OOH:NOW Q&A: Andy Sriubas, EVP, Strategic Planning & Development of Outfront Media

Tomorrow at the OOH:NOW event, we’ll learn about the state of OOH today and where we’re heading in the future. In advance of our panels and discussions, we asked Andy Sriubas, EVP, Strategic Planning & Development of Outfront Media on his own opinions of the industry. Let’s see what he has to say!

What needs to happen for OOH to align with the overall digital landscape? And with other media?

Here is an excerpt from Andy’s Op-Ed, “Contemporary Common Keys In Advertising” originally published in MediaVillage:

The amazing success of web and mobile advertising has created a forcing function for traditional media’s transition to “digital.” Web and mobile’s advertising rise was made possible because they offered something easier to value and buy than traditional media.  The amount of ad dollars spent on web and mobile has grown from $12 billion in 2005 to almost $60 billion in 2015 according to eMarketer. That size and the growth rate are a testament to their “digital” media characteristics. Web and mobile provide vast underlying ad stats, in a common form, that can be easily compared across different ad units and against which value can be attributed. The use of a universal currency, just like in the world of finance, is the foundation for a liquid marketplace that operates with efficiency and establishes true value.  This should be the goal of the entire media industry.

Some traditional media types have benefited from today’s lack of efficiency and transparency (television) while others suffer because of it (out-of-home).  Thus certain traditional media publishers will be slower to adopt “digital” characteristics than others, but all will be compelled to aggregate data and build these tools in order to have access to the ever-increasing digital dollar pools.

There are five characteristics that define “digital” advertising.  In order to be considered “digital” media must (be):

  1. Close to the point of purchase— You are only a click or two away from the buy decision.
  2. Provide Data with Common Keys— Deep audience statistics that are derived from the publisher’s own assets but supplemented and enhanced with third party sources in order to give greater insights to advertisers about the strength of the specific publisher’s media.
  3. Measured by Simple Metrics— with which advertisers can plan and evaluate a campaign’s success — using hyper accurate impression counts (audience data) sold against a CPM, that can be compared across the many different media categories (from video pre-roll to display to search, billboard, Cinema, TV and radio spots).
  4. Targetable— Using historical and real time data, a CMO can efficiently and with precision, direct investment against specific audience segments.
  5. Optimizable— such that advertisers have direct access in real time to a campaign’s creative and messaging.  This provides the CMO with a tool that can react on the fly in an ever more dynamic marketplace.

In addition, audiences have raised the bar with regard to content (ad and non-ad) because of digital. They have a higher level of expectation both in terms of engagement and relevancy. OOH needs to “up its game” and must provide content in more robust formats, with higher quality, better targeting and offers that help propel OOH in the minds of both marketers and audiences alike.

How are technology partners being used to better serve content and provide greater creative optimization? 

Technology is playing an enormous role in the new OOH ecosystem. With regard to serving content, all content providers are moving to a more cloud-based world with the appropriate encryption and bit-rate efficiency (IOT, OTT, Netflix, OOH, etc.). Thus, many of the cloud service providers such as Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon, and others have become more important to media publishers. This architecture provides for an always on and always connected platform, which enables dynamic content changes based on the audience around the OOH display at any time. For example, if the temperature drops, the displays themselves should make the decision to swap iced latte creative to hot coffee content without human interaction– smart decisions around smart displays. In addition, live store POS data can be integrated such that inventory counts drive programmatic creative decisions on local displays as well – we should promote pickup trucks through a special offer if there are too many on the auto dealer’s lot, compared to sub compact cars which sold out over the past weekend.

How do marketers make the most of OOH media? Is there a perfect storm of events/issues/circumstances when OOH is most effective?

Marketers need to appreciate the audiences that OOH brings to the table.  In order to do this, OOH “publishers” need to give marketers enough data and the physical means to help plan and execute their OOH campaigns in association with all other media.  Once clients identify the audiences to which they wish to connect, all screens (web, mobile, OOH) should be available to them on a dynamic basis, regardless of location and in concert with each other.  Location is a key component of this specific audience targeting process and OOH provides the places where people dwell, shop, interact and are most willing to receive contextually relevant messaging.

OOH is about to become substantially more effective. We are taking advantage of new display technology and real-time connectivity combined with robust audience data. As such, OOH publishers and marketers can bring relevancy into the equation farther up the marketing funnel. Historically, spending at the top of the funnel (OOH) was a bit random and loosely justified as “brand building.” Audience science will drive intelligent ad placements based upon the understanding of people and their intentions at a given location – psychographic information changes based upon location. For example, a person may not be receptive to an offer for theatre tickets while sitting on a couch watching baseball or while doing a web search at work, but while walking on Broadway through New York’s theatre district; it might be just the right time to connect with that person about seeing Hamilton with their family. Further, these experiences can be reinforced across different media forms (web/mobile/etc.) more easily, if we combine knowledge across formally siloed media stacks.

How has technology improved the current OOH landscape in the past 12 months? 

In addition to cost, any screen should have the ability to receive, interpret and deliver messaging “smartly” to its associated audience. Web, mobile and OOH are very similar – although OOH screens, by definition, have the unique ability to communicate to many, as they are placed in high traffic areas for just that purpose. We are now using mobile as a complement to OOH, which helps target individuals and reinforce messages on a 1-to-1 basis. This is a powerful combination and, I believe, the best use of mobile advertising.

In NYC’s 34th Street / Hudson Yards subway station, OUTFRONT Media placed 24 highly functional displays that enable the capabilities of an iPad on a wall. These well-priced, constantly connected displays will enable advertisers to push content based upon audiences at a location in real-time. We believe this is a game-changer for venues, advertisers and publishers. We believe OOH screens should have the dynamic ability to target, empower and drive messaging for marketers incorporating location with all of the best characteristics found in web and mobile advertising.

With these technology advancements we will manage a media campaign over sets of digital boards in a framework targeting audiences as they move, similar to managing on-line campaigns over multiple websites. In addition, we will be able to integrate OOH with web and mobile media offerings in order to have directed messaging across multiple media platforms.

Are there any non-traditional places we are seeing OOH that have not been common in the past?

Technology advances have brought down the cost, while increasing the function, of OOH digital display devices. This allows for much greater scale and thus increases the number of places into which OOH publishers can place their screens. This will open many existing high traffic sites to more digital displays all with more robust capabilities. Retail, transit, lifestyle centers, stadiums and other venues, which may have had limited digital offerings, will now be able to install a robust digital signage infrastructure for communications and emergency notifications supported by advertising revenue.

You still have time to register for our 8th Annual OOH:NOW Conference if you haven’t already – join us by clicking here and registering today!