7 Ways Beacons are Disrupting the OOH Advertising Space
Last Updated:  May 7, 2018
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising today has made great strides in terms of incorporating new technologies, formats and mediums in order to influence customers in the intended manner. The OOH industry has been innovating at such a fast pace that it has now become ubiquitous; OOH advertisements are now being placed anywhere (from billboards at stadiums to interactive signages at malls) and can be leveraged at all times (like dynamic signages that change based on the time of the day).
A key focus area in this growth journey has been to display the most compelling content at the right time and place, without being irritating or intrusive. In addition, for advertisements to be really impactful, they need to connect with customers in a personalized and contextual way. This is where technologies like iBeacon play a pivotal role. Also, given today’s mobile first economy, iBeacon technology is very relevant to the OOH space in comparison to other advertising channels as it connects to the target audience straight through their smartphones.
The importance of beacons in OOH advertising is further strengthened due to the valuable data it gathers. Beacons with their unique power are being leveraged for OOH advertising across many areas, from stadiums to malls to airports today. In this post, we will discuss 10 scenarios where businesses can bet on beacons to completely transform the OOH advertising experience.
1. High dwell time experiences
There are certain scenarios where people explicitly have time on their hands. Good examples of these would be people traveling in buses/trains, in transit at airports or even people waiting in line at hospitals or retail stores. Such occasions provide the right window of opportunity to draw the attention of customers, as they might not be distracted by other things. Sending compelling content via their smartphones at such points can lead to significant brand engagement.
In a recent example, leading fashion brand, Coach leveraged beacons at the Hong Kong International Airport to create a unique OOH campaign. This was a beacon-based social media photo sharing campaign where participants could win a lucky draw by posting a photo in just 1 click (hashtags #CoachPreFall2016). To participate, passengers, had to go near a beacon hoarding (with the Bluetooth switched on their smartphones), go on WeChat and shake their phones. The beacons installed in the advertising media would then communicate with passengers’ smartphones and take them to the campaign landing page.
2. Limited time offers
Brands that are promoting limited time offers like festival discounts, special edition promotions and limited period sales among others should definitely explore beacon-based OOH advertising to ensure higher conversion rates. Advertising for such events through beacon-based solutions creates a sense of urgency and spurs the customer to action.
In a recent example, last year’s Shanghai Rolex Masters, one of the world’s biggest tennis tournaments leveraged beacons to promote the event and run a contest. As part of this campaign, multiple beacon-enabled advertisement displays were placed at Shanghai airports and passengers were invited to shake their phones (via the Wechat app) near the displays in order to play an exclusive mobile-based tennis game and win VIP tickets to the event.
3. Seasonal offerings
Certain products and services are seasonal in nature and vary according to location and time. For example, demand for winter wear, allergy medication and room heaters would largely increase during winters. Hence, running geo-targeted campaigns that are tailored to seasonal products are a good way to increase seasonal sales.
4. Popular apps
Large brands with popular mobile apps that aim to create fulfilling online and physical experiences for its customers should certainly leverage beacons for their OOH campaigns. Apart from the unique, personalised and geo-targeted customer experience that it provides, the granular data and insights can be very useful for large brands to understand marketing attribution and market trends.
In an recent example, McDonald’s in Finland launched a beacon-based OOH campaign with the idea of driving restaurant traffic. As part of this campaign, eye-catching outdoor hoardings were installed with beacons and hanged upside down on purpose. Every time a user with the McDonald’s app on his /her smartphone passed by the outdoor hoarding, he/she got a push notification from the McDonald’s app prompting him/her to visit the restaurant. This successful campaign recorded 8200 message opens.
5. New product launches
Brands and businesses introducing new products or services can use beacon-based, targeted OOH campaigns in order to drive the novelty value of the new product. In a recent example, production house 20th Century Fox, used beacons in London buses to promote the latest movie of the famous ‘Kung Fu Panda’ movie series. This popular movie campaign was done in collaboration with music streaming app, Shazam and beacons were installed in over 500 London buses, with the target of reaching over 300,000 commuters in a day. As part of this campaign, when passengers boarded the bus, they were prompted to open the Shazam app through the hoardings posted on the insides of the bus. Once passengers opened the app, the app listened for beacon signals on the bus in order to send movie related content and offers to passengers on their smartphones.
6. High involvement purchases
Certain products and services are complex and require customers to research and make a well informed purchase; these are otherwise known as high involvement purchases. Examples of such products are fitness gear/gym equipment, computers, gaming consoles and financial products among others. While promoting such products, brands should build detailed campaigns that clearly promote the value proposition and also reach customers when they have the time to engage in such content.
Popular shoe brand, Puma, recently launched an ad campaign in Chicago to promote its ‘Forever Faster’ training campaign in their efforts to promote promote PUMA’s latest sneaker, the Ignite XT. As part of the campaign, Puma built customized experiential transit shelters with NFC and beacons. People at the shelter could tap on or scan the installed mTags on the display in order to launch a mobile experience that featured either Rihanna or Usain Bolt promoting Puma’s Ignite XT training shoe. In addition, a notification to view the experience was triggered to all people who had downloaded the PUMATRAC app, when they were within the vicinity of the transit shelter.
7. Physical locations/stores
Brands that have a physical presence like restaurants, shopping malls, airports, retail stores, movie halls, stadiums and banks among others are all excellent locations for beacon-based OOH advertising. An interesting example of such an effort was recently seen at Schlafly Beer, a Missouri-based independent craft brewery. As part of this initiative, the brand installed beacons on beer taps in order to engage customers in a contextual and timely manner inside the bar or restaurant; customers with the Schlafly app also received notifications about special drinks, tasting notes and new beer releases.
Thus, iBeacon technology provides a huge opportunity for brands to explore OOH advertising to personally connect with their customers. Even for OOH media owners, beacons act as the perfect extension to physical media assets. The true power of beacons, however, lies in the data that the solution gathers; this data allows for precise targeting, higher CTR, relevant and personalised campaigns/mobile experiences, all leading to garnering customers and increasing loyalty.
If you are planning a beacon pilot, take a look at Beaconstac, that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!