I’ve always wondered about the opportunities to integrate search with digital out-of-home. We have looked at search and television, but have not really explored digital signs and billboards that can connect search queries with location and then serve a message on a digital billboard.
So when I had the chance to speak with Katie Ford, chief client officer at Amobee, a marketing technology company that measures intelligence, I took it.
“Research online and buy media offline is real,” Ford said. “People search online and then buy the product offline.”
Ford said if a consumer lives five miles within a Walmart store, for example, there is a higher likelihood that the consumer will search online and go into the store to make the purchase. Anything outside the ratios of five miles the consumer will likely buy online. The location helps to determine how the consumer will make the purchase.
Search works to drive the consumer to a location, but it DOOH also works to drive searches from a specific location, she said. If I see an ad and I search for something, it can provide information about a physical retail location where they can find the product.
“Seeing something on a huge screen and then searching online to determine where to buy it is kind of a new phenomenon,” she said. “It seems to go both ways.”
For example, a consumer can take a photo of the billboard with Google Lens and research online where to purchase the product. Ford called it "search to scan to buy," which is common in Asia.
This makes honing the creative message even more critical and makes it more difficult to repurpose advertisements from one location to another. The ad must have purpose.