Dynamic Out of Home Creative: The proven way to supercharge ROI (that we can do now!)

Target in LDSK Bright Blue

As lockdown restrictions ease, brands and businesses are working on their recovery plans. While it’s hard to predict when advertising budgets will flow into OOH again, one thing is for sure: advertisers will be looking to make the most of every pound they spend.

So when they turn to the trusted medium of Out of Home to rebuild we, as an industry, have a duty to use every tool in our arsenal to help them. We are experts at broad reach. Masters of impact. We can build brand awareness like no other medium. But there’s one aspect we’ve been neglecting. One research-backed weapon for increasing Out of Home’s effectiveness: Dynamic Creative.


Voodooh's Location Dynamic Campaign for Lucazade

Voodooh’s dynamic creative campaign for Lucozade.

What is Dynamic Creative?

Dynamic Creative is using data to deliver the right creative content, on the right screen at the right moment.

Using Dynamic Creative in Out of Home allows a brand to speak to its audience in the way that they want, providing consumers with more reactive and relevant content. OOH has traditionally been known as a broadcast medium that enables a brand to tell a story. But with dynamic, the story or message can be tailored to the moment, to the location and the context.

Dynamic Creative in OOH is not a new concept. Originally conceived in online display advertising, Castrol’s ‘Right Oil, Right Car’ campaign from Ogilvy Advertising, Mindshare and Clear Channel back in 2009 is credited as the first dynamic campaign. Using speed cameras to detect the make and model of cars, the campaign used that data to talk directly to drivers via the 48 Sheet digital billboard they passed further down the road. Targeted, high impact and very effective. This campaign did not go unnoticed. 

As the world becomes increasingly connected, more sophisticated data is becoming available to those advertising in the offline world. This data offers up a big effectiveness boost for DOOH.

Grand Visual's Dynamic Campaign for McDonalds

Grand Visual integrates weather data in this dynamic OOH campaign for McDonalds.

How Dynamic Creative makes Out of Home more effective

Picture this. You’re at a crowded cocktail party (remember those?). It’s a small space and everyone is speaking loudly, competing to be heard. The result is a wall of white noise without any distinguishable meaning. Then suddenly, as clear as day above the hubbub, you hear your own name. It is not spoken any louder and the wall of sound has not subsided. So how were you able to hear it so clearly? One word. Relevance. 

This, argues behavioural scientist Richard Shotton, is the impact dynamic creative can have on an individual in advertising. People are subjected to a staggering 10,000 brand messages a day. Using data to deliver the right message, to the right audience, in the right context makes it relevant to that person. It cuts through the noise to connect directly with the intended audience.

Now, thanks to an industry first collaboration between JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Posterscope, this theory is backed by solid research. ‘Moments of Truth’ is the most comprehensive study conducted on the effect of dynamic creative on consumer brain response, ad recall and sales. 

This study found that displaying contextually relevant creative saw a whopping 32% increase in brain response compared to standard DOOH creative. These contextually relevant ads also increased the average time a person spent looking at the ad by 6% and generated an average sales uplift of 16%.

Overall, their research found that delivering dynamic DOOH advertising that is context relevant both in the timing of the delivery and the content, was 17% more effective. As Clear Channel’s Richard Bon commented “For the first time ever, we have been able to develop empirical, end-to-end insights on dynamic campaigns, that not only inform advertisers why content and context relevancy matters but also offer clear guidance on how to best harness these opportunities to maximise campaign performance.“

A compelling argument to present to advertisers as they plan where to spend their precious recovery budget.

Voodooh's dynamic campaign integrating data from Twitter

Voodooh uses live data from Twitter to deliver this dynamic OOH creative.

Why we don’t see more Dynamic Campaigns

Since that first Grand Visual campaign nearly ten years ago, examples of dynamic DOOH creative in action have peppered awards ceremonies and conference presentations. But still dynamic campaigns have not become standard. Companies like Grand Visual and Flux can integrate everything from weather data to traffic, flights to football scores, news to car models to create engaging campaigns that perform at scale.

But still, despite compelling anecdotal evidence, industry heavy-weight support and now scientific research, dynamic creative only accounts for around 8% of the UK’s OOH campaigns. This figure according to Glen Wilson, Posterscope MD, who said, “The ability to deploy truly dynamic content across thousands of high quality, networked digital screens is probably the most significant step forward for OOH since the arrival of those digital screens well over a decade ago.  But its potential is still significantly under-estimated, with media spend on dynamically-enabled digital Out of Home representing only about 8% of all DOOH campaigns.”

Given the obvious effectiveness boost and potential return on investment for advertisers, that’s not high. In fact, Grand Visual’s Neil Morris suggests that “dynamic campaigns are few and far between and the DOOH channel has probably gone backwards in terms of the adoption of smarter, data driven, dynamic creative.” He, like many in the industry – including us – believe there are two main reasons for this:

Firstly, there is a perception that delivering dynamic campaigns require big budgets and technical expertise. That’s no surprise given the brands testing the dynamic creative waters have done so with novel campaigns conceived more for award ceremonies, conference rooms and social sharing than on the ground return on investment in mind. 

Secondly, as an industry we are completely preoccupied – nay, obsessed – with programmatic. That obsession is crowding out the potential of other opportunities. That’s not to say programmatic shouldn’t be discussed. It’s just not the only way to deliver dynamic creative. It’s not the only way to maximise Digital Out of Home’s effectiveness.

Unlocking Digital Out of Home’s potential

The creation of dynamic campaigns isn’t our business (though our tech can help facilitate its purchase), we are strong advocates for anything that pushes our medium forward. There is a huge amount of potential to be unlocked through the use of dynamic creative. And it doesn’t need to be complex or require programmatic trading to achieve. Companies like Talon, Posterscope, JC Decaux, Clear Channel are working hard to challenge perceptions, advocate for and build the systems required to drive adoption of dynamic campaigns. Through clever and thoughtful artwork management, creative agencies such as Grand Visual, Flux, Liveposter and Voodooh offer mass personalisation and deliver the right advert for the context, space, environment or feelings of a community. 

Advertisers will be putting every pound’s return on investment under the microscope in the coming months. Through dynamic creative, we have an opportunity to increase our medium’s effectiveness by a whopping 17% and, as an industry, we have the tools and expertise to do it.

Now is not the time to let that opportunity pass us by.