Today’s online digital “vanity metrics” are proving a challenge for the biggest Out-of-Home (OOH) companies. When the latest viral video ad gets 2 millions daily views, it’s deemed an overwhelming success; but when the location of a billboard ad claims 2 million in footfall, it’s defined as “prime real estate.”

While TV and Print advertising budgets continue to shrink, Outdoor Advertising is the only traditional ad format that is still growing (at a healthy 2.7% in 2017).

Decision-makers in the sector are under pressure to innovate and hold on tight to their market share against other forms of advertising that may be easier to prove and communicate return-on-investment (ROI).

The hype at the moment is all about Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) and going programmatic. But, companies are realizing that neither DOOH nor Programmatic Advertising can thrive without a sophisticated data strategy that focuses on effective use of Location Intelligence.

Today’s newly installed Chief Data Officers need to go beyond traditional data collection techniques and make Location Intelligence core to their Outdoor Advertising strategy.

Trend #1: DOOH will dominate with the help of third party data.

Predictions show that Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) will account for 39% of total revenues in the Outdoor Advertising sector by 2019 and leaders in the space recognize that the effective use of location data is fundamental in achieving a shift from static to more dynamic Outdoor Advertising.

Clear Channel has exemplified this by making third party data the cornerstone of their recently launched programmatic OOH buying tool, using a wide range of geolocated data from data specialists such as Experian. They’ve also hinted at the use of private transactional data from banks.

Similarly, Exterion Media are also investing in geolocated mobile data insights from Telefónica UK to understand travellers on the London Underground - enabling them to move from simply selling ads to selling audiences by capturing the power of location data.

Both examples show that to deliver ROI on the hefty investments made on digital advertising infrastructure OOH players expect (and are expected) to source data which enables them to monetize digital inventory through timestamped demographic insight - even if real-time is still a long way off in most markets.

An ecommerce company approached us wanting to understand “What is the best place for us to advertise for our new product campaign, based on where are customers are now?”

In the map above, we plotted their current sales and ran a cluster analysis to identify the best NYC bus stops to place advertisements. The company can use this location intelligence app to segment by their target market (male millennials), optimizing their outdoor advertising reach.

Trend #2: Programmatic will be propped up by location data.

Programmatic advertising may be an industry standard in the online world - but in Outdoor Advertising there is a still a long way to go to reach the coveted concept of “moment marketing” with real-time trading platforms.

As Outfront Media EVP Andy Sriubus said in an interview with Digiday UK: “Offering digital boards is just a small piece of building a digital OOH company.” He goes on to explain that building an inventory, measurement, and media-buying system are all fundamental to succeed in programmatic.

This is why many large OOH firms are turning to adtech players such as Vistar Media and Adstruc in order to use their “audience-based targeting with location-based intelligence” to maximize relevance, engagement, and targeting for brands.

However, turning billions of location-based data points from transactional and mobile data into insights an agency or brand can digest isn’t simple without advanced spatial analytics platforms. That’s why we’re working with several players in the Outdoor Media space to build intuitive and robust custom applications that make it easy for them to find insights.

The map above shows available billboards for advertising (purple dots) and the potential advertisers (hotels, gyms, grocery stores) that would be good targets for an account manager looking to fill those billboards. OOH specialists and agencies can identify potential programmatic customers by identifying optimal clients in the catchment area of billboards or other outdoor advertising locations.

Interested to find out more about what CARTO can do for OOH players? Sign up for our webinar with our VP Product - Kevin Reilly - on September 19th

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Trend #3: Interactivity will make billboards points of sale

The final piece of the puzzle for OOH is interactivity - using technology such as NFC (near-field comms), beacons, and geofenced promotions to make ads points of sale. When achieved, this will further narrow the gap between online and offline in measuring campaign ROI - again, all through the power of location.

It’s not just traditional Outdoor Media giants thinking about this trend though - the behemothic Google see their gap in the market too. Their specialist Media Lab team have been working with JCDecaux, Ocean Outdoor and Outdoor Plus to bring DoubleClick to a series of premium billboard ads around London - enabling programmatic buying in locations like the London Waterloo train station.

What makes this trial different is that DoubleClick also dominates the internet display advertising space - providing the easiest and widest access to consumers. With the right strategic partners, Google could potentially be the fastest in making interactivity a reality for brands who want to go beyond impressions to interactions.

In order to achieve this interactivity, visualizing campaign segments geospatially will be important in the process of brands actioning insights. In this map, you can see Spielman and Singleton segments - which use a popular clustering procedure for generating customer profiles, often paired with open U. S. Census data.

All in all, it is clear that Location Intelligence is one of the key future pillars of Outdoor Advertising - whether you’re an OOH specialist, an agency, a brand or a niche adtech startup. Getting your analytics team’s hands on location data sets is extremely important - but being able to apply a geospatial analysis across your inventory will be critical in maintaining growth in a world where consumers are often looking down at their smartphone more than up at a billboard.