how OOH, and especially the content displayed within it, needs to start behaving more in the way the businesses of the entrepreneurial women who were on the stage do.
Take Sam Baker for example, her lifestyle website The Pool was created with people’s time pressures, moods and mind-sets at its core, producing content that’s focused, relevant and timely.
Sam and her team understand the pace of the world we now live in and the volume of communications we are bombarded with each day.  Where other sites are throwing click bait at our computer screens to try and tempt us in like a rich man to Panama, The Pool has gone for a less is more strategy. They instead deliver original content that their female audience want, broken down into time stamped chunks to let you know how much of your day it’s going to take up.
It’s a bold move, but a logical one and is something the OOH industry, in particular planners and advertisers can learn a lot from. A consumer’s time is limited, they have messages being thrown at them almost on a second by second basis and they know what they like and what they don’t. Therefore we need to make sure what we plan and what advertisers display, fully understands and embraces this.
Combining all the insights we now have about OOH audience behavior – whether that be physical, social or neurological – we are now in a place where we, like The Pool, should start delivering content that is more focused on individual consumers.
I’m not saying do away with broadcast, as this impact is one of the biggest benefits of OOH, but by combining these audience insights with the growing digital infrastructure in particular, we are now in a better place than ever to truly start delivering personalisation at scale. This will give increasingly selective and sophisticated consumers something that it truly worthy of their time.
It’s kind of like Tinder for advertising, with all the messages consumers receive they can choose to swipe left or swipe right depending on what catches their eye, so brands need to make sure what’s displayed is appealing enough. Appealing enough that consumers want to swipe right, want to communicate, and engaging enough so that in the longer term this initial dalliance is turned into love rather than just a one night stand.  It’s time for OOH to get its flirt on.