By Scott Mitchell

As we kick off 2024 amid tougher economic times, rising geopolitical and social issues around the globe, and shifting consumer habits as a result, advertisers are faced with several new challenges this year. Some of these challenges include reduced budgets and resources, assessing where and how consumers are engaging with brands today, nuances in brand messaging considerations, among others.

However, challenges like these force advertisers to take a fresh approach when it comes to achieving their campaign goals and reaching the people who matter most. One channel that’s worth considering this year, especially when brands are hyper-focused on media spend and channels that offer the most flexibility, is digital out-of-home (DOOH). It’s out there, in the physical world, always in the moment – surrounding people every day of their lives as they live, work and play. DOOH ad spend is expected to reach $45 billion by the end of 2024 for good reason, and it’s important to reflect on what’s “in” and what’s “out” when tapping into this powerful channel this year.

IN – Thoughtful Measurement & Targeting

Measurement was a top priority going into 2023. This is largely due to marketers looking to do more with fewer resources available, requiring them to effectively demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI). Fortunately, DOOH is one of the most measurable and attributable advertising channels, as it uses anonymized, privacy-safe GPS data and verified exposure to understand and measure consumer movement patterns while respecting privacy. Through third-party measurement solutions, marketers can measure their DOOH campaigns against a variety of KPIs including awareness, brand favorability, consideration, purchase intent and foot traffic. With programmatic audience targeting technology, DOOH also ensures your ads reach the right people at the right places and times. This approach minimizes media waste, optimizes ROI and delivers your message precisely when your audience is most engaged.

IN – Dynamic Creative – Leveling up When it Comes to Personalization

According to a recent playbook created by Vistar Media and The Drum, The Advertiser’s Playbook for DOOH in 2024, 85 per cent of all adults look at OOH and 65 per cent of viewers take action after seeing an OOH ad. With that said, OOH poses a significant opportunity to reach the masses while catching their attention in a short time frame, making the creative execution and messaging that much more important.

With dynamic creative, brands can integrate personalized messaging into their ads that meet customers where they are in that exact moment. Whether incorporating details to the nearest retail location to drive foot traffic, pulling in live scoring on the latest sports game to encourage tune-in, or highlighting current weather conditions to promote a tourism destination, a relevant, dynamic creative strategy will be a game changer for advertisers this year.

IN – The Year of Retail Media Networks

Retail media is the fastest-growing digital ad segment, which grew 26 per cent in 2022 according to IAB Canada. IAB Canada and marketers alike expect this category to continue to grow as retailers look to monetize their existing digital channels. In-store retail media offers advertisers direct access to brick-and-mortar retailer audiences that come in weekly, even daily, to spend money on brands found within these stores. As this segment continues to grow, there’s an opportunity for marketers to tap into existing customers in the “purchasing mindset” through place-based DOOH screens across these retailers. It’s time to re-assess media spend in 2024, allocating both time and resources to the channels that are likely to yield the best engagement and results.

OUT – Using One Platform to Connect with Consumers

A one siloed channel approach is out. In fact, three or more channels for marketers is the sweet spot and can earn a 257 per cent higher purchase rate than single-channel campaigns, so it comes as no surprise that an omnichannel marketing campaign is essential in 2024. It engages audiences at various points such as when scrolling on social media, then out running errands, and again when ending the day with their favourite TV show. These touchpoints create repetition, with customers more likely to recognize the brand and keep it in mind for purchases.

DOOH is a one-to-many medium, targeting key consumers in contextually relevant environments. For marketers with a strong understanding of their target audiences, DOOH is a natural extension to other channels, allowing advertisers to seamlessly reach consumers when they are out and about in the real world.

OUT – Quantity Over Quality

DOOH is more than just billboards – it’s screens located in checkout aisles, bus shelters, gas stations, elevators and more. While larger-than-life billboards are a powerful way to reach large groups of people, it may not be the best approach for a brand’s unique target audience. Marketers need to ask themselves where their audience is and select more thoughtful, quality screen placements that are relevant to their customers and most likely to drive results.

Data has given marketers the tools for strategic targeting, and as a result, they no longer need to rely on a mass push for effective OOH campaigns. As DOOH continues to grow, media owners have become increasingly more transparent in regard to the quality of their inventory – which reigns over quantity each and every time – giving advertisers the confidence that their dollars are invested in premium placements.

This year will continue to present new opportunities and challenges for Canadian advertisers and brand marketers to thrive. By leveraging learnings from 2023 to help inform the year ahead and beyond, Canadian consumers will continue to engage with high-quality content that will ultimately yield a higher ROI for advertisers and brands. How is your brand maximizing its efforts this year?

Scott Mitchell is managing director, Canada, at Vistar Media. Vistar has built a complete end-to-end programmatic ecosystem to enable data-driven, automated, and measurable DOOH transactions. This ecosystem helps its partners, from retail to casual dining, incorporate DOOH and mobile as part of their broader marketing strategies to achieve key results, such as awareness, consideration, favourability and foot traffic, through custom and efficient targeting, messaging and measurement.

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Lloydmedia, Inc is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, and is a multi-platform media company which delivers a total audience of more than 100,000 readers across four national magazines, three industry directories, and a range of events and online marketing.