Minding the gap with Sandra Scott of Vistar Media

Vistar Media, the leading global provider of programmatic technology for digital Out of Home (DOOH) recently released a whitepaper titled “Mind the Gap”, which highlights the gap existing between advertising creatives and media buyers across the industry. We chat to Sandra Scott, Sales & Partnership Director, New Zealand at Vistar Media, about the findings and what we can take away from it.

What is the main focus of the whitepaper Mind the Gap, and how does it shed light on the relationship between advertising creatives and media buyers in the DOOH industry?

Mind the Gap: Bridging the Gap Between Technology & Creative in DOOH addresses the disconnect or “gap” between advertising creatives and media buyers in the world of DOOH. Although these two disciplines intrinsically complement each other, they often operate independently.

As a result, we see creative teams produce brilliant, original designs that nail the brief by inspiring consumers to take action, however, there are still missed creative opportunities since these teams are often unaware of DOOH’s full capabilities. On the other hand, media buyers are extremely talented at knowing precisely where, when and how to reach an audience. However, due to the fast paced nature of the industry, it can be difficult to bring creative teams into the conversation until the end of the planning/buying cycle, thereby sacrificing creativity in the name of speed. This “gap” in DOOH can ultimately result in untapped potential for creative executions.

So, this white paper aims to explore the knowledge gap between creative and media planners, what it means for brands, and how it can be closed by optimising the creative, planning and collaboration of teams to drive more effective DOOH campaigns.

What are some of the challenges discussed in the whitepaper that hinder the utilisation of DOOH’s creative potential? How do these challenges impact campaign effectiveness?

From the outset the major challenge starts through the traditional New Zealand workflow as creatives independently develop campaign assets, then pass them on to the media team for placement. The most effective way to approach this workflow is for both sides to work with each other, hand-in-hand, throughout the entire campaign planning process. The success of implementing standout DOOH advertising relies on fostering open communication across teams by staying connected at every stage of the planning cycle – including the beginning, middle and end of the campaign’s execution.

Secondly, sometimes we default to what’s easiest and in this case that is falling back to ‘the same old media mix’. The tools that are now available within the channel have grown and developed significantly – from precise audience targeting to personalised, dynamic creative – over the past few years, but a surprising number of brands and agencies are yet to take notice. With that, it’s common for people to stick to tried-and-true strategies, but this comes at the cost of missing out on the ever-evolving technology that can maximise their DOOH campaigns.

What this all comes down to is the gap in general knowledge of the DOOH channel and its new technological advancements/capabilities. Ultimately, this leads to brands unknowingly passing on the full potential of DOOH, and as a result, not having as strong of an impact on their target audience as they could.

At the end of the day, when both creative teams and media buyers need to prioritse their own education of the channel, have an open mind to embrace (and test) new strategies, and utilise modern day technology to capture consumers’ attention to maximise results, then that’s where the magic happens.

The whitepaper suggests that new technologies are enabling the integration of creativity and data in DOOH advertising. Can you provide some examples of these technologies and how they are being leveraged to bridge the gap between creative and media planning teams?

As long as advertising has been around, every successful campaign has been built around the wants, needs, hopes and dreams of a particular audience, and DOOH is no different. Effective DOOH campaigns need to incorporate creative elements that make the audience feel seen and encourage them to act. The exciting thing about this is that we can now couple this creativity with a data-driven approach to create a DOOH campaign that more successfully reaches its target audience with messaging that will ultimately inspire action.

Dynamic creative is a great example of a technology that maximises the combination of creativity and data. Dynamic creative uses data to change specific elements within an individual advertising asset to create tailored experiences for specific audiences, automatically swapping out creative elements like product images, taglines, ad copy, offers and more. This provides advertisers with the ability to drive personalisation at scale and create highly engaging experiences based on real-time data inputs.

There are a number of relevant use cases for data-driven, dynamic creative such as sale or promotion countdown timers. Whether it’s a large retailer including a dynamic countdown timer to Boxing Day sales, or specific limited-time promotions, advertisers can leverage these real-time elements in their ads, to increase attention and drive consumers to make purchase decisions.

There have also been significant advancements in audience targeting capabilities that can play a big role in creative and media executions. For example, thanks to technological advancements, advertisers can build DOOH audiences based on behavioural patterns, household data and first- and third-party data. This allows creative teams to build creatives with their target consumer in mind, and helps media buyers reduce media waste and increase ROI by ensuring their ads will only be activated where their target audience is most likely to be.

According to the findings, creative quality plays a significant role in the effectiveness of DOOH advertising. How can advertisers strike a balance between maintaining creative excellence and meeting the demands for speed and agility in campaigns?

Like all things in life, balance is key, and DOOH is no different. An amazing creative asset is useless if it’s not placed in the right place at the right time, and similarly, a strategic media placement misses out on driving actionable results if its creative is lacking. To maximise the benefits of the channel and build ads with tremendous stopping power, it’s critical to consider the specific requirements of DOOH creative earlier in the campaign planning process.

It seems simple enough, but advertisers must strike the right balance by considering elements like context, colour, dwell time, imagery, branding, animations, screen specs, timings and even cross channel alignment. These creative considerations need to be top-of-mind as soon as the planning process begins to foster an effective and cohesive DOOH activation.

The whitepaper highlights key statistics about the growth of the DOOH advertising market and the impact of creative quality on campaign effectiveness. How can New Zealand marketers, creatives, and media buyers capitalise on these insights to enhance their DOOH strategies?

If New Zealand marketers, creatives and media buyers want to enhance their DOOH strategies, they need to understand and embrace the full scope of DOOH’s capabilities. 

To accomplish this, it’s important to ask smart questions at the onset of a campaign, such as: What audience do we want to reach? Where will we reach them? And most importantly, how will we measure the impact of this campaign? With its dramatic improvements over the past decade, DOOH provides the perfect opportunity to reach audiences with high-impact creative at multiple touchpoints throughout the buyer’s journey.

As creative teams grow their knowledge of the capabilities, requirements and considerations of DOOH, they will be empowered to produce work that resonates with consumers. Similarly, when media buyers and marketers recognise the importance of bringing creative teams in early to keep open communication throughout the planning process, both teams will unlock greater levels of creative freedom by building more engaging, inspiring and effective DOOH campaigns.

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