DOOH Digital Out of Home Programmatic Digital Out of Home

Why today’s shopping malls present a huge DOOH opportunity



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November 7, 2022 | 6 min read

As consumers return to UK shopping malls, they are finding themselves enjoying a refreshed customer experience centered around social and leisure activities, as well as shopping

For brands, this represents an exciting opportunity to refresh their shopping mall advertising strategy to better engage this young, affluent audience.

Furthermore, in a world where marketers are facing rising TV ad costs and the removal of third-party cookies new-look shopping malls offer an opportunity to achieve the competitive edge needed to win the all-important battle for consumers’ attention in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.

In this article, we explore today’s shopping mall audience in detail and uncover opportunities for retail and non-retail brands, big and small budgets, traditional out-of-home (OOH) specialists, digital experts, and programmatic buyers.

Capture the mood of the nation

A recent report by commercial property experts Lambert Smith Hampton reveals that UK shopping malls, “offer the biggest opportunities to drive forward the creative and radical reimagining of retail’s role within towns and cities.” Former Westfield advisor, Keith Mabbet sums up the revolution saying, “Today, dining, leisure and entertainment have become the new anchor and experience is king.”

The goal of any marketing campaign is to attract consumers’ attention and influence their behavior. The key to doing this is reflecting your target audience's mindset in a context that is relevant to the behaviour you want to elicit. Macro trends play a big role in influencing consumers’ mindsets and marketers need to stay on top of these trends and insights to create the most compelling campaigns.

Damian Lord, head of insight, IPA says: "With a winter World Cup, the aftermath of the Covid pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis, Christmas 2022 is going to be like no other. There’s an understandable belt-tightening across the board but people are still looking for interesting and imaginative gifts and ways to spread goodwill with their loved ones."

A cue for brands to inspire consumers if ever there was one.

What does the new shopping mall audience look like?

During the peak of Covid lockdowns, around 65% of all clothing purchases were conducted online – that’s now dropped back to 25%. Furthermore, data shows us that some shopping mall-based retail sales are higher than they were pre-Covid. For example, at Liverpool ONE, retail sales are almost 20% above where they were in 2019 (source: Liverpool ONE).

But advertising in shopping malls isn’t just about reaching shoppers, it’s about engaging affluent consumers living their lives, talking about what they saw on TV last night, where they’re going on holiday, whether they’re going to see the latest blockbuster movie, their favorite new recipes, and so on. In other words, reaching people when they’re shopping and socializing or ‘social shopping’.

What you need to know about today’s shopping mall audience

  • The shopping mall audience is young (+82% more likely to be aged 18-34), affluent and media savvy

  • There is a growing trend of combining shopping with leisure activities with shopping malls investing in experiences such as bouldering walls, escape rooms, and go-karting – an opportunity to reach ‘social shoppers’

What does this mean for marketers?

  • An opportunity to reach and engage the elusive 18-34 age group who miss the ‘spontaneity’ and ‘surprise’ of real-world experiences (source: RapportWW)

  • Options to combine online and offline in innovative ways

  • A full funnel opportunity that goes beyond retail products for retailers and non-retailers

The shopping mall advertising ecosystem

Shopping mall designers and OOH media owners have worked hard to create premium advertising assets that complement the environment while offering brands high-impact creative opportunities. For example:

Digital 6-sheets (image from Liverpool ONE , Liverpool)

These digital six-sheet full-motion screens are great for communicating key messages as they’re spread throughout the shopping mall, targeting people in the mindset to socialize and spend.

M-Visions (image from Westfield, London)

These high-impact full-motion screens offer brands the ability to really tell a story through video creative, perfect for showcasing products.

The programmatic opportunity

In addition to traditional laydowns, media buyers have the option to purchase shopping mall advertising via programmatic guaranteed, or non-guaranteed deals. Programmatic offers several benefits including:

  • Rapid campaign set-up and activation
  • Omnichannel insights (if managed in a DSP alongside other channels)
  • In-flight optimization
  • Total control of spend
  • The ability to integrate first-, second-, and third-party data sources to activate/pause campaigns, change creative, and increase/decrease bids
  • Lower minimum spend requirements creating opportunities for test and learn and smaller advertisers

Why now?

In the run-up to Christmas and at a time when consumers are becoming more considered in their purchases, shopping malls are a fantastic way to reach receptive audiences in modern, vibrant environments. Furthermore, the new shopper mindset that goes beyond the functional aspects of buying products – social shopping - means marketers can leverage shopping malls advertising across the whole of the funnel championing things like sustainability, pricing, product reviews, and prompts to purchase.

The creative options afforded by modern digital out-of-home (DOOH), combined with robust audience data, adds an extra boost to the effectiveness of the communication. Without a doubt, a relevant impression delivered with a location or time-based tailored message will be worth more than one without. This could be anything from a message that varies with the weather, or time of day, to one promoting a sale in a specific retailer. It’s all proven to deliver extra returns at a time when this matters more than ever. JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Posterscope’s 2020 “Moments of Truth” study showed that this incremental gain in effectiveness averages out at around 17%.

Finally, when thinking about shopping mall opportunities we must also consider the offline/online journey. Consumers are online when their shopping in person and ‘out of home mCommerce’ is big business, worth an impressive £179bn, with a whopping 60% of all online spending done while people are outside of the home. There’s a huge opportunity here awaiting those planners and marketers savvy enough to spot it.

DOOH Digital Out of Home Programmatic Digital Out of Home


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