Smarter use of data is rapidly transforming DOOH into a highly targeted, personalised medium for a growing number of brands.

Out-of-home has long been considered to be a traditional, paper-paste-and-billboards medium, lagging behind others in the race for digital transformation. But outdoor media owners have invested significantly in digital out-of-home (DOOH) in recent years. In many markets, it now offers advertisers the ability to use data to target customers contextually and personalise communications, capturing attention and driving sales performance.

Used right, DOOH is a powerful, persuasive, and effective medium, and this was evidenced in entrants to the Best Use of Data category of the 2020 WARC Media Awards. Three of the best, award-winning submissions were from KFC, O2, and Specsavers, and this article summarises what they got so right in the application of data to innovate in out-of-home. As the world starts to venture outside and back to cities once more post-COVID, these award-winning campaigns provide important learnings that advertisers will be keen to embrace.

KFC: Owning an occasion

In China, KFC wanted to position itself as the go-to fast-food delivery provider on rainy days. More than 350 million people order food online in China and, on rainy days, in-store footfall decreases while online orders rise.

Brand owner Yum! Brands partnered with a leading weather app, Moji, and a favourite local popstar nicknamed ‘the God of Rain’ to create a dynamic campaign to position KFC as the fast-food delivery outlet of choice on rainy days.

KFC created a special rainy-day menu that simplified delivery offerings as it had identified long wait times on rainy days as a real barrier for loyal users looking to place orders. When Moji alerted KFC to rainy conditions, this triggered retargeting technology on social media platforms and KFC's owned media – as well as dynamic out-of-home screens within a three-kilometre radius of each KFC store – to promote the special rainy-day menu. Active users of the KFC app grew by 10% and online orders increased almost a third to 850,000 in the two weeks of the campaign as a result.

O2: Empathising with communities

In the UK, leading telco brand O2 needed to drive reach and standout for its new international SIM bundles among targeted expatriate communities. The company wanted to snare a larger share of the nine million-plus UK residents from overseas who regularly make international calls.

O2 used outdoor census and Route data to address people in their native languages, placing warm and empathetic messages in the most relevant locations and tailoring these messages to different home territory time zones. More than 100 different copy variations in dozens of languages made it the most complex, dynamic, and geo-local DOOH campaign O2 had ever run.

It reached 11.3 million people in 48 key boroughs, towns, and cities across the UK. This translated to impressive sales growth – of 102%, helping O2 win the battle for more international calling customers.

Specsavers: Providing value through relevance

Online appointment booking is a recent development for optician Specsavers, helping to open up new customer communications and response channels and creating a wealth of new first-party data. However, it has also led to a new class of unforeseen problems, such as customers not turning up for pre-booked eye tests.

Using its digital booking engine, Specsavers was able to understand live appointment availability at an individual store level and attract new customers via digital out-of-home ads offering tests as they became available. A typical ad would say “Free eye test: Uxbridge – 4 eye test appointments available today”.

This focus on relevancy, customer experience and smart, data-driven execution created a 68% uplift in eye test volume in stores, unlocking a new way to drive appointments and enabling the brand to put a value on its first-party data. As a result of the campaign, Specsavers generated £28m in incremental revenue. Maximising capacity for the reduced number of eye tests available during the coronavirus pandemic helped to drive efficiency further.

Summing up

Smarter use of data is rapidly transforming DOOH into a highly targeted, personalised medium for a growing number of brands. This marriage of data and the interactive, addressable nature of DOOH is enabling advertisers to stop consumers in their tracks, drive focused attention – often in relevant context – and enhance ROI.