Mobile searches conducted in out of home locations are over a third (38%) more likely to lead to a purchase compared to those done at home, according to a new study designed to arm marketers with evidence that demonstrates both the effectiveness of outdoor media, and how it can be optimised to drive audience behaviour.
The study, conducted by Clear Channel UK, Global, JCDecaux and Posterscope, also shows people who spend more time out of home search 58% more on their smartphones than those who spend less time out of home, and also search across more varied products and services.
Some 62% of people are also encouraged to search when an out of home advertising campaign features a location call out.
“The Point of Search” report used a combination of three research techniques in what is claimed to be the most comprehensive study of its kind on the subject to date.
Designed to understand people’s search behaviours and how they differ based by location, the research explores why people search, where they search, how the specific attributes and priming factors of the out of home space encourage search and ultimately sales, and how to optimise OOH advertising to maximise the search effect.
The three stages of the research uncovered further new insights into consumer search behaviour.
Stage one – anatomy of search – revealed that the more time consumers spend outside, the more often they search across different categories, and out of home searches span a wider range of search typologies.
For stage two, a bespoke online search diary completed by over 1,000 people recorded their mobile search behaviour over a seven-day period, creating an in-depth database of almost 10,000 mobile searches to determine how search differs when conducted in “OOH locations” versus “at home”.
It found that mobile searches out of home have a wider variety of triggers, particularly location needs, the senses, and feelings.
The number one motivation to search when out of home was to fulfil a location need, such as to find a store address, while people are more impulsive and looking for inspiration when out of home. It is also the things that consumers see, hear and smell that act as triggers to search.
Mobile searches in out of home locations are proportionately more likely to take place Monday to Thursday, while in home searches are more likely at the weekends.
Out of home searches are also more spread out across time periods (over 8 in 10 taking place between the morning and 7pm), while 4 in 10 searches at home take place in the evening after 7pm.
Meanwhile, mobile searches out of home take place more often in the company of other people than at home searches, providing more opportunity for word of mouth.
Stage three – how to optimise OOH media to drive search – looked at the specific attributes of OOH media (traditional billboards and digital OOH) that encourage people to search.
It found that specific OOH media attributes drive search, such as medium, size, frequency, dwell time and experiential, meaning that OOH advertising creative can be optimised by tailoring messages to needs and motivations, using specific creative messages, elements and dynamic digital OOH.
The study highlights the fact that search behaviour is a clear indicator of consumer needs and as a result, creative messages can be linked to these needs, and the optimisation of specific creative elements such as large logos, short succinct copy and large product shots can have a significant impact on search behaviour.
Meanwhile, digital OOH that uses dynamic and contextually relevant messages, such as location, weather and time, also encourages people to search.
Clear Channel UK research and insight director Lindsay Rapacchi said: “Les Binet (group head of effectiveness at Adam & Eve DDB and a leading researcher on marketing effectiveness) recently demonstrated that increases in share of search lead to increases in market share.
“Thanks to this new research collaboration, we also know that a huge volume of search takes place in out of home environments – clearly a target location for any brand wishing to grab hold of their share of search as and when it happens.”
Chris Forrester, director of commercial for outdoor at Global, added: “The results provides unequivocal proof that combining creativity, technology and data can really supercharge growth for brands.”
JCDecaux UK chief commercial officer Mark Bucknell concluded: “Out of home advertising has been shown to amplify engagement with digital online and this new insight now shows the powerful effect it has on search, prompting people to purchase when they are outside the home.
“With 83% of people now visiting a city every month and the increased investment in digital out of home across the biggest UK cities, the opportunities for brands to get the best from the public and private screen grows ever stronger.”
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