The advertising industry is excited by the possibilities of video, but these extend far beyond social and online channels. Nicola Barrett of Exterion Media explains how.

Last year, the UK video market was valued at £1.61bn – a 47% increase on 2016 – making it the fastest-growing advertising format in the industry. This has been driven by online and mobile, and especially through social video.

But this fast growth has also exposed the risks brands face when using video online. Both Keith Weed from Unilever and Marc Pritchard from P&G have publicly called out the challenges, from viewability to ad fraud. We’ve also seen major platforms and publishers come under serious scrutiny after brands’ ads appeared alongside inappropriate content. Brand safety is high on the agenda of media planners, driven in no small part by pressures from concerned clients.

In the context of this, one emerging video channel free of these issues is full-motion Video Out-of-Home (VOOH). After starting as a relatively London-focused product, it has expanded into a national digital offering, now opening up a range of opportunities for brands. The channel has established itself as a credible home for video ads, working alongside cinema, TV and online.

As demonstrated by our Engagement Zone research series, VOOH has proved its effectiveness at engaging audiences, emerging as a real disrupter in the video space.

Video in the public space

The latest figures published by WARC and the Advertising Association show that OOH remains resilient in the face of market pressures. This is driven largely by the medium enduring as one of scale and engagement, creativity and brand fame for advertising clients – and by its evolving digital capabilities.

‘Digital’ contributed to 85% of growth in the OOH sector last year, driving a renaissance in how advertisers are using OOH and changing some of the outdated myths about what OOH can, and should, be when it comes to media planning. New formats, technologies and capabilities are set to shake up the market, with PwC predicting that digital OOH spend will reach £517m this year and increase to £689m by 2022.

We know that digital is a huge driver of growth in OOH, but this is more than just putting static creative on digital screens. The advent of new digital products, which are bringing fresh capabilities to the market, means that the opportunity for video through full-motion digital OOH is an area of growth for the sector.

Classic (or ‘static’) OOH is still the best way to hit cost-effective coverage, to own a site for two weeks, and build brand fame. Digital offers more tactical targeting, quick posting, and daypart advertising. But digital screens come in two types – those that are only able to show static images due to roadside planning permission. Or those that offer full movement, allowing TV quality video ads to target public video for the first time.

OOH offers reach and engagement

Brands should look to the opportunities full-motion VOOH offers as an alternative video channel that has proven its ability to be effective and trustworthy, delivering engaging video content into brand-safe and iconic environments.

Talon Outdoor has called this the Fourth Space, referring to the way full-motion OOH campaigns can be coupled with online video to deliver maximum impact. Previous neuroscience research from Ocean Outdoor supported this idea, finding that online video performs better when used together with digital OOH, and that full-motion formats are over twice as impactful as static sites.

For us, digital and classic work together in blended OOH media environments for the greatest impact. One such environment is London Underground, which has been a focus for our Engagement Zone research.

Our first neuroscience study looked at how consumers interact with, think and feel about advertising on the London Underground network. It combined eye tracking, skin conductance response data, in-depth interviews and surveys, to demonstrate levels of engagement on the Tube.

It identified that London Underground is a unique environment where people embrace advertising, with 60% saying ads provide a welcome distraction on their journey. The research also highlighted that dwell time is unusually high in the Tube environment, with seven in ten people saying they have increased opportunity to engage with the ads. It showed that platforms and Tube carriages provide customers the opportunity to engage with brands for longer and identified corridors and escalators as areas where people are more highly engaged as they pass through and connect with multiple ads on the move.

High engagement drives search

With our digital portfolio across the TfL rail estate growing, we needed to assess the effect of our new video capabilities – so we decided to take another look and update our research.

Using the same methodology as before, but adding an additional mobile tracking element, we discovered that Tube users not only engage with advertising in the station environment, they are also moved to act on it. We see one in eight people searching for or looking to purchase products relating to an ad seen on their journey, and 40% searching for a brand or category relating to ads they viewed within one week. We also saw a clear correlation between those more highly engaged with the ads and those more likely to search.

When we looked deeper into the data we found that static ads were looked at most, but engagement was increased by video – showing Tube users to be four times more highly engaged with video content.

We went a step further to understand the importance of engagement by working with Voxpopme’s video analytics team and discovered that there was a 40% uplift in sentiment generated by the ads utilising full motion over static.

The power of movement

At Exterion, we understand that OOH is a broadcast medium which offers reach at a huge scale, but as we invest in research and data we learn how digital OOH can drive engagement for advertisers by increasing attention levels through movement. It is these high engagement levels which prove the effectiveness of video.

Online may trade on driving click-throughs, but it’s certainly not the only video medium to move consumers to act, or to think more favourably about a brand – and we have the insight to show it.

OOH opportunities for video are set to grow, with new digital formats such as large escalator Ribbons and Tube Car Panels scheduled for London Underground next year. These, combined with our genuine insight into people’s willingness to be distracted on their journeys, should give brands the confidence to invest in using video in the public space.