Highlights of Kinetic’s 2011 Digital Out of Home Report

Kinetic’ s 2011 UK Digital Out Of Home Handbook has been officially released this week, a must read publication for anyone interested in this topic, as voices within the industry say. The research conducted together with Grand Visual, summarizes the industry’s developments in the past year (2010), forecasts the digital out of home trends for 2011, reveals consumers’ perceptions towards the medium and highlights the UK’s most original and eye- catching outdoor campaigns of the last 12 months.

So if you didn’t have the time to read the 172 pages long document and you’re interested in what the DOOH industry has to offer in the future, here are the study’s main points:

  1. Let the numbers talk. The industry’s revenue increased by 37% as compared to 2009, reaching the level of £110m. The figure is expected to continue to rise by 31% and reach £116m by the end of 2011.
  2. The main identified factors of growth were: 1.investments in already existing DOOH projects; 2. the digitisation of new environments (outdoor: bus shelters, buses, taxis and indoor: malls and retail), and main British cities. Millions of consumers are now reached on the move every week;

An industry never standing still…

  1. Efforts are made to enhance the sector’s measurement capability. This trend will also affect the charging method, according to Kinetic, with a move towards a cost per thousand.
  2. Technology-led interactivity such as that offered by Clear Channel will encourage further adoption this year, states the report, mentioning the digital technologies behind this trend: touch screens, augmented reality, facial and gesture recognition, all aimed at fostering a personal, one-to-one communication with one’s targeted audience. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, the mobile consumers have an increased appetite for engagement and interactivity with the DOOH. Location and interaction became vital elements of any out-of-home communication strategy.

There is a risk of focusing too much on technological developments and less on the social changes it creates. Kinetic’s latest research into consumers’ perceptions of digital posters offers an insight into how technology influenced them during the past year.  The research, conducted in February 2011, reveals a general positive attitude towards out-of-home digital screens (it would be interesting to know the size and diversity of the population sample). ‘’Most people like digital screens’’ mainly because of their entertaining potential and the possibility to access retail promotions. Their study found that:

–          69% of the respondents think that digital posters could be beneficial to people in locations where they are waiting to travel or for services;

–          40% consider watching digital screens as a great way to spend time while travelling;

–          66% of the surveyed consumers expect seeing digital screens in main city centres in the future;

–          dynamic screen content catches attention- as acknowledged by 71% of the surveyed population;

–          50% of the consumers believe digital signage makes shopping malls more interesting;

–          58% of them believe transport environments are more enjoyable because of digital posters and screens;

Targeted advertising is appreciated

–          43% of consumers agreed thinking more favourably of brands that offered them something relevant to their location and daily experience;

–          50% reckon to react positively to an offer immediately available;

High expectations…shaped by current technology

–          1/5 of Britons expect digital signs to be able to recognize who they are ;

–          26% of them expect to be targeted with ads and info relevant to what they were doing at the time;

–          11% expect to buy a product or service directly from an interactive screen;

Kinetic concludes that the consumers’ response to digital advertising varies with the environment, timing (time of the day, day of the week) and viewer- specific factors such as: mood, demographic, mindset and situation, as shown by its face- tracking research. Sharing the screen with other advertisers increases the audience’s level of attention, arguably because the more varied the content the more interesting it becomes for a viewer.

As stated by the company, these findings confirm previous qualitative and quantitative studies presenting the Digital- Out- of- Home as a medium that engages and entertains its audience.


The Digital Out-Of-Home technology allows messages to be more relevant, more entertaining and have a wider reach, yet the medium is still not fulfilling all its potential, the study shows.  There is still a gap between expected connectivity (the ‘’everything, everywhere’’ concept) and that offered by current outdoor campaigns.


Nonetheless, the research acknowledges that 2011 has already brought innovative advertising campaigns mainly from the top advertisers in the sector:


Lynx’s campaign for Unilever– the first augmented reality campaign to run on billboards in the UK- and one that has received considerable press coverage within the industry and not only (read more about it and our contribution here);

Nike’s ‘’Write The Future’’ campaign based around England’s progress at the World Cup 2010- the 1st to run across 9 major DOOH networks throughout the UK. The motivation for on outdoor advertising endeavour was the need to reach the audience where it is- anywhere but at home (Darren Wright,  Creative Director, Wiedden + Kennedy);

Ford’s Grand C-Max- ‘’Innovation in Your Hands’’- the first outdoor AR campaign with 3D depth- imaging technology in the country allowing users to interact with the car (choose colour, open doors, fold the seats etc.) via a digital screen, ‘’an engagement not possible before with static posters’’ (Mark Simpson, Ford). JCDecaux’s network was the chosen media.


According to Kinetic, the industry is expected to continue its growth, reaching £1.15 billion by 2020 (maybe someone can explain how the slight decline in the US digital signage index would affect the European one)* The DOOH’s increased interactivity and flexibility opens the door to integrating this strategy with a brand’s online, mobile and social media marketing efforts. Although it was argued that content is king, in the out of home environment the medium is the message thus the more screens and posters, the better.

The question of whether QR codes and NFC (Near Field Communication) will become commonplace has been raised. According to Kinetic’s forecast, they will (on our opinion, QR codes’ future might be a little problematic due to their usage complexity- downloading scanning apps, getting the right distance and focus etc while NFC is more likely to become highly popular).  The report  also consists of technical  specifications and creative guidelines for different types of outdoor digital displays.

*Kinetic has recently tweeted that the digital only represents 1/4 of the DOOH, which implies that its fluctuations wouldn’t have a tremendous impact on the industry as a whole.

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