Gone are the days of only viewing static Out of Home (OOH) advertising formats in Aotearoa – remember the famous Tui “Yeah right.” billboards? As technology and connectivity advance, we are now seeing a continued shift to digital formats that are smarter and more interactive.
According to the Out of Home Media Association of Aotearoa (OOHMAA) there are approximately 2500 digital smart billboards and screens across the country in a range of formats including billboards, street furniture, airports, shopping malls, in-store and commuter hubs. Used by advertisers to promote their brands, government/councils to inform communities or charities calling for support, OOH digital screens seem to be everywhere you look.
The rise in OOH digital tech is exciting for both consumers and advertisers. Trends include new formats, data-driven creative, and innovative new Smart City street furniture concepts. Jaw-dropping
innovations coming out of places like London, New York and Tokyo are indicative of what’s on the horizon for Aotearoa.
How can smart technology improve advertising?
According to OOHMAA, neuroscience research shows that digital Out of Home (DOOH) has higher attention rates with consumers than static images. What’s more, DOOH formats can now be used by advertisers to display contextualised advertising by signage location. Bus stops, for example, can now become smart data hubs when installed with monitoring devices to track weather, pollution levels, pollen count or the UV Index. This allows advertisers to dynamically display creative like sunscreen ads if the UV index is high or umbrella ads if it is raining. Plus, CCTV cameras mounted on billboards or bus stops that count cars passing by not only offer additional security, but enable media buyers to better monitor viewership performance of their sites by location.
What impact have digital formats had on New Zealand?
New Zealand is sitting well globally when it comes to the adoption of digital screens, accounting for 74 per cent of all OOH revenue based on latest OOHMAA figures. By comparison, Australia’s digital revenue accounts for 68 per cent of its OOH revenue, America’s 32 per cent and the UK 64 per cent.
LUMO, one of the key players in the New Zealand digital OOH space, has just switched on its fifty-fifth digital screen. LUMO chief technology officer, Robin Arnold, says New Zealand is leading the way when it comes to digital outdoor advertising.
“While we may not have the big showcase 3D billboards on CBD intersections just yet, there has been a large increase in creative campaigns and environment-triggered content which pure digital networks can provide in real-time," Robin says. "Our LUMO Labs department is seeing a greater demand for creative ideas and executions.”
JCDecaux is another key industry player. Its Senior Insights and Strategy Specialist, Victoria Parsons, says JCDecaux already has over 60 digital large format roadside billboards in New Zealand, plus many internal digital airport sites.
“Media agencies are always looking to offer innovation to their clients, so they are generally open to technology-led ideas that will enhance engagement with OOH campaigns. Some recent examples on the JCDecaux network are the use of surf reports within surf-themed creative and UV ratings for sunscreen, Countdown clocks or temperature widgets are common as are dynamic headlines.”
What connectivity is driving this new technology?
Pushing the boundaries with what’s possible in the DOOH space requires the connectivity to support it. Typically, the more complex the creative is, the more data is required to create it.
Sukanya Maharathy, Head of New Access and IoT at Chorus, says as digital files get bigger, fibre connections are increasingly becoming a robust and flexible connectivity choice.
“In addition, the incredible reliability and low latency that fibre delivers, as evidenced in regular Measuring Broadband NZ reporting, provides peace of mind that data capture or real-time OOH creative solutions are less likely to suffer connectivity issues,” says Sukanya.
“By comparison, while mobile solutions can offer convenience in set up, the capacity of mobile networks can be affected by higher demands on the spectrum in the area, meaning more likelihood of latency or transmission issues where data demands are high.”
"The perceived set-up advantages with a wireless solution are now also being tested, with Chorus’ small SFP 50 Smart Locations equipment ensuring fibre can be more easily deployed to structures such as a billboard site. Fibre also helps on the sustainability front as based on recent research, per-user emissions from fibre were lower than other broadband technologies when the average download speed was 50 Mbps and above," she says.
LUMO has already discovered the benefits of fibre and is using it for 55 of its digital sites.
Robin says fibre offers continuous, reliable connectivity, and as a dedicated connection, it provides surety when it comes to clarity and resolution of creative and a reduced risk of pixelation issues.
"The fact fibre is a lines technology with cables in the ground is also useful when it comes to longevity and weather protection,” he says.
Discussions continue between Chorus and other media providers as part of an increasing industry-wide appreciation for the importance of fibre as data requirements grow for digital sites and dynamic campaigns.
Take a look at how LUMO Digital Outdoor are using fibre to add smart technology to their screens.
With more high bandwidth connectivity available, Natasha O’Connor from OOHMAA says it will help unleash the potential of the OOH medium to inform and market products and services further.
“The future of our industry is looking incredibly positive, aided by the growth in digital and programmatic as advertisers develop a deeper understanding of its benefits, audience profiling evolves, and data offerings expand.
"I believe we will see 3D capabilities in New Zealand in the near future; however, these will be in high pedestrian/no-vehicle areas only,” she says.
“There will also be creative opportunities via deep screen, 3D, depth of field, interactivity with screens and smartphones – that’s a lot to be excited about.”
Take a look at how New Zealand is using technology like this to make our roads safer and more connected.