Changing Seasons: How Brands Can Ensure Their Messaging is Event-Specific
Thanksgiving and the holiday season is just around the corner. In a chaotic and ever-changing world, fixed calendar events like these provide predictable and unifying anchor points. No wonder, then, that so many marketing plans are now seasonal.
Retailers are once again preparing campaigns and promotional events against a new set of seasonal tentpole events. But while this pre-holiday period is nothing new, three things are very different this year. First, after the worst of COVID-19, more shoppers will be in-store in the months ahead. Second, the economic and social environment remains unpredictable. Third, new technology allows marketers to better embrace a busy calendar of overlapping events.
In this context, out-of-home (OOH) ad budget is bouncing back, forecasted to surge by 36.4 percent in 2022, spearheaded by the rise of programmatic digital out of home (DOOH), which has the ability to reach fast-changing event crowds in this uncertain climate.
Programmatic DOOH unites out of home’s high impact, digital’s creative targeting toolset, and the dynamic efficiency of “programmatic” ad buying and delivery. The result allows brands to reach precisely defined groups with messaging customized for both audiences and their physical contexts, whether that's a sidewalk, a store, a stadium or the subway.
So, how exactly does programmatic DOOH help retail brands reach desired audiences with relevant, event-specific promotions?
Dynamic Audience Targeting
Using anonymized mobile location IDs, programmatic DOOH leverages user behaviors at a large scale to connect brands with crowds of people, also known as "one-to-many" targeting, to build a clearer picture of when, where and how OOH advertising can be most impactful.
As a result, when a specified threshold of a chosen audience is seen nearby a particular DOOH screen, a retailer’s campaign can be quickly triggered to display its promotion, ensuring that impressions reach relevant consumers.
In practice, this means that marketers can choose to target young women near a screen in a shopping mall during seasonal sales, show gameday creative to fans traveling to a sporting event, or show specific messaging to attendees of a specific rock concert that night. Thanks to the twin capabilities of location awareness and local event insight, the possibilities of programmatic DOOH are close to limitless.
Moments Make Retail Relevant
Audience signals are not the only reason programmatic DOOH is so effective. Cues from the wider world can make for dramatically relevant creative. Time-of-day has emerged as one such attribute, allowing retailers to show a breakfast wrap in the morning or herbal tea in the evening, for instance. This can be pushed even further with situational conditions such as higher risks of catching a cold during winter months triggering specific ads at a specific time and location.
Furthermore, the ability of programmatic DOOH to quickly leverage unpredictable external signals can make for powerful campaigns. For example, traffic data enables a brand’s creative to strike an empathetic tone with motorists in a traffic jam on their way to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones. Similarly, weather forecast data can support the delivery in real time of a raincoat promotion during Thanksgiving weekend.
Using programmatic DOOH, big events are also perfect opportunities to activate highly personalized messaging. During the FIFA World Cup this November and December, retailers could harness game results, even details of specific teams or players, to deliver DOOH campaigns that really resonate, allowing for ongoing, in-competition timely moments that simply couldn't have been pre-planned.
Geo Data Means Smarter Stores
Brick-and-mortar is still big business. Programmatic DOOH can give real-world retailers the kinds of multilayered targeting capabilities previously enjoyed only by e-commerce merchants.
Brands can deliver promotions for in-store events only to shoppers within a specific geographic footprint. Messaging for a local holiday festival, for example, could be triggered during times when parents are most likely to be taking their children to and from school.
Meanwhile, the ability to connect on-the-ground store data into digital ad systems can further maximize spend. For example, a book retailer could use inventory data to launch a new back-to-school line, boosting footfall to stores with the most urgent stock to shift.
Or, if one local branch has to quickly close for repair, a campaign can be recalibrated in-flight, either to pull spend or redirect it to a campaign for a nearby open store. Spent this way, dollars can work harder and drive visitation of the right shoppers into the right retail locations.
Shoppers’ Feet Build Campaign Insights
When consumers enter a store, a breadcrumb trail is laid toward enhanced campaign effectiveness. Footfall indicated by privacy-compliant mobile location signals can be built into valuable custom audience segments, allowing future activity to be optimized or retargeted.
For example, frequently seen in-store shoppers can be flagged as loyal customers. Time-of-day and environment cues can build a detailed picture of what drives visitation. Even footfall to rivals’ stores can be harnessed in order to target competitors’ customers — a highly relevant cohort that was previously difficult to access.
These segments allow marketers to see audience journeys on a macro level to refine programmatic DOOH campaigns, enabling them to reach the right shoppers at optimum times and places.
The time is now. The fourth quarter is the calendar’s most competitive retail season. With the economy in flux, ambitious marketers are looking for every available tool to gain an advantage. Through a combination of audience indicators, wider-world data, and rapid delivery to an increasingly large network of connected outdoor screens, programmatic DOOH could help them move the needle.
With the infrastructure in place, the ability to quickly craft and customize campaigns that can be automatically triggered when certain conditions are met means retailers can target specific audiences, maximize spend, and respond relevantly to the rhythms of the year. Our shared calendar is a blank canvas for retailers to do their own best work. Leveraging programmatic DOOH to target the right customers at the right time this year could make this a very joyous shopping season.
Hector Gonzalez is the chief revenue officer of U.S. and Latin America at Hivestack, the first purpose-built, full stack programmatic digital out of home platform.
Chief Revenue Officer, US and LatAm, Hivestack
Hector Gonzalez joined Hivestack in September 2022. Responsible for the growth of the US & LatAm region and all sales and revenue initiatives, Gonzalez reports to Hivestack CEO, Andreas Soupliotis and works closely with Nigel Clarkson, Global CRO and other members of the leadership team. Bringing over 20+ years of experience across the out of home (OOH), DOOH and digital media space, Gonzalez has held senior roles at large scaling companies including T-Mobile, Outfront Media and several board member or advisor positions for companies such as Lyft, Movia, Mobilads and First Media/Outdoor 1st.