As consumers spend more time traveling and venturing out of their homes this year, brands are returning to billboards and incorporating technology to reach consumers in new and impactful ways. To find out more I spoke with Kevin Bartanian, out of home (OOH) advertising expert and the founder of KEVANI, about how brands can leverage the power of OOH advertising to create viral moments using the medium. KEVANI is a media sales organization that promotes national and local brands through innovative and unique outdoor advertising destinations.
Gary Drenik: Billboards are one of the oldest forms of marketing – what makes them so effective compared to print or social media advertising?
Kevin Bartanian: There’s a reason that billboards have stood the test of time – they are extremely effective at reaching large audiences every single day. OOH advertising creates brand awareness and keeps those brands top of mind, playing a pivotal role in a consumer’s path to purchase. Unlike print or digital, outdoor advertisements have a longer life span, ensuring your target audience sees and remembers your product and brand. As Gen-Zers spending power is on the rise and Millennials represent the largest group of consumers, it’s important to understand the preferred ad consumption of these cohorts. According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, only 10.8% of Gen-Zers read mediums like newspapers and magazines, so appealing to them through OOH content is crucial. In a Kantar Millward Brown study, findings revealed that Gen-Z and Millennials overwhelmingly rejected mobile/web/app advertisements while preferring OOH advertising like billboards or posters.
Drenik: What are some best practices for brands looking to create impactful out-of-home advertising?
Bartanian: Personalize your message for the community. This can be done by localizing your creative or using simple but dynamic creative triggered by some sort of data source. The more you hone in on your audience, the more your ads will resonate with consumers. Additionally, context matters. Get to know the inventory you are buying. In a world where everyone wants you to be “standard,” you should identify and mix in unique assets that stand out from the clutter in each market you are activating in. And of course, make it memorable. Remind yourself that you are occupying people’s space. It’s not an ad on a phone, so forget repurposing your ads. You’re in the physical world. You have a chance to impact someone’s day. Think about designing your ad, in order to really build the best possible relationship with the public.
Drenik: Do you feel there an overarching theme to advertising you’ve noticed this year?
Bartanian: Absolutely it’s storytelling, brands are focusing on mission and value-based storytelling to connect with their customers and build trust. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Report, 81% of consumers say that trust is a key factor when making a purchase decision. Unlike many forms of advertising, OOH immerses an audience in your brand story, making it one of the most impactful mediums for powerful storytelling.
Drenik: How is technology being integrated into OOH displays?
Bartanian: Many developments within digital media displays are being shaped by technology, including adjustments in how OOH is planned, audiences targeted, and how the overall advertising performance is measured. Screen quality is improving, interactive capability has become very easy to execute & mobile devices are now quickly paired with displays for brand engagement. Improvements with creatives have also made the visuals more exciting – As an example, you can see a recent campaign for Nissan using anamorphic content that gives the illusion of 3D.
Drenik: How can brands create viral or share-worthy content?
Bartanian: With the power of social media, ads are able to live in perpetuity. Creating a viral moment is easier now than ever, but in order to create share-worthy content advertisers must know their audience. What music do they listen to, what is their daily commute, how often do they travel, etc. Once you can hone in on that, the next step would be to identify the locations best suited to reach that demographic and create an emotional connection. For example, if your audience are likely Taylor Swift fans and she’s performing at YouTube Theatre or Kia Forum, you can purchase media on The Trio Los Angeles, which sits outside both of those venues, and create a moment for your brand to connect with that audience as they are walking/driving to and from the event. The creative might be to have them send a text message of their name to a special dedicated phone number and have their name appear next to Taylor Swift on a full motion digital billboard – You can confidently assume they are taking a photo or capturing a video of that experience to share online. Creating that emotional connection is imperative to a viral campaign and using the OOH medium as a portal to other digital outlets furthers your reach and encourages share-worthy moments.
Drenik: What are your thoughts on things brands should avoid when it comes to OOH?
Bartanian: One size does not fit all, meaning your creatives should not be the same for every market. Your copy should not be long – best to keep it to eight words or less. Make an effort to look at every location you’re buying in person or on google street view before purchasing. Don’t rely solely on marketing photos. Mostly important don’t treat it the same as print or an online ad – OOH Media is unique in that you are occupying public space so use this opportunity to make a lasting impression and evoke an emotion – whether that’s to bring happiness, excitement, etc.
Drenik: Thanks Kevin for your insights on how to create impactful campaigns. I look forward to seeing more creative OOH campaigns around the city this year.