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Location - The Missing Link
The Huffington Post
By Andy Sriubas
October 5, 2016
In preparing a news story, reporters are taught to answer five questions: "who, what, where, when and why." This formula ensures that the reader is given the complete picture of what occurred.

Without the answers to each of those questions, it's very possible that readers will lose the meaning of, or draw incorrect conclusions from, the incomplete set of facts.

The same is true for the use of data in advertising. Advertisers must think like reporters employing the five W's and gathering deep, granular, and accurate information to build effective advertising campaigns and strategies. The quest for ever increasing "data fidelity" is part of the effort to drive more accurate and thus value-conscious marketing.
Of course, advertisers do not need nor want to know exactly "who" someone is by name, instead the sale of media to advertisers has been largely focused on "what" a person is - i.e. female, millennial, New Yorker, etc. Modern advertising engines and mixed media models are building "digital avatars" of potential customers and audiences on an aggregated and anonymous basis.

But "what" someone is does not tell the whole story. Where, when, and why that individual will react to a marketer's message is as important and could change the conclusions that were originally drawn from the "what" information alone. To understand these remaining elements and complete the story, advertisers must look to location data. 

Location: The New Data Gold Rush
Today, we can add depth to a person's profile by using location data. Location data for audiences, both at a point in time and over time, gives context to the demographic and descriptive "what" data that advertisers are already gathering. With location data, we get more accurate home locale, work sites and journey patterns - the important where. This can be used to infer better psychographic segmentation as well as potential customers' intent; think the why and when.

Additionally, information about a person's location over time adds context, "animating" the data set, providing exponential value to the marketer when infused with pattern matching and basic artificial intelligence. Much like watching a hurricane move on a weather map vs. a snapshot image of the hurricane, that data point can't predict intent, direction, or the intensity of the movements. However, when a storm's movements over time are displayed in a moving image, you gain the ability to more accurately predict future actions. The same can be said for a target group of consumers.

The Mobile Revolution
The use of location data from mobile phones is a foundational element for this new data stack. In recent years, mobile marketing has increased dramatically because of the time we spend on these devices, the one-to-one targeting opportunity and the prospects of substantial data capture. Phones and tablets are always with us, granting them huge utility points relative to all other media forms when considering audiences' location. Together with information from beacons, Wi-Fi and apps we add a deeper dimension to the "flat" avatars built from static demo identifiers alone.

For example, someone arriving at a Home Depot might be much more receptive to a message for lawn fertilizer than when they are sitting on a couch or listening to the radio at a ballgame - regardless of how perfectly their demographic profile suits the marketing brief. The fact that certain audience segments have not recently been to a Home Depot may also sway the specific offer made to that group.

Information about location completes the story. Like Indiana Jones figured out in Raiders of the Lost Ark , he needed information from both sides of the amulet in order to accurately locate the hidden Ark of the Covenant in the Well of Souls. The Nazi's were "digging in the wrong spot" because they had only part of the data. Conclusions can be dramatically different without the full picture.

Recency Theory Comes Home
The added accuracy, provided by location data, will also influence the media used by marketers to reach audiences. As marketers' tool sets become increasingly detailed with location data as a prominent qualifier, location-based media outlets are going to accrue (even) more value. As we discussed, location data can/will inform all media buys by adding additional context, but the value of being able to reach target demos, at the moment they are most receptive to a message, will now take on more quantifiable importance.
Erwin Ephron's Recency Theory * can now take its place along-side Reach and Frequency as measurable must have's in media. Location data is the element that proves the law. In today's world, consumers, regardless of generation, are paying less attention to triggers and marketing stimulus. Thus the timing of the message must be targeted and precise. We need to find audiences when they are "in the moment" and the form of that ad must be impactful.
Mobile media inventory is a great avenue to reach consumers and high fidelity data sets (which include location data) will now point to these devices with even more frequency. But for all of their great value (I do love it), mobile's drawbacks remain - small form factors, view-ability issues, reporting problems, ineffective ad units (in app, pre-rolls, etc.) and are easily ignored or cause aggravation. Thus mobile garners it's best utility when complimented with another prime source.
The evolution of audience analytics fueled by location data means that billboards, transit displays and other forms OOH media become significantly more valuable than previously imagined. With a deeper understanding of consumers' behaviors, we are now able to determine the value of a given location, at or over points in time, to an advertiser. Marketers will more accurately predict which OOH locations are most relevant for select audiences. Plus, combinations of locations driven by recency and frequency metrics, will lead to a "network effect" for ad dollars. And as such, larger format static or digital displays become the best way to deliver messages at any location given their size, dynamic creative possibilities and unavoidable nature - especially when used in combination.
The location data collected today is animating static demographic data sets into ever-more accurate pools and brings forth more insightful research. Marketers moved away from the "buckshot" approach to targeting audiences long ago. Now it needs to be done with more fidelity and at the exact right place and time. Of course advertisers are not the only ones who stand to benefit. Consumers may pay more attention when ads will take on more meaning and provide something they value on a daily basis. The system reinforces itself.
* Recency theory refers to the belief that advertisements and promotions are most effective when they air immediately prior to the time of decision, and that the influence of ad exposure diminishes with time.

Billboard Insider
By Staff Writer
October 4, 2016
DANVILLE, Ill. - (October 4, 2016) - Owners of Watchfire digital billboards and on premise LED signs can download free widgets that allow marketers to integrate real-time baseball scores for teams in the post-season.

"Playoff games generate a lot of excitement for those who follow America's pastime, and we believe that these RSS feeds are a fun and engaging way to help our customers draw additional interest to their digital billboards and LED signs," said Darrin Friskney, vice president at Watchfire Signs.

Watchfire digital billboard owners can download the free file, which contains the data feed as well as artwork fitting the most common Watchfire billboard sizes. The file works exclusively with Watchfire Ignite OA, Watchfire's proprietary content management software for billboard operators. Watchfire on premise sign owners using other versions of Ignite can also use the RSS feed for free, combining it with their own background image.

The playoff widget campaign is the latest program from Watchfire designed to make it easy for Watchfire's customers to implement dynamic campaigns on their digital billboards and on premise signs. The company has provided free templates for events like Mother's Day, college commencements, and medal counts for the summer games that allow operators and advertisers to take advantage of the unique dynamic capabilities that digital outdoor provides.

"The free widgets provided by Watchfire are a great tool to engage our advertisers," says Eric Lambert with Independent Outdoor in Greenwich, Connecticut. "We have several advertisers who benefit from the sports market and Watchfire helps us provide extra incentive for them to use outdoor advertising to reach their consumers. This turn-key content lets us generate excitement from the communities following the playoffs. "

Five Digital Poster Campaign ROI Essentials
Digital Signage Connection
By Andy Hamblin
October 5, 2016
Digital billboards and posters are a highly effective way to build brand recognition and communicate your message to a wide audience. However, unlike the world of online advertising, which offers a whole host of tools to help you reach your audience, it can be difficult to effectively target and track the results of your out-of-home marketing campaign. How can you ensure that your digital poster is reaching the right people and bringing you a good Return-on-Investment?

A successful digital billboard requires careful planning

Creating a successful out-of-home marketing campaign doesn't need to be a guessing game. With careful planning, you can develop a strategy and target your campaign in a way that ensures the best possible ROI for your digital poster. Targeting the right people at the right place in the right way and at the right time will guarantee you a better ROI on your digital billboard or poster. 

1. Identify and define your ideal target audience
Whatever the medium, any successful marketing campaign requires a clear understanding of the types of people that the advert aims to reach. Defining your target audience should be at the core of your digital poster campaign. What are the demographics of the people that you are trying to reach with your advert? Are you targeting men or women? What age and income bracket will they be in? Who is your ideal customer?
Analyse existing customer data in order to get a head-start on understanding your target audience. Who is already buying your product/service? Who are they buying it for, and when do they buy it? Think about the need that your product fulfils. The more you know about the audience you are aiming to communicate with, the more likely you'll reach them.

2. Choose the right time and location for your digital poster
Advertising in the wrong location is a waste of time and money. Quite simply, if your target audience isn't going to see your digital poster, then it won't be able to realize its purpose, and you won't get a good ROI.

Use the demographic data about your ideal target audience to determine when and where to display your ads. Look for digital poster sites that are in the locations with the greatest number of people in your target market. Location-based advertising can ensure you gain exposure to the relevant people at minimal cost. There are various tools and resources to enable you to find out which locations would be most successful for your campaign. Most media owners (the people who sell advertising space) will be able to present you with data that shows you the amount of pedestrian or vehicular traffic for each location.

One of the advantages of digital billboards and posters is that you can specify exactly when you want your ad to be displayed. Displaying your ad at a certain time of day may be a more effective way of reaching your target market.

For example, earlier this year, Gett made use of location and timing-based marketing to entice customers away from their biggest rival, Uber. Highlighting Gett's no-surge policy, they used demographic data to ensure their ads were displayed in specific locations at busy "surge" times when existing Uber customers would be expected to pay more for their taxi service. So armed with the knowledge of customer behavior, coupled with a solution to a problem they faced, Gett was able to capitalize on demand and capture a new customer-base.

3. Present your message effectively
The very nature of out-of-home advertising is that you're communicating to people when they're out and about, on-the-go. You have a short time-frame  to capture attention and to get your message across. Be brief, clear and concise. Don't overload passers-by with too much text, complex metaphors or industry jargon. Keep it simple. If you can't get your message across in six words or less, you probably need to think about other forms of advertising to reach your audience. Using one simple call-to-action at the center of your campaign is very effective. Use images and graphics to grab the attention of passers-by and to support that call-to-action.

A great way to check that your message resonates with your target audience is to test it for minimal cost on social media or using Google Adwords. See what results you get online, tweak if necessary and re-test before committing to a digital poster or billboard.

Digital posters offer lots of opportunities to communicate your message creatively. Women's Aid won the 2015 Masters of Marketing award for their 'Look at me' digital poster campaign that highlighted how domestic violence often goes ignored. The posters used interactive digital technology to communicate a clear and powerful message. When passers-by walked past the image of a battered and bruised woman, the image stayed the same. When someone stopped to look at the woman, the bruises slowly started to heal.

4. Extend your reach by interacting with other advertising mediums
As smartphones increasingly become an extension of our own hands, the opportunities to connect with consumers on a more personal level will become increasingly powerful. New research shows that people who have seen an out-of-home campaign are 17 percent more likely to engage with that brand on their phone. Take your digital poster beyond a brief encounter at the bus stop and use technology like NFC,  iBeacons or augmented reality to develop a relationship with your consumers.

For example, in May of this year, the NHS launched an augmented reality billboard campaign called "The Power of Blood" to engage with the general public and show the power of donating blood. NHS volunteers gave members of the public an iPhone that used an augmented reality app to connect to a digital billboard featuring an ill patient and an empty blood bag. The app used visual recognition to detect a sticker on the participant's skin which then superimposed a plaster, needle and tube onto their arm. As the iPhone virtually took the participant's blood, the empty blood bag on the billboard would begin to fill up, and the patient would begin to look healthy.
5. Open a conversation to track the success of a digital poster campaign

Tracking the success of an out-of-home campaign can be tricky. How do you know you're getting a good ROI on your digital poster campaign if you don't have any concrete evidence to show your ad has resulted in customer engagement or sales? Capture information about ads that have been successful by developing a strategy to track an ad digitally.