If the 21st century has shown us anything, it’s that technology is a major driving force in the evolution of advertising, and it is transforming the Out-of-Home (OOH) industry in unprecedented ways. Based on my experiences, we will explore the rise of technology in the context of Digital OOH, its current state in Africa, and the untapped opportunities that can revolutionise the industry.
Digital OOH has come a long way since its inception, originating from traditional static print advertising. As digital display technology has evolved and become more accessible to the market, advertisers have gained the ability to showcase dynamic content and engage with their target audience in real-time. Digital billboards, transit displays, and interactive kiosks have replaced traditional static mediums, offering more flexibility and creativity. This has also reduced costs for clients through the elimination of print production costs.
The African continent has witnessed remarkable growth in Digital OOH. Rapid urbanisation, expanding infrastructure, and increased connectivity have contributed to the steep increase of digital displays in many cities. One basic example of this is the Johannesburg City Centre, where digital billboards have become an integral part of the urban landscape, capturing the attention of millions of passersby daily.
One of the key advantages of Digital OOH is its ability to facilitate quick and easy content changes. Unlike static print advertising, digital displays enable advertisers to update and tailor their messages in real-time. This flexibility allows for more relevant and engaging campaigns, ensuring that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time.
While Digital OOH offers numerous benefits, it has been lacking in providing clients with measurable Return on Investment (ROI) and consumer behaviour data. Unlike online advertising, which can track clicks, conversions, and user engagement, Digital OOH has struggled to provide concrete metrics to assess campaign effectiveness. This gap has limited the industry’s ability to demonstrate its value and attract more advertising spend.
To propel Digital OOH forward, it is crucial to embrace and integrate untapped technologies. There are three key technologies that I feel hold immense potential in the African and global landscape:
- License Plate Recognition (LPR): Integrating LPR technology with Digital OOH displays can enable highly targeted advertising based on the make, model, or location of passing vehicles. This technology not only ensures that the message reaches the intended audience but also provides advertisers with valuable insights into consumer preferences and behaviour.
- Audience Measurement Tools: Implementing advanced Retail Analytics audience measurement tools can revolutionise the effectiveness of Digital OOH campaigns. By leveraging technologies like facial recognition and mobile tracking, advertisers can gather anonymous audience data, including demographics, engagement levels, and even emotions. These insights allow for better targeting and more impactful messaging.
- Camera-Based Consumer Flow Heat Mapping: Understanding consumer flow and behaviour patterns is essential for optimising the placement and effectiveness of Digital OOH displays. By utilising camera-based heat mapping, advertisers can identify high-traffic areas, dwell times, and preferred routes, enabling them to strategically position displays for maximum impact and engagement.
While the integration of technologies like License Plate Recognition, Retail Analytics tools, and camera-based consumer flow heat mapping, presents exciting opportunities for the Digital OOH industry in Africa, it is crucial to recognise the importance of data aggregation and analysis.
Collecting consumer data from various sources is only half the battle. The true value lies in the ability to aggregate, compare, and overlay these datasets in a unified platform or dashboard. Without such a comprehensive solution, the potential insights and trends derived from these technologies remain fragmented and underutilised.
The tool I personally use is a platform called Sensmi, which allows advertisers to seamlessly overlay data from various technologies, enabling them to uncover correlations and patterns that lead to valuable insights. By leveraging the platform’s robust analytics and reporting tools, advertisers can measure campaign effectiveness in real-time, make data-driven adjustments, and optimise their strategies for maximum impact.
In the African Digital OOH industry, Sensmi sets a new standard by providing a centralised platform for data aggregation, comparison, and analysis. By embracing this holistic approach and leveraging Sensmi’s capabilities, advertisers and brands can make informed decisions, drive innovation, and deliver exceptional results. With Sensmi, Africa is equipped to lead the way in leveraging technology, transforming the Digital OOH landscape, and delivering personalised, targeted advertising experiences that resonate with audiences.
As the leading Digital Signage solutions company in South Africa, Moving Tactics pride ourselves on developing and creating innovative customised Digital Signage technologies for all industries.
For more than 20 years, Moving Tactics has worked with top brands, retailers, restaurant chains, mobile telecommunications companies and financial institutions, to develop, create and implement digital signage platforms across the continent that facilitate in-store marketing and advertising, corporate communication, and audio applications.
Our goal is to create unique experiences for our clients using Digital Signage, a leading form of digital communications worldwide. These technologies are providing retailers, restaurant owners, corporates and financial institutions with unlimited communication opportunities to enhance their environments and their brand experiences.