Why CPG Marketers Can Confidently Add OOH into Their Marketing Mix

Two years ago, most of my discussions with CPG clients on out of home media ended in a “No.”

No, I don’t need OOH to drive awareness of my product. No, I can’t target audiences properly with it. No, I don’t have the data to support the investment.

Then the pandemic hit, and things went from bad to worse. Consumers weren’t driving or commuting, which made OOH seem even less relevant. But then, things started to shift as shoppers began pantry loading and driving out-of-stocks. They tried alternative brands or store brands. Marketers were scrambling, some to find ways to reach new customers who may have been unfamiliar with their brand, others to hang on to their loyal customer base.

I started fielding questions: “Wait a second. With OOH, I can advertise close to the point of purchase? Digitally? To the same audience I am using in other channels? And I can measure it and link it to a purchase?”

Six months ago, the OOH industry couldn’t answer these questions as well as they’d like. But now, thanks to data-driven media activation and closed loop measurement, we’re hearing “yes” much more often.

Traditional OOH was expected to grow by 10% in 2021, the strongest growth of any offline advertising medium. Digital out-of-home (DOOH) has become the new ‘cool kid’ in the advertising world and is part of a media channel that has become more sophisticated and easier to measure. The global DOOH ad market is expected to grow by 13% annually through the end of this decade, according to ResearchandMarkets.com.

New programmatic buying capabilities, the growth in signage close to the point of purchase, and the ability to use purchase data to target and measure, have broken down key barriers that have historically prevented CPG companies from investing in out of home.

Now, brands can access first-party, point-of-sale data versus relying primarily on location, panel, or purchase intent data sources. By seeking out granular data at scale they can use a broad range of performance metrics that go beyond the traditional sales lift and Return on Ad Spend.

Shopper-level insights provide valuable information that can demonstrate effectiveness for objectives such as new item trial where traditional media metrics fall flat. A recent case study on a new ice cream brand showed that the repeat rate of buyers exposed to the out of home campaign exceeded the repeat rate of the category by roughly 20%. That valuable insight couldn’t be gleaned from a simple sales lift study.

Additionally, understanding the impact on buyer behavior enables advertisers to target their next campaigns more efficiently. Were shoppers who were loyal to the brand previously or new buyers more responsive to the media? We now know and can target inventory that those specific shoppers are most likely to see.

OOH is a one-to-many instead of a one-to-one medium that requires brands to alter existing marketing strategies. Unfortunately, this dynamic requires a higher media investment. To help marketers overcome this hurdle, the industry should offer measurement products that provide insight into sales impact as well as the behaviors of buyers who were exposed to media across a wide range of investment levels.

Today, marketers can partner with data analytics firms to creates borderless engagement and seamless integration into broader media plans. Brands can now bring to life messages delivered across the path to purchase -- including CTV, digital media, in-store, and more -- with the enhanced scale and reach of OOH, which leads directly to purchase-oriented engagement in-store. The question of whether a shopper picked up a six-pack of Coca-Cola after seeing a billboard can now be answered and marketers can also uncover additional insights about who responded to the ad.

As the year unfolds, we expect marketers will say “yes” more often to digital and traditional OOH. There’s no reason it can’t become an integral part of an omni-channel media mix because it delivers a personalized, one-stop way to maximize speed and flexibility, and can target, measure and optimize more efficiently. We now have all the tools we need to conquer any lingering CPG brand skepticism. Let’s get started.

To learn more about Catalina’s OOH capabilities, visit our Media & Activation solutions page.