Can Location-based Beacons Add Value for Outdoor Advertising?


Most people are naturally curious, and they actively explore and engage when their curiosity is piqued. As consumers interact with the world around them, location-based beacons are making it easier to bridge the physical world with the digital.

One of the challenges of out-of-home media is that it is still seen as a broadcast medium—going from one to many. Advertisers today want one-to-one conversation with consumers in the same way online and mobile channels currently offer it, and beacons are one way to provide brands with that opportunity. The ability to have a more relevant conversation with consumers using targeted, dynamic creative triggered by real-time data has brought the out-of-home space closer to that desired one-to-one conversation.

Combining location-based beacons with placed-based out-of-home enables brands to convert a one-way impression into a two-way engagement, providing immediacy for consumers, while at the same time, making them more comfortable interacting with the technology going forward. In the near future, these interactions will be able to use a consumer’s mobile history and interaction to deliver even more relevant messages with advertising that is not only contextually correct–delivered at the right place and time–but also to the right consumer. Beacons allow brands to encourage immediate engagement.

For example, placing beacons within a retail environment enables brands to collect more detailed data to support creative messaging, particularly once the beacon has been able to track where the consumer has been and what they have potentially seen in-store.

It is often assumed that consumers want to engage with technology, but there is still some consumer reticence slowing the adoption of beacons. Making engagement easier is the key to success, and it will provide a major catalyst for out-of-home industry growth.

Capturing behavioral data enables the out-of-home space to provide campaign measurement and accountability, which brands and agencies require to increase OOH campaign budgets including mobile engagement. So it’s little wonder that more brands are asking for this type of justification to support advertising investments. Agency education is key to implement beacon-based campaigns, and it will be a major driver for business going forward. Lamar Advertising began selling mobile interactive campaigns pairing out-of-home with beacons more than two years ago, and it’s been exciting to see more agencies pair out-of-home with mobile technology.

Lamar has been testing multiple beacon platforms, but one that we believe is most promising is our partnership with Blue Bite and Esca. Esca was the first dual-mode beacon to take advantage of both Apple’s iBeacon and Google’s Eddystone protocols, providing compatibility across the widest spectrum of apps as well as mobile web through Physical Web, which provides access to the broadest audience.  Additionally, Esca has been released both as a battery powered unit as well as in two USB powered versions, reducing long-term maintenance and increasing range for media that is located at a further distance from consumers. The Esca beacon is plugged into an enhanced reporting platform that provides our brand partners real-time visibility into campaign performance.Can Location-based Beacons Add Value for Outdoor Advertising?

One of my favorite beacon-based campaigns was for Puma’s Ignite XT sneaker. Puma collaborated with Blue Bite, Blue 449, Zenith Media and Austria-based mobile agency Loop to create a one-of-a-kind outdoor campaign featuring its brand ambassadors, Usain Bolt and Rihanna. Users tapped or scanned Blue Bite’s mTAGs to launch a mobile experience triggered by beacons and geofences. Once the mobile experience was launched, users were able to discover Ignite XT’s features and have the ability to purchase it directly.body-pic2

We’ve proven that combining mobile engagement with out-of-home significantly increases consumer interactions. Whether you represent a brand, agency, vendor or a technology company, I encourage you to educate your company about location-based beacon technology. The only way the out-of-home industry will continue is to test and learn what best fits our medium.

Ian Dallimore began work with Lamar Advertising in 2004 as part of the marketing department. A year later, he transitioned to national sales where he worked directly with out-of-home buyers and strategic teams for national agencies. Dallimore soon became Lamar’s first digital OOH strategist and developed what the company has become today. As director of digital innovation and sales strategy, he interacts with national clients, brands and agencies to devise strategic plans. He also serves on the Digital Signage Expo Advisory Board with a focus on driving the industry to stay relevant in the advertising world. Dallimore is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and communications.

Ian Dallimore and Jonathan Brawn of Brawn Consulting, will jointly lead a webinar discussion entitled, The Role Beacon Technology Will Play in the Future when presents its 30-minute webinar on Thursday, September 29 from 2:00-2:30 p.m. EDT. Ian and Jonathan are members of the Digital Signage Expo Advisory Board’s Advertising Council.

*Article first published on ScreenMedia Daily

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Vice President of Digital Growth
Lamar Advertising Company

Out-of-Home Network Council

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