In a UK first, premium digital out-of-home (DOOH) media owner Ocean Outdoor has established the powerful interplay between advertising and content in DOOH environments using neuroscience.

With so few content media channels able to provide a shared sense of experience at scale, the new study establishes Ocean’s credentials as the fourth broadcast channel. With its inventory of screens in prime, hand-picked locations with long sight lines, the study concluded that Ocean’s content solutions can deliver live streamed, dynamic content alongside relevant advertising to drive up effectiveness 5x against pure ad play alone.

Conducted by COG Research, this is the first-time eye tracking technology has been combined with skin conductance response (SCR) monitoring to measure and analyse audience engagement with large, full motion digital screens in outdoor spaces.

The study focused on Ocean’s content partner The All England Lawn Tennis Club and the Wimbledon Championships. Working with Wimbledon’s official car partner Jaguar, Ocean brokered a deal to broadcast ads, pre-scheduled highlights and live content from the world-famous tennis event in it’s 12 UK Digital Cities and in both Westfield London and Stratford City.

The results, based on the DOOH activity at Westfield London, conclusively found the screening of dynamic live and pre-scheduled highlights content, alongside bespoke ad creative – a format not dissimilar to TV advertising – triggered a significant behavioural change in the study’s participants: in outdoor environments showing DOOH content, eye movement slowed and focused, gaze dwell time increased, cognitive load was reduced and crucially brand engagement and affinity were boosted.

Compared against pure ad play only, and analysing several different formats of content and ad sequencing, the study revealed:

  • DOOH highlights content followed by ads is 5.1x more engaging
  • DOOH ads followed by highlights content is nearly 4x more engaging
  • Dynamic (live scoreboard) content alone on DOOH screens was 5x more engaging
  • Live match content alone on DOOH screens was almost 9x more engaging

The results clearly demonstrate that full motion, DOOH screens displaying dynamic and highlights content and advertising working in tandem delivers more effective brand environments to engage with audiences at scale.

Ocean has been facilitating this new, but fast expanding, niche of DOOH with a roster of high-profile content partners including Team GB, BBC Studios, British Fashion Council, Formula-E and most recently ITV Sports, with Ocean securing an exclusive partnership to broadcast the Rugby World Cup, taking place in September2019.

Additional study highlights revealedpositive brand affinity and awareness around the activity. After completing the eye tracking and SCR fieldwork, the next day the same participants were asked to take online awareness and implicit brand testing surveys:

  • 71% of participants agreed the activity made Jaguar more memorable
  • 57% of participants agreed the activity made them view Jaguar more positively
  • Implicit brand response testing revealed quick and easy agreement with many of Jaguar’s core brand values after the activity, including being sporty, dynamic and stylish – all values the advertiser wanted the activity to convey

Finally, the research also looked at the experiential activity running concurrently with the DOOH activation. Jaguar set up a viewing area at Westfield Square, with deck chairs, large format digital screens and an outdoor car show room. For participants viewing the live content combined with the experiential activity, engagement was ramped up almost 3x.

Ocean Head of Content and Sponsorship Kevin Henry said: “This study proves that DOOH is an amplifying channel for our content partners. By offering highly engaging digital and experiential activations, out of home uniquely extends the reach of broadcast content.

“For advertisers associating with highly compelling content, in a relevant out of home environment, this allows for a far closer relationship, by appealing to consumers on a personal interest level.Whether it’s through live sports events or technologically advanced DOOH activations, our screens provide brands with totally new ways to engage with their customers,” Henry added.

Paul Buttigieg, director of commercial partnerships Europe, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said: “In addition to being the standout retail destinations in London, Westfield London and Stratford City’s ambition is to deliver new and memorable experiences for its customers. The combination of large format DOOH screens, live-streaming and experiential spaces create an emotional engagement to the brand and enhance our shopper’s visit.

“We anticipate this type of engaging activations will continue to build a level of anticipation as people come to expect something original and different from both the screens and spaces when visiting our centres.”

Robert Herd, Jaguar Head of Communications & PR, said: “As we continue to grow the Jaguar brand with new vehicles such as the award winning, all-electric I-PACE, we must challenge ourselves to find innovative ways to engage new audiences.

“Our role as ‘Official Car Partner’ of the Wimbledon Championships provided a great opportunity to connect with Tennis fans across the UK.

“To achieve maximum results we leveraged Ocean’s full motion outdoor network to drive awareness of our sponsored live-streaming and tournament content. This channel was a key element of an integrated campaign generated by Dentsu X and Posterscope, the post campaign results show how creative campaign planning can drive success and we are delighted with the significant results achieved.”

Rob Ellis, founder of COG Research said: “We were struck by how the live content visibly impacted on shopper’s behaviour: our approach allowed us to measure just how effectively large screens showing Wimbledon pulled attention, and held it even when ads were running. Their behaviour and their feedback later both showed that content on DOOH changes the way we ‘see’ it.”

The findings build on an earlier neuroscience study, conducted by Neuro-Insight for Ocean, which demonstrates the enhanced impact of exposure to DOOH live streaming content on brain responses.