April 6, 2022
4 min read
It's been a full two years since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees and left many industries scrambling, including digital signage.
Since the spring of 2020, the digital signage industry has had to make some difficult choices and learned to adapt to stay relevant. In particular, the digital-out-of-home industry was forced to pivot and think of new ways to reach consumers at a time when many consumers were staying home. Somewhat surprisingly, the DOOH industry has rebounded nicely in the past year. Industry leaders found that as more people ventured out in the public after months of isolation, they were more apt to notice DOOH. Especially if the promotions are unique and attention-grabbing.
As a result of the pandemic, consumer behavior continues to evolve, pushing businesses to work harder and smarter to engage customers. Retailers, especially, have shifted to technology that tracks how consumers respond to promotions and how it affects their buying habits.
So, what will the digital landscape look like post-COVID?
The Westfield Media & Experiential Team has a beat on the future of the industry. Loren Miller, SVP of U.S. Media and Strategic Partnerships, provides key insights into how marketers can get the most out of DOOH and reach audiences in the best locations. Miller shared her expertise in a email interview with Digital Signage Today.
Q: Can you give some background on Westfield Media & Experiential and what your role is with the company?
A: Over the course of my nine years (here), I've held several senior sales management positions within the organization. Currently, as senior vice president of U.S. media and strategic partnerships, I am privileged to lead an integrated sales division focused on curating 360-degree brand solutions and innovating the technology on The Westfield Network. Our go-to-market strategies are simple: Help brands effectively leverage our robust offering of assets and services and to collectively curate and deliver results-oriented, omnichannel campaigns and long-term, key partnerships that unlock exclusive access to Westfield's consumers and retailers.
Q: Since COVID arrived two years ago, it's impacted many industries, including digital signage. What has been the biggest impact on the industry?
A: Real-time data has become a necessity in our space to compete more effectively with digital and mobile. We recognized this early on (six years ago, to be exact), and we made the investment in real-time analytics technology. Today, the industry is playing catch-up, moving toward a "near real time" data-driven strategy, which still relies on pinging mobile devices. Our preliminary investment set us up for the moment the industry really needed it: During COVID, this transparency was called upon by brands and we were able to offer our partners the confidence and accountability they were seeking.
Q: What has the digital signage industry done to counter the effects of the pandemic?
A: One of the biggest DOOH trends we saw emerge during the pandemic was the integration of QR codes into creative, which is a trend we're still seeing in advertising. These codes drive deeper consumer engagement between DOOH and mobile screens. Another trend that is gaining traction is the creation of hybrid experiences, integrating DOOH into physical experiences. We've had several partners capitalize on Westfield's physical assets while utilizing our digital channels, including Netflix's Army of the Dead "Viva Las Vengeance" VR experience, our Afterpay "Holiday Helpers" AR experience and our global concert with Lady Gaga to support her album release, "Love for Sale."
Q: It seems like some aspects of the industry, like DOOH, have actually flourished through the pandemic. Why do you think this is? Have other segments of the industry done well despite the challenges?
A: We've seen increased demand for DOOH advertising as we are the last-mile engagement before product purchase. That has created renewed business from a wider range of luxury and retail partners, as well as from entertainment and streaming clients. Additionally, our ability to offer live data and full campaign transparency on The Westfield Network, along with consumer impact, has prompted heightened interest.
Q: Do you think COVID-19 has forever changed the digital signage market? If so, in what ways?
A: Quantifying success in DOOH, transparently, is more important than ever. Given the amount of change the retail industry has endured over the past year, it is important now more than ever that brands receive transparency and security when it comes to buying media and measuring advertising campaigns.
Q: As we continue to rebound from a rough two years, what do you think the future holds for digital signage?
A: In a time where marketers need to work harder to connect with and engage consumers, accountability can be critical to a campaign's effectiveness and success. And with unique capabilities for targeting and tracking, the future of digital OOH is limitless. There is also an increased desire for consumers to be out in physical environments, which allows Westfield to create unique digital/physical activations to engage customers. Now is a key time for brands and retailers to rediscover ways to meet consumers beyond the home through innovative media, transparent campaign metrics and meaningful activations.
This article was written by Kevin Damask from Digital Signage Today. News Features and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.