Context Hacking pays for Advertisers and Publishers

Digital Ninjas, what’s up?! Parisien here in beautiful Côte d’Azur, France for the Cannes Lions.

Did you know context hacking in digital out-of-home pays for both advertisers and media owners?

Context hacking is the creative concept that involves exploiting the mindset and direction of the audience at the moment they consume an ad. This could be an ad that adapts itself based on the web site, mobile app, or in the case of digital out-of-home, the place where that ad is published. It can also be one that adapts itself to other types of dynamic variable situations such as weather conditions, sports scores or anything else your imagination can dream up.

An ad that is designed to take into account the context in which it is viewed can be devastatingly more effective than one that doesn’t. This makes logical sense for obvious cases such as advertising lunch specials right at the moment someone leaves work. Conversely, it would be illogical to advertising cold ice cream during a particularly cold and rainy day in the summer. But obvious cases like these are not where the magic happens.

Robert Cialdini the preeminent psychologist-slash-marketer is the author of Influence, a book which has been required reading for marketers for the better part of three decades. His 2016 book, “Pre-suasion”, is the context hacking bible in which he lays out the research that demonstrates how what one does in the key moments before the message is delivered can have a drastic effect on the impact of that message.

One highly relevant example involves triggering the principle of reciprocation, which states that humans will want to naturally give back once something is given to them.

To supercharge the reciprocative reflex, you can add three magical ingredients:
1. Customization, i.e. designed to someone’s specific needs
2. Meaningfulness, i.e. has a high perceived value
3. Unexpectedness, i.e. out-of-routine or surprising

When you add all these up together, you evoke the most magical emotion a marketer can ask for: delight! In his experiments, various combinations of these “pre-suasive” ingredients increased desired results from 5% to 200%. This is where an advertisement can transform into an experience!

An example of this principle in action in the digital out-of-home world is one of my favourite campaigns: the journey comparison for Heathrow Express. Instead of an ad promoting the benefits of taking the train from Heathrow airport in London to Paddington station, eye-level digital out-of-home at the baggage claim of Heathrow showed a simple side-by-side comparison of how long it will take and how much it will cost to take a taxi versus the train to London. It was customized because it targeted travelers exactly at the moment they needed to make that fateful decision of how to get to town. It was meaningful because the taxi was multiple times the cost of a train ticket. Finally, it was unexpected because you would be hard pressed to find someone who recognized it as an advertisement. What’s more, this campaign was booked for an unheard-of two-years!

In a business which typically books campaigns in 4-week flights, the cost-of-sale of these types of long-term scalable experiential campaigns is drastically lower.

Alright ninjas! This has been DOOH Decoded telling you why context hacking in digital out-of-home pays for both advertisers and media owners.

Shinobi seeing you!

Daniel Parisien, Chief Strategy Officer, Quividi