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Learnings from the 2022 Super Bowl: How Digital Out of Home (DOOH) is a Game Changer for Brands Advertising around Live Events

Few sporting events live up to the title of ‘the big game’ quite like the Super Bowl.

As one of the most-watched events worldwide, the game attracts a huge number of viewers, with this year’s initial figures indicating that it reached an estimated 167 million. While many viewers watched the game (or perhaps just the halftime show) on small screens via Linear TV or streaming services, masses also gathered outside of their homes. The audience for Super Bowl LVI watching in communal spaces like bars or hotels was estimated at around 12.5 million viewers this year. 

Such a huge audience means that it’s a big ticket for advertisers too.

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Last year’s Super Bowl LV attracted a total in-game ad spend of $545 million, while this year TV ad prices rose 12% to $6.5 million per thirty seconds. Returning to shared spaces like restaurants and bars, audiences will once again be in a prime position to engage with Out Of Home (OOH) and Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) advertising, via screens and billboards in central locations and public transport hubs. With live events back in the spotlight, brands and advertisers have a great opportunity to take advantage of technologies like programmatic DOOH that allow them to reach receptive audiences with engaging and contextually relevant messaging before, during, and after these events.

With this years’ Super Bowl now behind us, here are three things marketers can learn about programmatic DOOH to enhance their marketing strategies for future live events.

Running play – Ensuring campaigns remain fast on their feet

Traditional OOH ad campaigns required planning months in advance, with trading taking place manually via an IO. These longer-term buying cycles allowed brands to use information known well ahead of time to build campaigns. This was seen last year, with local advertisers in the Tampa area upping their share of voice in the lead-up to Super Bowl LV. However, once these buys are ‘locked in’, changing creative or messaging becomes difficult and costly. 

While in practice this model means that Super Bowl advertisers could have purchased a spot on a billboard around California’s SoFi stadium back in July 2021, months before the big game, those leveraging the reactivity and flexibility of programmatic DOOH have a winning advantage and can capitalize on last-minute developments, big changes, or cancellations.

For example, while it was well known in advance that the game would be played in California, it wasn’t known that the local LA Rams would be playing until two weeks before the game.

One of programmatic DOOH’s key benefits is that it gives brands access to greater buying and campaign optimization flexibility. Rather than having to commit to creative messaging months in advance, programmatic buying allows advertisers to buy based on more flexible factors, including real-time audience movement patterns using privacy-safe mobile location data.

Advertising can be triggered based on target audiences being in the proximity of a specific digital screen, serving them the relevant ad. While this is seamless and contextual to the audience, even to the point of being a coincidence, it’s highly strategic and allows advertisers to take advantage of moments as they happen. 

Programmatic DOOH pricing models also give advertisers the option to pause, increase, or decrease ad spend in line with campaign performance. With the uncertainty around live events and sports over the last few years, this ability to pause and optimize campaigns has grown even more vital for advertisers. 

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Best plays – Capitalizing on memorable moments

Live events are made up of unforgettable moments, from last-second, game-winning touchdowns to marriage proposals on the field. As well as making for engaging, memorable experiences, advertisers can now tap into these moments using programmatic DOOH with contextually relevant messaging.

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Buyers can leverage programmatic DOOH technology by incorporating unique pre-set environmental or event triggers into their campaign planning.

Advertisers pre-select a custom API trigger, which can then serve bespoke, customized experiences to audiences. Sporting events offer a great selection of moment-based triggers, such as specific players scoring a goal or a particular team winning.

This year’s Super Bowl provided a variety of examples of how brands can engage with audiences in the moment. Beverage brands are among the biggest Super Bowl advertisers, and while 50 Cent’s appearance performing ‘In Da Club’ at the halftime show was a well-kept secret, these brands could have served creative that tapped into sentiment around 2000s hip hop nostalgia. On the other hand, bold advertisers could have capitalized on the questionable penalty call in the closing minutes that hindered the Bengals at a crucial time, serving customized experiences that are contextual and highly relevant to the environment of the audience. 

Teamwork makes the dream work – Finding synergies across channels   

With 11.2 million viewers now streaming the Super Bowl, the ongoing rise of Connected TV (CTV) is undeniable, and together DOOH and CTV are the fastest-growing programmatic media channels.

As with a football team, working together is key to winning a game. The synergies between DOOH and CTV channels will lead to further convergence as advertisers see the opportunities to use both channels in sync to boost their campaigns. 

Combined, these channels provide marketers with the means to drive customers down the purchase funnel through primed DOOH signage. By first exposing audiences to DOOH, brand awareness and recognition are created, which leads to in-home engagements, which can spur a secondary action or decision, like visiting a website, signing up for a service, or locating a retailer. In the future, we will see the two channels start to converge in more and more instances. The big picture could see advertisers streaming video messaging to thousands of public screens, introducing an era of venue-based public TV viewing, with integrated DOOH advertising playing an integral part.

In the context of live sport and events, this means TV audiences can be targeted via DOOH exposure in the days leading up to the game or show. For instance, consumers could have been first exposed to Pringles’ ‘Stuck in’ Super Bowl ad campaign at an outdoor touchpoint and retargeted in the comfort of their home as they are prepping for the big game. This dual-channel targeting approach allows brands to reach consumers across traditionally disjointed touchpoints and measure outcomes derived from exposure to either environment.

 

While the Super Bowl and large-scale live events already offer huge opportunities for advertisers and brands, many of these opportunities tend to fall within traditional legacy approaches that are highly competitive, considerably expensive and don’t offer full opportunities for flexibility or synchronization. As brands and advertisers begin setting out their game plans around events and sports for the coming year, programmatic DOOH is meeting them on the field with flexible and relevant opportunities for creative campaigns across outdoor screens, large and small. 

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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