Nov 15, 2021

Brands can use OOH’s ‘priming effect’ to replace third-party cookies

Using out-of-home (OOH) media to “prime” consumers can help to mitigate against an advertising effectiveness deficit in the post-cookie era, according to a new study.

What happened?

Out-of-home advertising company JCDecaux and Lumen Research carried out tests on 1,800 UK consumers, with participants divided into three groups:

    • Group 1 undertook an online task and was then served ads on the independent website based on that activity, as would normally occur with third-party cookie retargeting.
    • Group 2 watched a street scene including OOH ads and was then served different (i.e. non-targeted) ads on the independent website.
    • Group 3 watched the same street scene video, and one of the OOH ads was again shown when they were looking at the independent website.

The results

    • The study found that priming with public media restores both the click-through rate (CTR) and awareness levels.
    • Without cookie-based targeting, there was a 40% decline in awareness. In Group 1, 39% of participants remembered seeing the ad; in Group 2, that figure fell to 23%.
    • However, in Group 3, in which the consumers saw the ad in an OOH context before viewing it again online, that awareness figure also reached 39%.
    • Cookie-based targeting in Group 1 resulted in a CTR of 0.6%. This dropped to 0.3% in the cookie-free experience of Group 2, but reached 0.5% after priming by OOH in Group 3.
Cookies are a proxy for what you really want to do, which is relevant advertising.
Mike Follett - managing director of Lumen Research

Why it matters

The third-party cookie will be with us until 2023, so advertisers have some time yet to experiment with different methods to maintain effectiveness without retargeting capabilities. As OOH digitises and becomes more addressable, there are opportunities for more targeting priming through this channel.

It’s worthwhile considering how effective fleet branding can contribute to this.


Sourced from WARC, JCDecaux, Lumen Research.

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