Web Exclusive: Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) Marketing Can Help Increase ROI


By Scott Mitchell

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, 64 per cent of consumers are planning to spend even more money on dining out than before the pandemic, according to Vistar Media’s research with MFour. There’s a timely opportunity now for digital brand marketers to get in front of customers with competitive, creative and customized content that reaches consumers in a captivating and more measurable way.

Traditionally, brand marketers have invested in legacy mediums such as radio, print, broadcast, social and digital, with the total out-of-home (OOH) spend taking up only six per cent of overall marketing budgets in 2021, according to Brand Minds. However, with the OOH media sector now positioned to be among the fastest growing advertising mediums (up by approx. 14.6 per cent this year), it offers an effective avenue for foodservice brands to shift more annual or campaign specific spends towards the medium.

According to a study conducted in October 2021 by Vistar Media and MFour, OOH formats were seen as more trustworthy and relevant than ads on other platforms, 58 per cent of respondents reporting they are very likely or likely to believe messaging in OOH advertisements; 88 per cent sharing they like OOH ads; and 71 per cent reporting they relate to the messaging shown on OOH screens.

A leading quick-service restaurant chain in Canada that we recently worked with is a great example of the success possible through DOOH. By utilizing multiple location-based strategies — including both a data-driven audience and proximity targeting, it proved to be extremely effective in driving foot traffic for those exposed to the campaign, which resulted in a 52-per-cent lift compared to those that did not see the DOOH advertisements. 

With all of this in mind, here’s how restaurant brand marketers can integrate DOOH into their planning more effectively, and get better ROI once they execute:

Implementing geospatial data into location-based strategies

Geospatial data from customer smartphones has been an excellent development in the world of programmatic advertising as it allows brands to map out where consumers are throughout the day. In out-of-home, programmatic technology combined with this data supports marketers with placing DOOH ads to create multiple touchpoints throughout an individual’s day, reaching the consumer at likely conversion times. For example, a foodservice brand could target hungry early morning commuters with breakfast ads and office workers pre-lunch, easily moving media placements to reach specific consumers at different places and times as they move through the physical world. By creating these multiple touchpoints, the restaurant becomes ingrained in their thoughts when choosing a quick bite or full meal.

Being flexible with DOOH creative

To grab and maintain Canadians attention, not only can digital out-of-home ads move, play video and sounds, but it can also change based on triggers such as weather, outcomes of sports events or time of day. This can strengthen ROI as advertising a drink on the patio is more attractive to consumers in warm sunny weather compared to a rainy day. While DOOH technology is fairly new to some marketers, brands have continued to push the creative envelope to capture consumer attention in ways never seen before. And for restaurant brand marketers, being open to adapting and strategically shifting on a dime as needed based on these insights is crucial to getting more ROI from DOOH investment.

Getting more bang for your buck by making it omni-channel

While some marketers have not approached DOOH with the same table stakes mentality as traditional media — as it has historically been the “go-to, tried and true” — they need to pivot to new and emerging strategies. DOOH is an important portion of the marketing pie that can be easily integrated into existing campaigns without the need for additional production budget. For example, while brands regularly invest millions of dollars in compelling video content, it is only leveraged on one or two mediums. They can further amplify this commercial by placing it on DOOH screens, extending its shelf-life and potential audience without the need for adaptation. 

While DOOH advertising is still new to many brands, with some marketers unsure how to start integrating the medium into their plans, it can be streamlined and doesn’t need to be daunting. Those looking to get the most out of their DOOH efforts and capitalize on the current consumer interest in dining out, should choose a partner who knows the space inside and out, such as a programmatic solution like Vistar Media.

Vistar Media has built a complete end-to-end programmatic ecosystem to enable data-driven, automated, and measurable DOOH transactions. This allows it to easily activate campaigns with no delays and apply consistent targeting across all DOOH with no manual effort required. This ecosystem has delivered meaningful results for Canadian QSR and casual dining restaurants.

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