Using Digital’s Potential Wins Millennial Customers

Technology is changing every aspect of our lives, from how and when we choose to get our entertainment to how we buy products. The power of media influence has shifted from media providers to the media consumer, who personalize their experiences through the technology in their hands. One-size-fits-all messaging simply doesn’t work anymore.

Digital outdoor advertisers are an integral part of these industry changes. No mass media allows advertisers to provide a customized experience as effectively as digital outdoor. Savvy companies recognize that partnering with digital media in new and creative ways can only increase consumer loyalty and their bottom lines. To be truly effective, DOOH operators must push advertisers to maximize the tremendous capabilities of the digital medium in order to see dramatic results.

Sure, there are plenty of static billboards out there that will remain the backbone of the out of home industry for years to come. But as technology becomes more and more prevalent, is that the way to reach new generations of consumers and to dramatically increase advertising share for out of home companies? Simply put, no, it’s not. In an April 2015 article for, Daniel Newman discusses the impact that the increasingly influential millennial generation (those born between the early 1980s and the early 21st century) is having on the type of advertising that drives sales and brand loyalty. This generation of “digital natives” have never known a world without access to multiple types of technology. They distrust traditional advertising and put more credibility in word-of-mouth experiences, even when coming through a digital community.

Millennials have considerable and increasing buying power, and in order for advertisers to become favored brands they need to expand their use of digital billboards as part of an overall brand experience. Standing out in a visually crowded field of advertising and brands is important. Millennials like to share content that is memorable, inventive and edgy. It’s not enough to be unforgettable, brands need to become integrated, interactive and viral to thrive. Timeliness and a focus on participation are especially important. The idea is to create a collective experience that can be shared by those who are drawn to a particular brand or campaign (think of Budweiser’s “Up For Whatever” campaign). This group of consumers want to see themselves as part of the brand experience.

Data supports the effectiveness of digital billboard advertising. In a 2015 study on digital billboards, Nielsen reported that 75% of travelers stated that they noticed a digital billboard ad within the prior month and 60% noticed one in the prior week. Of the travelers who noticed a digital billboard in the prior month, 55% felt highly engaged with the ad message. Advertising recall on digital boards is very high, ranging between 74 and 89% among respondents. Digital billboard ads were judged to stand out better than online ads by 71% of the study respondents, which rated almost equivalent to that of television.

In order to produce advertising that utilizes the unique nature of digital billboards, advertisers and their agencies need to be educated by operators and manufacturers alike on those capabilities. The challenge is to focus on campaigns that encompass dynamic and conditional content that can be integrated across multiple digital platforms. Watchfire can help you understand the power of Ignite OA, our content management system, and help to use it to it’s capabilities. Find advertisers who are already engaged in digital campaigns and show them how digital billboards can integrate with, and expand upon what they are already doing. If their marketing departments or agencies are unfamiliar with ad production for digital, help them understand its dynamic differences from static surfaces – use best practice examples and encourage them to think outside the box.

For those who use digital advertising effectively, there are rewards. Our customers’ experiences demonstrate that the more effectively content is tailored to individual products, brands and campaigns, the more likely clients are to renew their contracts for digital billboard space. Dynamic and conditional content require a game plan for an advertising campaign, but with solid execution you get happy repeat customers and they get more return on their advertising investments.


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