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The Next Data Frontier for prDOOH is the Creative

Howard Lonstein

Trade Marketing Specialist

JC Decaux Africa

Howard Lonstein

Howard Lonstein

26 September . 7 min read . Opinion

(Credit: JC Decaux Africa)

In the dynamic landscape of programmatic Digital Out-of-Home (prDOOH) advertising, where data and automation reign supreme, it’s easy to overlook creative’s crucial role in driving engagement and achieving campaign objectives. According to OAAA (The Outdoor Advertising Association of America) projections, programmatic DOOH will continue to enjoy increased demand and is forecast to exceed the $1B mark in ad spend globally this year. 

The industry has experienced notable demand and focus by media agencies and brands on measurement and campaign outcomes. For Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) and prDOOH to stimulate demand and incremental spend, data and insights need to be purposefully incorporated into the creative strategy and design process. Data will help guide and inform creative and media teams to deliver better results and return on marketing investment. 

New Kantar and WARC research proves that creative and effective ads generate more than four times as much profit. The study highlighted an interesting insight relating to a communication challenge that OOH can help address: “the fact that including some longer-term brand-building features into all advertising is more crucial than may have previously been thought.” It is clear that the creative plays a vital role in influencing both short-term sales likelihood and long-term brand equity.  

A compelling post from WPP’s Rob Reilly advises creatives to solve problems with creativity “in such a unique way that people can’t ignore it” during a panel discussion for Contagious Live at WPP’s 3WTC Campus. There are diverse areas where data can be employed to guide and inform different creative and media teams. The purposeful application of offline and online geospatial and consumer insights in the creative process can be applied in pre-campaign testing, A/B testing, creative matching, and personalisation.

The following are some of the opportunities and areas where data and insights can be applied to enhance the creative process, which in turn influence campaign outcomes: 

Using Data to Inform the Creative Strategy 

The success of any creative strategy hinges on the foundation of solid data and insights. 

 In today’s data-driven world, marketers and creatives have a wealth of information at their fingertips to inform campaign strategy. An important differentiator between DOOH and online is the spatial insights from real-world locations and environments, be it where or when the ad is consumed or travel and shopper patterns. To improve how the creative is formed and applied for DOOH, richer audience, geospatial, and transmission data with shorter lag time is required. 

Incorporating such data and insights into your creative strategy ensures that your campaigns are not only visually appealing but also highly effective in reaching and resonating with key consumer segments. According to a recent study by Nielsen, DOOH campaigns that strategically integrate audience insights achieved a 20% higher engagement rate compared to those lacking such alignment.

Harnessing the insights derived from data, creative teams can validate assumptions, craft storyboards for set personas, help define measurable outcomes and gain a deeper understanding of different consumer segments. By combining the art of creativity with the science of data, marketers can craft compelling narratives and visuals that drive results and achieve business objectives.

The recipe for great design is to test, optimise and iterate.

All too often, the challenges of time and collaborative cross-function team dynamics adversely influence the creative being designed for the media channel and defining the goals it needs to deliver. Repurposing creative meant for other media channels and platforms does not factor in valuable spatial data about where the ad is consumed. Outdoor offers an expansive canvas for creative; by not custom designing for DOOH or prDOOH, a range of design considerations are impacted, such as size, composition, layout, weight and contrast, reducing creative impact and ad recall. 

When the creative is tailored to the platform and when audience and campaign playout parameters are aligned, the merging of creativity and data propels us beyond assumptions, ensuring our efforts are not shots in the dark but rather precise and impactful strokes. Such insights help map the customer journey to address different goals along the sales funnel, where different brand stories and creatives can be delivered across a range of touchpoints and times of day, when and where the creative content is most relevant. 

Through the application of AI and MarTech tools, the relevancy of data is not only applicable at the beginning and the end of the campaign but also throughout the process. Data can help you optimise and iterate the creative strategy based on campaign playout through qualitative sample feedback, performance-linked to audience traffic, online engagement or footfall traffic data. Consumer and performance insights can be leveraged to adjust and iterate different aspects of the creative playout. 

Contextual Relevance & Personalisation Drive Results 

(Credit: JC Decaux Africa)

The precision and automation of prDOOH empower advertisers to deliver highly targeted, contextually relevant and dynamically updated content. Advertisers are offered innovative ways to connect with audiences in the physical world. The convergence of prDOOH advertising and data-led creative elements is set to unlock new levels of personalisation, new sales offers and dynamic playouts, all in a brand-safe and trusted public space. 

Dynamically Connecting Brands and Customers 

(Credit: JC Decaux Africa)

In the realm of Dynamic DOOH, the infusion of creativity becomes the catalyst for innovation, paving the way to new approaches, applications and invaluable perspectives. This creativity, though, finds its strength when coupled with robust data foundations and synchronised with well-defined objectives for the media along the funnel of influence.

Dynamic DOOH advertising is centred around audience targeting. Through the use of data analytics tools and geolocation technology, advertisers can identify their target audience in real time with contextually relevant creative messages and content. 

The landmark three-stage research by JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Posterscope, titled “The Moment of Truth”, revealed that using contextually relevant messages delivers an average of +17% uplift on overall campaign effectiveness. Using data strategically in the creative process of DOOH or prDOOH, different campaign outcomes can be considered, such as increasing online search, display, video, voice or app engagement. Changing the profile of DOOH advertising from awareness to performance.  

Dynamic content presents exciting creative opportunities to entertain, surprise and delight consumers with unique campaigns. A great example was a campaign for an automotive company that used camera detection to deliver personalised ads when specific car brands were visible, with a tongue-in-cheek copy encouraging motorists to service their cars at their dealership. The scope of the creative can be seen as content, as opposed to a traditional ad, by delivering varied, personalised, valuable information for specific audience segments, such as special retail offers, traffic congestion, weather or currency updates.

Contextual Relevance and Personalisation 

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign is a fantastic example of how dynamic DOOH advertising can create an emotional connection with consumers. The campaign involved displaying personalised messages on billboards that changed based on the names of passersby captured by cameras. This level of personalisation not only attracted attention but also encouraged millions of consumers to share their experiences on social media, highlighting how dynamic DOOH helps drive engagement on other channels. 

Enhanced Audience Targeting

Spotify’s “Wrapped” campaign is a fantastic example of how dynamic DOOH advertising can tap into real-time events. “It’s the magic of marrying madness with mathematics,” says a top executive at the Swedish streaming giant. The streaming platform used data on user listening habits throughout the year to create personalised billboards for individual cities. These billboards displayed unique listening insights, creating a sense of community among Spotify users’ social media engagement and positively influencing campaign metrics such as app download, usage and brand saliency.

(Credit: JC Decaux Africa)

Dynamic Digital Out-of-Home advertising is ushering in new approaches to advertising where customisation, real-time engagement, and data-driven insights lead the conversation. As demonstrated by the Coca-Cola and Spotify case studies, this strategy can create emotional connections, tap into real-time events, and maximise the impact of campaigns. 

Think Global, Keep it Local – Tailor the Creative (Or Make Relevant)

(Credit: JC Decaux Africa)

The South African consumer market is diverse and vibrant, influencing the scope and type of data required to deliver content that resonates with different consumer groups. A simple tactic to improve engagement is by tailoring or adjusting the creative to accommodate different audiences’ language, cultural nuances and travel patterns. One noteworthy example is an online streaming TV service that advertised its latest programme across different areas, localising aspects of the creative by adjusting language, visuals and layouts. Through this approach, an online qualitative survey confirmed that the campaign influenced 22.5% of respondents to view the trailer, while 31.2% searched for more information on the series online. 

Localising creative influences the brand sentiments of consumers and helps deliver a more personalised message in the minds of consumers. 74% of consumers surveyed in a study by Clear Channel Outdoor said they believe that OOH ads that are contextually relevant reflect positively on the advertiser. Creative matching is the process of delivering different versions of the same ad based on the marketing funnel message, location and audience data. Through such approaches, brands can craft narratives that relate to their target audience and elicit better responses to help build long-lasting brand impressions in the minds of consumers. 

The connected media channel of DOOH and prDOOH opens not only enhanced and innovative dynamic content opportunities but also new approaches to using prDOOH to deliver content. Advertisers can use a range of dynamic triggers, such as sports results, exchange rate or countdown to the weekend, in a similar fashion offered on linear TV. Delivering relevant content influences consumer awareness and engagement toward the advertised brand and message. 


As the demand for data and insights continues to evolve, there is greater focus and demand by brands and advertisers to deliver better campaign results. prDOOH is expected to play an increasingly central role in the modern advertising ecosystem, offering new opportunities for creative and effective campaigns. With greater demand and larger budgets for the category, leveraging data to customise, personalise and test creative will result in improved delivery of tangible branding and communication results to advertisers while forging meaningful connections with consumers. 

Howard Lonstein, Trade Marketing Specialist at JCDecaux Africa, is a marketing, communication and media specialist, having worked for several CPG multinationals where he launched a host of brands into the SA market. He has vast experience in outdoor advertising having worked across the continent, improving the media profile through research, insights and improved accountably.

He played a pivotal role in the launch of the out-of-home currency, ROAD, and continues to work with various industry bodies to help grow spend and improve the media profile.