The Rise of Digital in OOH Mall Advertising

Image showing a digital advertising screen in a mall

The American branch of Westfield shopping centres has recently rolled out over 200 digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad “pods” in shopping malls across the country. The pods feature double sided, high-bright, 75″ LCD screens. They are equipped with remote management technology that drastically reduces the need for on-site maintenance, and feature sensors that alert management to any obstruction of their screens. Digital screen manufacturer Esprit Digital aims to “transform out-of-home mall advertising” with their new booths.

Esprit is just one part of a story that tells of the rise of out-of-home (OOH) mall advertising in recent years.

Around 8 million consumers visit shopping malls in Britain every week. People don’t just visit malls because they are convenient; they are a central part of the leisure activities of millions of people up and down the country. This is one reason that online shopping hasn’t prevented malls from being bustling palaces of commerce.

When in shopping malls, consumers are primed to make spontaneous purchasing decisions; half of shoppers will impulse-buy when out and about in shopping centres. In Britain alone this equates to an “impulse economy” of over £21 billion.

Consumers take a positive view of mall advertising, seeing posters and digital screens as a great way to stay up to date with the latest trends and products, as well as being a great way to liven up the shopping experience.

The rise of DOOH

The increasing prevalence of digital advertising in shopping centres is part of the wider rise of DOOH more generally. Statista predicts that DOOH spending will more than double by 2023, rising to 26.21 billion.

As the technology continues to evolve and further integrate databased intelligence with online, mobile and mixed reality, the future of mall advertising looks digital.

‘Bullringing’ in the changes

One area in particular that has embraced the rise of digital advertising in shopping malls is Birmingham. Recent developments at the city’s expansive Bullring complex see a giant eye-shaped digital screen which scans passers-by, analyses the demographic of the crowd and serves targeted ads based on gender, age… and even emotion.

Targeting is the name of the game when it comes to understanding the rise of digital advertising in malls. The Birmingham example is based on a detailed understanding of audience demographics and a propensity for luxury consumer spending.

Audience Demographics from Bull Ring eye

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Given that shopping centres are such a prime target for effective marketing, be it sales-activation or brand building, the move to digital is an attempt to further optimise the brand outreach process.

Motion in DOOH

Digital out-of-home advertising allows for full motion graphics in brand creatives. Neuroscience research has backed up the effectiveness of this format. Full motion ad displays leverage the immersive impact of television and have been shown to be 250% more effective than static ads.

Even more interestingly, when online video content is displayed on DOOH panels, it is even more effective than when it is experienced in an online context. This is partly because people’s awareness of their surroundings when they are in a brightly lit, stimulating retail environment make them more likely to pay attention to eye-catching visuals. When seen online, digital content appears commonplace; when seen offline it has the impact of novelty.

But the really trippy part is that DOOH actually has the effect of further magnifying online content. If DOOH is included as part of a campaign’s marketing mix, then short-form video campaigns will perform better online. This is essentially a virtuous circle of DOOH engagement leading to an enhanced online experience and further strengthening brand messaging.

Westfield Stratford City

Every year, over 46 million people visit the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford City, with an average spend of £78 per visit contributing to a £1.1 billion annual turnover.

Add to this an average dwell time of 108 minutes, and the scene is set for major brand engagement. Westfield Stratford City sports a stunning, curved full motion screen located at Four Dials square. The 17.7m by 6.6m screen boasts 361,725 impacts every two weeks. The screen allows for 6 x 10 second brand spots at a time, offering advertisers a 16% share of voice.

Image showing Westfield Stratford City advertising screen

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Advertising that’s here to help

Another key point about DOOH in shopping centres is that it is an excellent way to combine brand messaging with service provision. Digital kiosks can double up as information hubs; indeed, in recent years Westfield have rolled out giant touch screens to supersede traditional info kiosks.

Image showing interactive advertising screen in mal

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Digital mall advertising: there’s an app for that

Swarovski used the new interactive possibilities offered by DOOH for their 2017 “Christmas Wish List” campaign. The campaign ran on digital panels with app functionality that allowed audiences to browse the Swarovski Christmas range and add items to a digital wish list. The list could then be sent to themselves or to friends and family as inspiration for Christmas gifts.

image showing interactive Swarovski advertising screen in mall

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Not only does this kind of marketing offer an incredible level of engagement for individual shoppers, passers-by seeing people interacting with the panels are more likely to engage with the ads themselves. This kind of “social proof” is a powerful effect of digital advertising in public spaces like shopping malls.

Digital mall advertising for small businesses

Small businesses and startups needn’t worry that digital advertising in shopping centres is beyond their reach. Brands can display 10 second digital ads on free standing mall kiosks from as little as £150 per week. Check out the Bubble panel map to find the advertising solution that suits you. Just click on the “shopping centre” drop-down on the map menu on the left-hand side of the screen and select the “digital” option. Enter a location and you can find digital assets in a wide range of locations. You can even select how many times your ad is displayed in a 120 second period, to get a reach that suits your budget.

There has never been a more exciting time for your brand to take advantage of the possibilities of digital out-of-home advertising in shopping centres.

1 reply
  1. says:

    The advertising industry has always felt the need to evolve, and DOOH advertising is the latest evolution. From malls to airports, retail stores to information boards, digital advertising can be seen all around. In 2018 the UK DOOH market will account for around 47% of all Out-Of-Home (OOH) advertising, according to The Identity Group. This is due to the mass ordering of digital signage to capture an ever-growing target segment – everyone that leaves their home. Expanding from 2056 digital screens in 2009 to over 17,000 projected screens in 2017, (from The Seven Stars ) the UK will be at the heart of an industry that is changing the nature of advertising with advanced, well-placed, innovative infrastructures.


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