This report has been published following qualitative and quantitative research conducted by Posterscope into real-time out-of-home (OOH) capabilities and understanding.
‘Real-time’ advertising provides the ability to automatically activate and / or update advertising using live data or content. It has become an area of increasing interest for
the OOH industry and advertisers as access to data and digital out-of-home (DOOH) inventory has become more prevalent.
Posterscope held a roundtable with industry leaders – including 20th Century Fox, British Gas (Hive Active Heating), Microsoft, Movember, Doddle, Clear Channel,
Ocean Outdoor, AOL, Trigger Buzz, M&C Saatchi, Starcom MediaVest Group and Dentsu Aegis Network – to understand the challenges the industry faces in realising
DOOH’s real-time potential. Posterscope also surveyed more than 100 UK marketing leaders to determine current
attitudes towards real-time in DOOH campaigns and industry readiness for adoption.
Unlocking the value of real-time for OOH advertisers
for OOH advertisers
About this report
This report has been published following qualitative and quantitative research
conducted by Posterscope into real-time out-of-home (OOH) capabilities
‘Real-time’ advertising provides the ability
to automatically activate and / or update
advertising using live data or content. It has
become an area of increasing interest for
the OOH industry and advertisers as access
to data and digital out-of-home (DOOH)
inventory has become more prevalent.
Posterscope held a roundtable with industry
leaders – including 20th Century Fox,
British Gas (Hive Active Heating), Microsoft,
Movember, Doddle, Clear Channel,
Ocean Outdoor, AOL, Trigger Buzz, M&C
Saatchi, Starcom MediaVest Group,
Liveposter and Dentsu Aegis Network – to
understand the challenges the industry faces
in realising DOOH’s real-time potential.
Posterscope also surveyed more than 100
UK marketing leaders to determine current
attitudes towards real-time in DOOH
campaigns and industry readiness for
1. A gap exists between the desires of
advertisers and the ease and cost-
efficiency with which real-time OOH
can be applied at scale. This gap
must be closed if the true potential of
the medium is to be unlocked
2. There is a need to educate and
inspire creative teams in agencies
so they have a better understanding
of the full real-time capabilities of
3. To fulfil strong advertiser demand for
real-time DOOH campaigns, media
owners must work with the industry
to deliver flexible models that fit
4. Better communication and insight
is required around the benefits of
real-time, what it can do for brands
and agencies and how it can create
a compelling OOH experience for
Real-time DOOH offers advertisers enormous potential, but the industry
faces a number of barriers that must be overcome to fully realise it. Within
a relatively short amount of time the growth of DOOH as a component of
overall OOH has been phenomenal. DOOH now accounts for 28 per cent of
out-of-home spend (OMC Q3 figures).
Delivering 4bn impressions every two
weeks (source: Route + Posterscope
estimates), the market in 2014 alone was
worth around £250m (OMC forecasts).
Posterscope estimates that this could be up
to £500m in five years.
There are many dynamics driving this
growth and one of the most transformative
will be the changing level of consumer
expectation. People now expect ads to be
clever, to be connected to the world around
them and to demonstrate something that’s
worthy of holding their attention.
This is building a palpable appetite among
both consumers and brands for real-time
content and activation to be incorporated
into DOOH campaigns. However, brands,
agencies and media owners must overcome
several challenges before they can start
reaping the full benefits of real-time.
Digital out-of-home offers advertisers one of the most targeted and powerful ways of reaching
consumers that is currently available. It can also be made to work much harder however, by delivering
content in real-time, or more specifically, in ‘right-time’. This allows you to deliver exactly the right
marketing message to the right individual at exactly the right time.”
Managing Director, Posterscope
Embracing digital and ‘real-time’
Many marketers now recognise the need
for advertising to be executed in ‘real-time’.
The rise of such approaches as branded
online newsrooms as a means to quickly
communicate valuable and relevant branded
content signifies that advertisers are now
preparing to become much more agile in the
The rise and rise of data
One of the fundamental drivers of real-
time has been the increasing volume and
accessibility of data. Today’s constantly
connected, ‘always on’ consumers
generate huge amounts of data. This will
be driven further by the rise of emerging
technologies like wearables, which
are predicted to hit 112m shipments
worldwide in 2018 (International Data
How we leverage this data is critical, and
progressive businesses are developing the
tools to enable companies to manipulate
and understand it to inform their OOH
planning and strategies.
Last year at Movember, we employed a newsroom approach for the first time, and user-generated outdoor
digital content fitted into that really well. I don’t think it requires huge resources. You have to work like that
for social media anyway, so once you’ve got the mindset of looking at what’s current and what people are
really after today or ‘right-time’ then you might as well be looking at digital outdoor anyway.”
CMO of Housetrip and Advisor to Movember
Using real-time data lets us do and say interesting things in original and compelling ways. It gives me as
an advertiser the chance to establish a personal connection with a customer. I can pull in real-time data
like travel and temperature information and present that to the customer in an ad that resonates in a
meaningful and contextually relevant way.”
Senior Marketing Manager, Hive Active Heating by British Gas
If the industry can rise to these challenges,
an enormous amount of advertising value
can be created, both in terms of efficiency
(buying the right thing in precisely the
right place and at the right time) but also
in terms of overall marketing effectiveness.
It will also create engaging, rich and
compelling consumer experiences.
DOOH as a medium is ideally positioned
to unlock and take advantage of the
opportunities within this real-time mix by
being much more dynamic in activation
and delivering real-time content – but key
challenges exist that must be addressed to
realise the full scale of these opportunities.
Research reveals brand appetite for real-time
A recent survey conducted by Posterscope
has revealed significant demand from
media owners, digital agencies, creative
agencies and brands for real-time digital
delivery within OOH campaigns.
Although there is clear recognition of
the potential of DOOH, the report also
highlights that relatively few campaigns
have been delivered in this way, due to a
variety of challenges.
Posterscope estimates that in 2015 media owners will invest more than £75 million in digital
infrastructure. This creates an almost infinite amount of possibilities to talk to people in the right place,
but also at the precise time that you want to do so – and with real scale. However, this creates a huge
amount of complexity because literally every second of that digital airtime is theoretically addressable.
A fundamental challenge is to make it as easy as possible to unlock those customer moments.”
Managing Director, Posterscope
Real-time would make
my brand’s DOOH
advertising more effective
Source: Online survey of over 100 UK marketing leaders undertaken by Posterscope in November 2014
I would like to incorporate
real-time in my brand’s
Real-time DOOH would
enable more targeted
advertising for my brand
In 2015, I am looking to
run a real-time DOOH
advert for my brand
The interesting conversation we’re having is around requests to buy media flexibly. Clients want to
buy media in a different way, with their two weeks starting on a Wednesday instead of Thursday for
instance. We haven’t got people to really change the way in which they engage with the medium and
I think we need to. It is early days however, and that is only one of many of the first examples of the
potential for flexible buying.”
CEO, Clear Channel
The scalability / agility gap
In spite of the vast reach of DOOH inventory, common industry consensus is that
DOOH activation lacks the simplicity to deliver real-time at scale.
Although research shows that
people are 50 per cent more likely to
remember a real-time ad on DOOH,
(OCS* 2014 - Posterscope’s out-
of-home consumer insight research
survey), few advertisers feel able to
capitalise on this.
Real-time DOOH has the potential to
deliver both an increase in advertising
efficiency and effectiveness, but at this
stage the necessary standardisation of
systems does not exist across the industry
to provide the scale, consistency and
agility to fully deliver on this promise.
From the agency perspective, this lack of
agility is responsible for significant media
value ‘falling between the cracks’.
To solve the gap between clients’ desires for the activation of
their real-time OOH, the industry needs to commit to consistent
standards and accessible technology to deliver real-time scale.
Creative block on real-time capabilities
Despite the capabilities of real-time DOOH, creative teams don’t currently
have a full understanding of what they’re able to do, which means real-time
isn’t factored into the creative process.
The knowledge gap in the creative
community is one of the challenges
that needs to be overcome. There is a
need to educate and inspire creative
teams in agencies so they have a better
understanding of the full capabilities within
There is no doubt that if they have a better
understanding of what kind of data is
available and how it can be used, creative
agencies will develop campaigns that
capitalise on real-time.
As creative teams produce real-time
campaigns that make full use of the
technology’s capabilities they will in
turn excite clients about the medium’s
possibilities. As a result, clients will be
more willing to develop these ideas –
provided the output can be delivered at a
The knowledge gap exists between creative departments and media owners on what is and isn’t
possible. Having worked for 10 years in a digital agency, it’s clear that even the best creative teams
are unaware of the latest DOOH capabilities. We need creative departments who are as au fait with
what the possibilities are, as they are with other channels. When this happens, it will open the door
and clients will, whether they like it or not, receive a flood of different ways of dramatizing their brands
using this new technology.“
CEO, M&C Saatchi
To solve this challenge media owners and agencies must do
more to educate the creative community on the full capabilities
of real-time DOOH.standards and accessible technology to
deliver real-time scale.
Targeting models don’t fit real-time demand
Whilst suited to traditional campaigns, old targeting models and buying
criteria are preventing OOH advertisers from making the most of the real-
Real-time DOOH is the advertising
medium that can most effectively achieve
the ultimate marketing objective of getting
the right marketing message to the right
audience at the right time.
To achieve this, the industry needs to revisit
its targeting criteria and move towards
audiences and behaviours. With the
data now available, real-time can enable
marketers to target audiences using more
variables than ever before, including such
criteria as time of day, weather data and
Using data like this, brands can ensure
campaigns use real-time technology to
deliver ‘right-time’ ads – delivering content
that is simultaneously real-time and right-
Another key issue is the way that DOOH
has been historically traded in units of
time, across 2 weeks, 1 week, 1 day or
an evening commute, for example. This
means that managing DOOH inventory
has become increasingly complex and
will require a new approach to manage it
beyond manual planning.
Tapping into the right audience is key because people’s expectations are rising quickly, and outpacing
the rate of innovation in DOOH. Looking at my target audience, they’re tech savvy, in the 30-55
demographic and affluent. They expect connection to all devices and their whole life to be synced.
If they see an ad that isn’t clever or doesn’t reflect something interesting and innovative we probably
won’t connect with them in the way that making full use of this medium will. Ultimately we need to
establish a partnership with the consumer, to let their interests and behaviour lead us into new and
interesting areas and to use the technology we have at our fingertips to deliver something that not
only meets their expectations, but exceeds them.”
Senior Marketing Manager, Hive Active Heating by British Gas
One thing that I think that’s really interesting for the OOH media owners is you can easily get lost in
investing in technology and thinking about the infrastructure. The more you can orientate to target
audiences and the customer’s journey, be it a parent’s journey to retail or a technically savvy person’s
journey to work, the better. I think the customer journey is the opportunity for the OOH industry
that will draw in creative and media agencies to want to use OOH. When thinking about your next
investment, that’s key for me.”
Global Media Partnership Lead, Microsoft
With any given piece of creative,
brands must consider when is exactly
the right time to deliver an ad.
Delivery then becomes about relevance,
rather than having to produce something
within specific timeframes. In this way,
real-time DOOH offers the potential to find
people based on what they do and where
When you start to talk about right-time, you’re
saying ‘I can use data to understand the right
time to push out a pre-defined message, and
you might have an expanded matrix of pre-
defined creative. Ultimately you’re just looking
at a more flexible way of saying ‘How can we
become more relevant? How can we make
sure the right message is served to the right
audience at the right time? I think that’s just
about having more flexibility and developing
creative that can be served at that right
moment in time.”
Founder, Trigger Buzz
To overcome this challenge,
media owners need to
provide more flexible buying
models to allow advertisers
to reach their target audience
exactly when and where they
Lack of awareness of the benefits
Posterscope estimates that currently less than 5 per cent of spend on
DOOH incorporates a real-time component and this is largely due to a
disconnect between client understanding and what real-time DOOH can
With huge potential for real-time DOOH,
there is still low awareness amongst those
who could benefit from its capabilities.
The industry has work to do in adopting
a collective view on how to articulate and
convey the full benefits of real-time DOOH.
Rather than a showcasing exercise, this
must be achieved in a way that highlights
how real-time DOOH can be used at scale
and can use precision and relevancy to
reach consumers at a particular location and
point in time.
The industry is not selling the benefit hard enough – that’s the truth and the challenge. There’s a lot of
talk about how much is invested, but we need to talk about why it has been invested, what in and why
that is relevant. We spend a lot of time in our sector talking about products rather than talking about
the benefits of the products, and to a degree that’s why there is a low-level of awareness.”
CEO, Ocean Outdoor
To overcome this challenge the industry needs to improve
communication to praise the benefits of real-time, what it can
do for brands and agencies and how it can create unforgettable
OOH experiences for consumers.
Posterscope’s research has revealed vast untapped demand and audience
potential for real-time DOOH campaigns.
• 61 per cent of marketers say they want real-time in their DOOH campaigns
• An additional 47 per cent believe it would make their brand’s DOOH
advertising more effective.
To take advantage of its full potential
the industry needs to start working on
overcoming and addressing the challenges
outlined in this report.
Once it does so, real-time DOOH can
become the effective, efficient and
transformative technology it promises to be.
The industry must start talking more confidently and positively about what this medium can achieve.
This involves collaborating in order to move forward – acknowledging that although it’s starting to
happen, we need to collectively address how to scale and accelerate the pace of change and how to
get creative teams to adapt. OOH agencies have a central role in making this happen by providing the
consultancy to realise the opportunity.”
Tracy de Groose
CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network
Notes to Editors
*OCS is Posterscope’s OOH consumer
insight research survey. The research
initiative allows Posterscope to take a
leadership position as the only out-of-home
communication specialist in the industry
adopting a disciplined consumer-centric
planning and buying approach.
OCS enables Posterscope to look at the
OOH landscape through the lens of the
consumer to find unique insights. These
insights help to develop OOH plans and
buys that uniquely connect clients with
consumers in the right place, at the right
time, with messaging that resonates with
their individual lifestyles.
Posterscope is the world’s leading
agency. It knows more about how
consumers behave when they are
out of home than anyone else.
Posterscope understands the connection
between out-of-home, mobile and digital,
and pioneers trials to understand how
consumers will use emerging technologies.
Posterscope has 49 offices around the
world, buying over $3bn of out-of-home
advertising space each year.
For more information please contact:
+44 20 7336 6363
2nd Floor, The Qube, 90 Whitfield Street, London, W1T 4EZ
+44 20 7863 2075