Ubiquitous DOOH

In the Out of Home industry, I am always amazed at the vast number of media owners who place digital screens into a multiplicity of environments.

Image source: Gallo/Getty Images.

There must be at least 70 players in this advertising industry with around half of them playing in the very visible “billboard on the side of a road” arena, targeting us daily commuters.

As we live life outside of our homes, we quickly realise just how ubiquitous digital screens have become.

World’s your oyster her in Mzansi

We all go to malls and walk down their passageways where we’re highly likely to encounter various digital screen formats along the way. Video walls would be the standout medium – however, a closer look will reveal that there are many “smaller” screens within malls. Looking to find a shop in a mall? Well, these wayfinding units, apart from providing a solution to your query, will also provide a digital platform for advertisers to reach shoppers. 

Many malls also have digital screens placed along the walkway, be it on the ground or affixed from the ceiling. They’re hard to miss or ignore. And let’s not forget the big screens at mall entrances/exits and at the food courts.

Marketers, if your target audience is shoppers, then you have plenty to choose from in malls from both static and digital platforms alike.

Need to reach a commuter audience? The world’s your oyster here in Mzansi. Public transport commuters can be reached cost-effectively in many formats from giant screens in taxi ranks to large TV screens in many ranks and stations in cities and towns around South Africa. How about a totally captive commuter audience? Well, here you can reach them via onboard screens in taxis and buses.

Digital screens can also be found inside of Cape Town’s bus shelters. These can be used to target the high-frequency Gautrain passengers very effectively. How about reaching commuters with massive dwell times? Screens in long-distance buses are your solution.

Multitude of digital screen formats

What about the so-called “higher LSM/SEM” traveller?

Here, there are a multitude of digital screen formats that can be used to target air travellers. Just walk into any airport in SA and you cannot miss the plethora of digital screens when you go through the security check, sit and wait to be called to board your plane, and also where you stand and wait at the carousel, twiddling your thumbs to see if your baggage was on the same plane as you.

Want to reach business class passengers? Here digital options can include large format screens along business class thoroughfares/convergence nodes. Marketers can even advertise inside select business class lounges to reach these travellers. As a brand, dwell time is on your side in this environment. And talking of dwell time; hell, in some airlines you can even advertise on screens on-board their aeroplanes.

Have you ridden in an Uber and seen the tablet-sized screens that have been fitted in some of their fleet? These screens would definitely help in avoiding the need for idle chit-chat with your friendly Uber driver.

The above commuter environments are all DOOH friendly, in fact, it seems that every public space is a possible venue for DOOH nowadays. Play a round of golf? Chances are there are ads playing on the GPS screens in your golf cart, in the locker rooms and even on the units used to wash your golf clubs. Why not use the screens in the pubs to get long dwell time while golfers mull over the highs and lows of their round in the 19th hole. It is known as the longest hole on the golf course for good reason.

Talk to your customers digitally

You can reach more audiences at a doctor’s waiting rooms, or even at public hospitals and clinics in their waiting areas. Believe it or not, the waiting times at public hospitals are even longer than those at Home Affairs… At a pharmacy waiting for a prescription? Screens will be used to catch your eye and take your mind off of the worry of how soon you will be in your self-payment gap.

If you fancy a libation or three, then there is a good chance that you will find a digital advertising screen in your favourite watering hole or tavern. They can even be found in your local club (they were called disco’s in my day). Even when you are undertaking a bit of retail therapy, you will find screens at the check-out or even through-out the store. And here I am not talking about all the in-store screens that retailers use to promote their own products.

Being bald, I have not had the need, nor the opportunity, to sit in a hair salon for many a year. If I was less follically-challenged, I could well be sitting in the chair looking at a digital screen in front of me, instead of looking in the mirror seeing my “battered old tennis ball” look being thankfully transformed into a respectable crew cut. And we all know that there is some serious dwell time undertaken by the ladies in salons. You can even reach motorists with digital screens when you stop to fill up with fuel.

So, all you marketers out there… you can talk to your customers digitally without having to resort to placing tiny ads on their smartphones and trying to compete with the other hundreds of advertisers an algorithm is just waiting to send to irritate them.

Ubiquitous, I say.