FEPE congress research and South Africa

By Michele Munro

I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s FEPE International Out of Home (OOH) Congress held in Vienna, Austria. FEPE is the worldwide association of outdoor advertising companies. It was a privilege to rub shoulders with thought leaders from all over the world and immerse myself in all things related to outdoor for a few days.

It was also fitting that the host city’s library houses the largest collection of public outdoor advertising in the world! In my opinion, a good reason for any outdoor advertising enthusiast to visit Vienna.Vienna Fepe

One of the most important themes highlighted at the congress is behavioural targeting. Understanding human behaviour and how it has changed is the key to excellent and effective OOH.

Mobile technology, specifically, is perpetually changing brand consumer communication and engagement. The key is to understand how consumers’ relationships with and expectations of OOH media are changing.

Topline results from an international study called Always On Out of Home Lives 2014, conducted with a leading global consumer trends and forecasting consultancy Future Foundation, provides us with some compelling insights that demonstrate the value of OOH advertising.

The research is extremely relevant, as it includes respondents from South Africa (Johannesburg only), amongst the sample of 1 000 consumers per country who live/work in large cities (6 000 urban consumers in total). Other countries include a combination of developed countries such as the UK, Germany, Spain as well as other fast growing economies including Brazil and Turkey.

Among the urban consumers in the six markets participating in the study:

24% select OOH advertising as the most trustworthy, second only to TV (28%)
34% select OOH advertising as the most memorable, second only to TV (46%)
79% have taken some form of action as a result of seeing a digital OOH advertisement
72% of 18-34s have taken some form of action as a result of seeing a large billboard poster
59% of urban consumers would be interested in digital OOH advertising that showed information relevant to time of day/their location

Despite the proliferation of mobile technology in their lives, urban consumers remain highly receptive to their surroundings and engaged with OOH advertising. As much as the novelty of digital innovation appeals, urban consumers – including the younger demographic surveyed – still have an interest in more traditional formats such as large billboard posters.

Michele in Vienna Fepe

However, respondents want to see stronger creative and be entertained more by OOH advertising. Consumers are focused on ‘value-exchange’. OOH advertising needs to make the engagement worth their time and attention to be effective.

The study highlights the growing expectation of quality creative communication to merit attention and potential action. “The standard billboards that remain flat, boring or non engaging will receive less and less attention each day,” says a 28-year-old female respondent in Johannesburg.

The call to action here is clear: More creativity, more humour and more impact equals better engagement and outcomes.

We also need to make it worthwhile. The study highlights that today’s consumer wants to be rewarded. From a list of potential future offers or services from digital OOH advertisements, interacting with an ad to receive vouchers/money off had the most appeal (63%).

A huge opportunity is that OOH is ideally placed to respond to the growing consumer need for advertising to reflect context and one’s local area, to be ‘in the know’.

The study affirms that urban consumers across the globe are increasingly connected when out of home:

90% of respondents surveyed in South Africa own a smartphone, compared to 75% in Brazil and 80% in the UK
51% own a tablet in both South Africa and the UK, compared to 48% in Brazil
86% of South African respondents use their tablets out of home, compared to 75% in the UK and 62% in Brazil

The explosion of mobile devices elevates the influence of OOH advertising, which retains the power to drive spontaneous purchases in the immediate vicinity. An OOH advertisement that captures the imagination or addresses a consumer need can be acted on immediately. A shopper can look up additional information to assist in the decision making process.

Interestingly, 40% of consumers in this study sourced additional information online immediately as a result of OOH advertising.

The research also shows that 62% of urban consumers would be interested in a digital OOH advertisement that showed them information relevant to their specific location or time of day. A key driver is a strong desire among respondents for a connection with their local community:

59% strongly/moderately agree that they like to keep informed about what is happening in their local area (shop openings, events etc.)
The growth of digital assets is therefore good news for OOH as it extends the opportunity for OOH to amplify campaigns, whilst placing them in local context.