“Landmark” UK Research Suggests That For DOOH, The Right Message, Place, Moment Thing Really Does Work

April 2, 2020 by Dave Haynes

Good data is sometimes hard to come by as marketers jealously, and somewhat logically, guard the research they funded. But here’s a lot of very useful data from a landmark study in the UK about Digital OOH advertising effectiveness.

The study, called “The Moments of Truth”, was funded by by Clear Channel, JCDecaux UK and Posterscope, and the results suggest  DOOH campaigns increase consumer brain response, ad recall, brand/creative rating and sales responses.

The study used a combination of three research techniques dubbed ‘research to reality’: “the most wide-ranging application of neuroscience in DOOH ever undertaken to measure brain response, eye tracking research to measure ad recall, and test and control sales uplift studies to understand how dynamic DOOH drives direct sales response.”

The study, in a nutshell, suggests among many things that the age-old thing about right message, at the right place, at the right moment is very much valid.

It also shows digital messaging boosts sales, and markedly more so than static versions of the same message.

From a Posterscope piece about the study:

Key findings from this pioneering study reveal that consumer brain response is 18% higher when viewing relevant content in digital Out of Home campaigns, which in turn leads to a 17% increase in consumers’ spontaneous advertising recall, and ultimately proving that dynamic digital Out of Home campaigns can deliver a 16% sales uplift.  When combined these findings give an overall campaign effectiveness uplift of +17%.Amid the backdrop of increased investment from both advertisers and media owners, and digital Out of Home now accounting for 53% of Out of Home revenue*, “The Moments of Truth” research has been designed to inform and educate the marketing industry on how to maximise DOOH performance and consumer response.

The three stages of the research uncovered additional insights into consumer response to dynamic Out of Home:


This element of the research, conducted by leading Neuroscience research company, Neuro-Insight, aimed to expand understanding of advertising at relevant moments, and why content featuring individual dynamic data triggers, such as location or live updates, is more effective at driving increased levels of brain response.  Using the established Neuroscience technique of Steady State Topography (SST), the research measured the brain responses of more than 160 people who were exposed to content across numerous different brand categories on a full-size portrait DOOH screen and revealed the following:

Displaying a brand or product ad at the right moment (either by time/day of week)

Displaying unique and relevant content based on either the time, location, weather or a live update in time.

The combination of the above – or the ‘nirvana state’ equals the correct application of content and moment


Measuring ad recall and brand / creative rating was conducted by Research Bods using its online webcam eye tracking software.  Over 280 respondents viewed ‘walk-through’ footage of a shopping mall with six DOOH screens each featuring a different brand’s advertising.  This part of the research demonstrated that advertising at relevant moments and with relevant content attracted attention to advertising and improved brand and creative ratings:


This aspect of the research explored whether applying the most relevant content and moment in the real world, drove a consumer action versus the traditional singular DOOH creative approach.  It revealed:

Richard Bon, Joint Managing Director of Clear Channel, said: “We are delighted to be part of this collaborative research that further demonstrates the value and benefits of Digital Out of Home advertising. For the first time ever, we have been able to develop empirical, end-to-end insights on dynamic campaigns, that not only inform advertisers why content and context relevancy matters but also offer clear guidance on how to best harness these opportunities to maximise campaign performance.“

Dallas Wiles, UK Co-CEO of JCDecaux UK, added: “It’s vital for the Out of Home sector to demonstrate that our campaign solutions will be effective in driving measurable positive outcomes. This landmark collaborative project does exactly that. It shows how the use of data-driven scheduling together with relevant copy can boost effectiveness significantly.  Increasingly we’ll be encouraging advertisers to adopt this approach as ‘standard’.”

Glen Wilson, MD at Posterscope, concluded: “The ability to deploy truly dynamic content across thousands of high quality, networked digital screens is probably the most significant step forward for OOH since the arrival of those digital screens well over a decade ago.  But its potential is still significantly under-estimated, with media spend on dynamically-enabled digital Out of Home representing only about 8% of all DOOH campaigns. We’ve always believed in the power of dynamic and seen amazing results from those clients that have embraced it.  This research proves beyond doubt that dynamic campaigns work, delivering on effectiveness and engagement, but perhaps most importantly, generating an uplift in sales.”

*2019 digital Out of Home revenue – Outsmart PWC UK OOH Advertising Revenue report

About the research:  A three stage research study featuring three different research methodologies:

*Stage 1 Neuroscience – Conducted by Neuro-Insight, using the Neuroscience technique of Steady State Topography (SST). This measured brain responses of 160 respondents exposed to test and control content on a full sized DOOH screen in a laboratory. Content was viewed for 13 brands across 10 different advertising categories. Test content featured call outs to relevant triggers such as time, location, weather or live events or was viewed at a more relevant moment (day of week / time of day). Control content featured identical creative but just excluding the relevant call out or being viewed at a less relevant moment.

**Stage 2 Online Eye Tracking and Questionnaire – Conducted by research agency, Research Bods, using online webcam eye tracking. 280 respondents viewed one of two “walk through” videos with footage of a shopping mall with 6 DOOH screens featuring test (dynamic) and control (non dynamic) advertising for brands. Eye tracking measured fixations and time spent viewing the content on DOOH screens, then respondents answered a short online questionnaire to identify advertising recall and creative rating.

***Stage 3 Test & Control Store Sales Analysis – Conducted using brand sales data and a store matching methodology for 4 different advertiser campaigns. 3 campaigns featured on Tesco point of sale DOOH screens and were evaluated using Nielsen store sales data. 1 campaign featured on high street DOOH screens and was evaluated using client store sales data. Sales uplifts compared stores featuring no OOH (control), stores supported with normal DOOH (non dynamic) and finally stores supported with DOOH featuring dynamic content with time, location or weather triggers.

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