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How to design a cutting-edge outdoor advertising campaign

Forward-thinking businesses are harnessing new digital out-of-home advertising platforms that marry the benefits of online and offline marketing

How to design a cutting-edge outdoor advertising campaign
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Because many consumers spent a great deal of 2020 inside their homes, opportunities for them to get outside and enjoy outdoor spaces in their favorite cities are more important than ever. Advertising trends are also shifting, with more marketers paying attention to valuable outdoor spaces as a way to get in front of these consumers. Demand for out-of-home (OOH) advertising inventory is skyrocketing. eMarketer predicts digital out-of-home (DOOH) spending will increase from $2.72 billion in 2020 to $3.84 billion in 2023.

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In addition to consumers being outside more, there are also practical reasons for the rising interest in DOOH, often related to brand safety. New technologies provide many of the benefits of the online marketing experience while circumventing privacy, fraud, ad blocker, and other concerns online-only advertisers face. Firefly is a street-level digital media platform that connects audiences with dynamic advertisements on taxis and rideshare vehicles and utilizes these advanced technologies in spaces where traditional OOH might be limited.

Firefly timestamps the latitude and longitude coordinates for each of its screens every few seconds using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS technology, and proprietary algorithms. As a result, brands can leverage this technology to serve the most relevant content at any given moment to outdoor consumers.

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“Our screens are constantly pinging our ad servers, pulling the most relevant content to display on our screens depending on the location of the car, time of day, or even weather-triggered content,” explains Firefly VP of Sales Rob Madelmayer.

To spend marketing budgets efficiently, brands must understand emerging DOOH technologies, why their relevance is increasing, as well as design best practices for creating eye-catching outdoor campaigns.

OOH measurement and attribution

While ignoring a television or mobile ad is relatively easy, street-level advertising is unintrusive, blending into the environment around you and capturing the attention of potential audiences where they live, work, and play.

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Coupling this unique value with measurement capabilities unlocks new use cases for brands.

Over the last year, Firefly has developed a measurement methodology called Street.IQ that draws on live data to optimize OOH campaign performance mid-flight. Madelmayer explains the tool analyzes how screen creative, time of day, day of week, and location affect performance, allowing brands to adjust spend accordingly.

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“In 2021, there’s no reason anyone should wait until the end of a campaign to find out if a campaign is successful or not when we know there’s a better way. Much like you would expect from other digital media platforms, our technology allows advertisers to optimize campaigns on the fly,” he says.

Steven Rivera, Director of Creative Services at Firefly, says Allbirds used the insight to improve its media spend across other channels, too.

Creativity drives performance

Steven Rivera, Director of Creative Services at Firefly, explains that while advanced technologies are crucial, design best practices are just as important. Brands should lean into OOH’s innate characteristics and use dynamic triggers to make ads more relevant.

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“Then you can create action online, and buzz offline,” Rivera says.

Firefly helps advertisers design as many ad iterations as they need and swap them as often as they want at no additional cost. Rivera says this helps advertisers get the most from real-time targeting.

Other OOH design tips include:

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  • Use motion and animation to attract people’s attention. Some brands, including Adidas, have experimented with dynamic countdowns to inform consumers how close they are to the nearest store location
  • Aim for attention-grabbing copy and imagery and continually testing to see what works.
  • Keep the call-to-action up for the full length of the ad creative to give audiences enough time to digest the information.

Because Firefly describes itself as “data-obsessed,” they’re able to provide additional insights to advertisers and keep up with rising expectations from clients. As technology continues to evolve, the out-of-home industry must evolve with it and meet expectations that marketers have based on what’s available through other types of advertising.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re perfecting it as technology allows us to,” Madelmayer says. “Every dollar advertisers invest in these campaigns should be optimized to ensure the delivery of the right message at the right moment.”