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Five Minutes with … JCDecaux's Cristina Smart

The out-of-home industry is constantly evolving. From programmatic DOOH to 3D billboards, there is always innovation in the sector making it a more powerful advertising channel for brands.

Keeping up with the industry can be difficult, so each month Veridooh is speaking to experts in the field for their insights and predictions on the latest trends.

This week we speak to Cristina Smart, JCDecaux Australia head of data innovation and audience insight.

How is the way advertisers use data in OOH changing?

It is changing, and quite rapidly. There used to be a distinct silo between on and offline. This is no longer the case. We’re pushing that silo over, sharing audiences and results and this is all fuelled by data. We can now track results and optimise better than ever before, and make the brand experience personalised at scale for audiences at the right moments to reach them. We’re having deeper conversations that extend beyond the billboard, so to speak, that become examples of how we can bring the digital and physical worlds together. What’s been powerful is that the increase in programmatic has also worked to drive this, as working with digital native brands has created a receptive audience to these ideas.

We need more bravery and collaboration to really drive innovation in out-of-home from a data perspective. When you make space for new opportunities, you push the industry forward.

Do you think the phasing out of third-party cookies will have on impact on OOH? This is an interesting one. Cookies are a way for marketers to understand how a campaign works and they have been so effective. Out-of-home is fundamentally a one-to-many medium, so no cookies required. However, the offset to that is the difficulty to track effectiveness; you need a balance. We are moving towards trackability but in privacy-compliant, opt-in ways with forward thinking partners. For example, we were able to understand the store visitation post campaign for a large QSR brand by using aggregated mobile data.

JCDecaux also recently commissioned a study with Lumen to replicate the impact of cookie targeting on attention and recall of digital advertising. This was then compared to a world where there was no cookie targeting, where you prime your digital advertising with another media - in this case digital out-of-home advertising. It’s a comprehensive study but the big discovery was that priming your online campaign with other media proved to be a great way to boost attention to those ads even if cookies were not used. In fact, the attention was equivalent and if there is a strong creative link (think distinctive visual code) between the two channels, then the results of cookie targeting can be replicated.

What are the main growth opportunities for JCDecaux over the next two years? Technology and data has enabled new conversations and a closer relationship between media vendors and brands, and JCDecaux is no exception to this. Also, we really see in the next couple of years a focus on simplicity of processes and positioning both internally and externally – as the world gets more complex we want out-of-home to stay as easy to buy as possible. Programmatic uptake is also a key driver of growth as it accelerates and opens up the possibility of using out-of-home tactically to test and learn.

What would you like to see more of in OOH advertising this year?

I said it before – bravery! This is the year for the big idea; be it creative, audience, data, or technology-led, we want to see more campaigns that drive conversation in our communities

Any big predictions for OOH for the rest of 2023? Proving the effectiveness of out-of-home as a channel is paramount. The more proof, the more trust. Programmatic advertising will continue to grow. We’re seeing a shift in traditional media consumption and new avenues opening up, however the outdoors is still the #1 place people are when not at home!

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