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Connected OOH: more than just QR codes

by Madeleine Brown

December 6, 2022

How brands can take advantage of new tech to make the most of OOH

At Kinetic, we believe that Out of Home advertising is the home of creativity. In our report on OOH trends for 2022, we discussed the expected boom of scannable codes thanks to mass audience adoption as a result of the pandemic. According to research from AI advertising platform, Alfi (2022), the use of these brand codes in digital OOH is expected to grow by 20% or more in the next 12 months. But just like we’ve moved on from lockdowns, technology – and audience capabilities – have evolved.

So how can brands take advantage of the connection to audiences these new types of codes offer? And what does this look like in the world of OOH?

Beyond the QR code

The resurgence of the QR code and its mass adoption kickstarted a scannable code revolution. While it has dipped in and out of favour since its introduction in 1994, it now looks as though the QR code is here to stay. But not as it always was.

New visual brand codes from platforms such as Snap, Instagram, Tik Tok and WhatsApp also provide gateways to a variety of interactive content when scanned by a mobile device. They can be used as part of campaign creative, with every audience touchpoint able to drive connection and commerce. They can also help brands blend the physical and digital worlds, boosting the in-person experience by layering AR over OOH media, events and installations.

Using imagery and other codes such as AppClips – part of a brand’s app discoverable at the point its needed – not only provides interesting and contextual prompts but can also make up crucial parts of campaign creative.

Brand codes fuel engaging user experiences in real time

Visual brand codes within OOH can extend the reach of digital experiences to the real world by providing a visible link to content. A brand code can act as a virtual window to an augmented reality, a unique link to specially tailored offers or added layers to OOH spaces and events.

Thanks to the flexible nature of both brand codes and DOOH, audience interaction can be boosted by pushing relevant content at relevant times in relevant locations. According to the CIM’s Impact of Marketing Report 2022, convenience tops the table of the fastest-growing consumer needs (83%). Dynamic messaging and brand codes are excellent tools when delivering contextually relevant and engaging messaging – which can be acted on in the moment (The Mobile Pound, 2022), meaning consumer needs can be met with minimum effort.

The integration of brand codes in OOH creative allows brands to build even more depth into campaign messaging. This gives advertisers greater flexibility and creative freedom to build original, out of the box OOH campaigns that can achieve highly targeted goals. It also enables audience interaction and exploration of the creative seen on OOH, enhancing the consumer experience by tapping into our human need for novelty and excitement (Ron Spears, Alfi, 2022).

Greater measurability

We know that OOH is a powerful channel for driving offline to online conversions. Every interaction with a brand code provides an instant preliminary conversion that can then be tracked all the way to making a purchase, downloading an app, accessing a coupon or special offer or following a social media account.

By using codes in DOOH advertising, brands can measure exactly how impactful their campaigns are. Visual codes serve as excellent first-party data sources and are accessible instantly, providing brands with data to help plan and conceptualise personalised, engaging content. It also enables brands to tap into detail about live campaigns in real time. Insights into what placements, formats, messaging and offers provide the greatest engagement and conversion mean advertisers can see what’s working, and what might need to change.

Klarna blended a QR code into seven OOH murals driving people to a gallery and interactive game. Over 160,000 visited the gallery, and 45,000 completed the game.

The relationship between brand codes and OOH continues to develop

Featuring these visual, scannable brand codes within OOH can extend the reach of digital experiences and offer gateways into detailed, shareable content. DOOH can boost interaction by pushing relevant content at a time where context is key for capturing audience interest.

It’s an exciting time for advertisers – OOH can now act as a canvas for augmentation or digital store fronts. Additional layers can be added to murals and installations to enhance the experience of the creative. Interaction and exploration of the creative can be enabled. Commerce can be unlocked at location. It is now possible for brands to create entirely virtual spaces mapped over real physical locations through which any number of experiences can be accessed.

Maximising brand code effectiveness

So how can brands make the most of using brand codes? Put simply…

Easy access – brands should use formats and environments where there is enough dwell time to be noticed, and position codes where they are easily accessible for everyone.

Good chat – using a simple call to action will increase understanding and incentivise interactions.

The right value exchange – brands should ensure the audience experience is relevant and worth the effort. E.g., direct links to purchasing environments, interesting content that can’t be found easily elsewhere, relevant information to a location or time, discounts or incentives.

The relationship between brand codes and OOH not only provides interesting communication between audiences and brands, but also allows advertisers to experiment, innovate and create in-depth brand experiences for their customers. In 2022 and beyond, blending traditional and digital media with physical experiences promises to continue to excite advertisers, brands and audiences alike.

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Advertising & Media
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