LONDON: OOH media owners in the UK are making it easier for agencies to buy space for their campaigns with the allocation of a ten-digit code to every OOH advertising frame in the country.

"Instead of humans having to do hours [of work], machines can talk to each other and do the same work quickly," explained Alan Brydon, CEO at Outsmart, the marketing body for the UK outdoor industry.

"In any business, if you can get the functional stuff out of the way, your talented people can spend more time doing what is important – having good ideas and working with customers to get better solutions."

Marketing Week noted several other recent innovations in the OOH industry, both in buying automation and in site technology.

New systems utilise cameras to recognise the age and gender of passing consumers before selecting the most appropriate ad to serve at that time, for example.

And a trading system created by Ocean Outdoor, The Loop Live, will allow brands to buy digital OOH advertising based on the number of 'impacts' – they can select an audience, time and locations which the system will then use to optimise the campaign across screens.

The growth in digital inventory has also increased opportunities for reactive real-time ads, often with a weather-related angle.

So, for example, Nest, the thermostat that can be programmed using a smartphone, used Clear Channel's digital screens to remind customers to turn on the heating on the way home.

"To be able to change ad copy in real time based on weather, time of day and location allows advertisers to add a level of context that means they can target the right people in an effective way," said Justin Cochrane, CEO at Clear Channel UK.

"This relevance, coupled with OOH's ability to reach the masses, gives brands the opportunity to create campaigns that are remembered long after they have ended," he added.

Digital is the current "shiny thing" in the outdoor industry but Brydon was confident it wouldn't completely replace traditional static poster sites, not least because "making things digital costs [money] and it has to meet demand".

He also suggested that digital developments such as programmatic buying were making "classic inventory" better too.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff