Interactive Europe - lessons from advertising

74% of smartphone owners have interacted with brands through 'out of home advertising'.

Consumer behaviour, enabled by mobile technologies, is changing.  Customers are conducting price comparisons, reading review sites and engaging with brands in new ways.  Just like librarians (and many other professions of course!) brand managers are looking for ways to respond to these rapid changes.

CBS Outdoor has released Interactive Europe, investigating how consumers are changing the way they interact with brands when they are 'out of home'. 5283 interviews were conducted in six European countries (France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK) exploring how consumers were interacting with 14 brands. 

Engagement - the holy grail

Interactive advertising mechanisms include QR codes; location-based vouchers; augmented reality adverts; near field communications (NFC); and touchscreen billboard advertising.  As smartphone ownership increases in all six countries studied (ranging from up 16% in the UK to up 21% in Spain and the Netherlands), so brands are introducing interactive campaigns hoping to increase engagement.

Awareness of interactive mechanisms is increasing relatively slowly, with the exception of QR codes (awareness increased from 40% in 2011 to 54% in 2012).

But what happens after 'awareness'?   The report found that 'out of home advertising' was as effective as TV advertising in eliciting activity - 77% of respondents said they had acted as a direct result of seeing an 'out of home' advert.   This included going online for further information or to actually make a purchase.

The report looks at a number of advertising campaigns and draws out some lessons learned:

  • Interactivity must be built into campaigns from the outset
  • Adverts must still have an impact even if people choose not to interact
  • Be clear about how people can interact
  • Make your interactions easy and fast
  • Ensure there is an obvious benefit to interacting
  • Remember the 'halo' effect of people watching others interact

The reports case studies include Chicago Town Pizza, Lloyds Banking Group and Bruna Books.  You can download the Interactive Europe report here.

A connected movie poster

Another example of interactivity is a South Korean campaign for a movie called The Berlin File.  Wi-fi enabled posters allowed users to connect to extra content that offered information, HD trailers and the option to buy tickets.  The campaign increased traffic by over 28% and these users stayed on the website five times longer than regular users.   You can see a two minute video about the interactive poster on YouTube.

Photograph courtesy of ell brown via Flickr.