With 3% of digital inventory accounting for 10% of OOH (out-of-home) spends, India is on the cusp of high growth. Aiming to get a first mover advantage, WPP’s out-of-home media planning and buying agency, Kinetic Worldwide is testing and launching various products to deliver efficiencies to its clients, and bring in addressability and accountability with effective RoI management. But how does India stack up against the growing global markets with a lack in measureability? Kinetic Worldwide’s Global Director – Research and Technology talks to BrandWagon’s Chandni Mathur on why India is a challenging market and how the global markets are performing. Edited excerpts:
Mediums like TV and digital are evolving very fast with huge ad spends being allocated. How is out-of-home evolving globally?
We are seeing a significant expansion of volume and value of the digital OOH market, which is pretty much revolutionising our industry. As OOH starts becoming digital, it becomes more interesting in terms of the budget split; especially in the two main markets — the US and the UK. In the UK, 50% of the revenue is now coming from digital advertising. The pace of growth is drastically increasing in both markets with major vendors diverting their inventory to digital. It is thus, demanding a lot from us in terms of our capabilities in data technology. We are trying to evolve our existing capabilities towards what the digital industry is used to in terms of real-time availability of inventory. We are starting to do creative dynamic advertising in markets where we place digital creatives based on data sets like traffic or latest news, etc and also integrate audience metrics which are more real-time than what we were used to in OOH.
How is India performing as a market?
We have seen a consolidation of key players in the OOH industry in India which makes a significant difference in the marketplace. In a lot of European and US markets, there are key vendors aggregating inventory like vendor channels, etc which makes the medium more professional and products more standard. So if we compare the capabilities of this transformation in India, we are still some years away from seeing the digital transformation of the medium because of the lack of concentration of big players. The leverage that vendors need to have to transform their inventory is quite significant in terms of investment, for which I see a barrier in India. I would say India is a very challenging OOH market because of its fragmentation and because we still need to put a lot of core data sources in place. China is another such challenging market in terms of resources available for standardisation and planning.
How is digital complementing OOH?
It’s allowing us and advertisers to be more consistent across different channels as traditional media digitalises in terms of planning. So we can talk to the same audiences and adjust the creative better in terms of context. In more developed markets, we use mobile data to translate this in OOH, so we can start talking to the same audiences across different screens. OOH traditionally is not sold on an audience basis; it’s sold on an item-by-item basis. Just that change on how we trade and educate our clients is a significant leap.
How is location-based technology helping brands use OOH effectively?
It is empowering everything because part of what our tool Aureus does is to provide location-based information. What we are trying to do with mobile data is leveraging the capability of geo-location that mobile data sets give us to integrate OOH. What we are able to do now is geo-fencing, which is integrating OOH and mobile activity, that is, geo-fence at the areas of impact.
Aureus is a system that enables us to plan with research on market, data and audience inventory. That data feeds into the system for us to do planning. Our second tool Aviator allows us to professionalise the investment in OOH in the airport environment because we are integrating passenger data to understand traffic flows.
How is transit advertising evolving?
In other markets, transport/ambient media or screens in other non-traditional areas is something that has not massively picked up for a while. As major formats start to get digitalised, all of this will pick up a bit more because of the way we plan; benefits and audience rating will kick in, making screens much more interesting for advertisers.
What are the channels available for brands to measure effectiveness and RoI of digital OOH, transit media or airport media?
We have been working on different measurement products. We launched a product in 2015 to measure Social Media Amplification in OOH. So when people engage, comment and participate on OOH campaigns on social networks, we are able to pick that chatter. When people see something impactful, they share it or talk about it on social networks; and we have started to use that here in India as well to understand the impact of campaigns. We have also been developing some products to measure mobile devices’ impact on footfall. We define a target audience with a mobile profile and are able to assess with our campaign, how many people were impacted from that sample. These are new products and we have not seen a massive sample yet to start comparing different cases, but it has given us some insights in terms of performance.
You had plans to launch a programmatic offering for digital and OOH media. Tell us about it.
In digital programmatic, the stages vary in various markets so we have launched the first stage in the UK. It is called a private marketplace where we start trading much more seamlessly with near real-time information. It’s an online trading platform for OOH. That’s the foundation to start trading digital in different forms. In other markets like the Netherlands and the US, the market is more advanced and open to audience trading. So once this foundation is in place, the second stage will be to integrate vendors to transact in a more streamlined fashion and integrate other audience data sources to planning.