Interactivity and Out-of-Home

Out-of-home has always functioned largely as a broadcast channel. Its metrics, oriented around "opportunities to see," signal a regard for the presence of audiences but not for their conscious involvement. The prevalence of pure-play formats (which lack editorial content or programming) and one-way transmission (from advertisers to audiences) means that it is uncommon for out-of-home communications to absorb audiences. Instead, emphasis is focused on the exogenous context – on audiences' patterns of movement, behaviors, and mindsets. It is natural for the efficacy of such a channel to be evaluated based largely upon the reach of messages rather than the depth of audience engagement. Yet the virtues of and appetites for engagement in advertising today are difficult to dispute.

The web has given rise to a new kind of mass media that is, by contrast, interactive and personal. The proliferation of ambient, network-connected digital displays and the widespread use of personal mobile devices have expanded the reach of interactive media into public spaces where they compete and intermingle with conventional out-of-home formats. These two distinct manifestations of interactivity in out-of-home media – interactive digital signage and mobile devices – present marketers with communications opportunities that have particular characteristics.