As many Americans begin to return to the office, digital out-of-home advertiser Captivate is expanding ways to reach them on their journey. The company is adding screens in new locations and launching new products to reach consumers wherever they are. In today's fast-changing environment, that strategy is helping steady Captivate's business and is boosting its ad partners' visibility and engagement.
With 25 years in the out-of-home industry Captivate is best known for its digital screens in office buildings and elevators. In recent years, the company has expanded into other high-value locations, including residential and hotel lobbies, universities and even in golf carts -- all places where Americans make business and consumer buying decisions. Overall, Captivate reaches 7.5 million viewers in 101 markets on 30,000 screens.
Of course, over the last 18 months, the work environment has changed dramatically, which impacts Captivate and its ad partners. When will more companies get their workers back into the office? How many workers will stay home for good? Is hybrid work the preferred solution? To track it all, Chief Marketing Officer Scott Marden has become an in-house data scientist.
"We've had to become fortune tellers and forecasters," Marden said. "Using our data insights, we're advisors and trend spotters for our clients."
Since the pandemic began, Marden pores over daily data and information on COVID-19 infection rates and vaccination rates. He also tracks how many workers are returning to offices and companies' latest plans. Captivate's first-party research, conducted with a panel of business executives, adds valuable insight. That information helps its advertising partners.
"To understand out-of-home and in-home behavior, we have to know when and where people were traveling to or not traveling," Marden explained. "Then we can better understand their paths."
According to Captivate's latest research, 60% of workers in August said they had a timeline for returning to the office, up from 49% in May 2021 and 38% in March 2021. Hybrid work, where employees come in a few days a week, is gaining popularity. In August, 63% of respondents said their company was planning a hybrid return, up from 46% in May 2021 and 41% in March 2021.
Captivate's research helps its clients develop their advertising campaigns. For example, new data indicates that Tuesday and Wednesday are the most popular days for workers to go to the office, followed by Thursday, and then Monday and Friday.
Advertisers can use that information two ways, Marden noted. If a client wants maximum reach, then the high-traffic mid-week would be best. Alternatively, if they want more exposure and exclusivity, then they should advertise on less-trafficked Monday and Friday. Also, Marden said Monday and Friday are days when executives are likely to be in the office, so messaging on those days could reach high-level decision-makers.
With Americans working from home and in the office, Marden said advertisers have new ways to reach them. Business-to-business advertisers have opportunities to connect in new locations, while B2C advertisers have visibility in new places, including the office, residential and golf courses.
"Connecting the journey from home to work and home again is very beneficial for our clients," he said.
Captivate surveys track consumer behavior in-office, at home and on personal time. B2C advertising is one of its fast-growing sectors, and brands want to reach potential customers with discretionary income.
Along with place-based advertising Captivate offers targeted digital advertising and can direct ads to digital devices by location, education, income, occupation and even by company. That applies to mobile devices, personal computers and work computers.
Among B2B advertisers, Marden said business services, technology, software, hardware and cloud computing are all hot categories, and among B2C advertisers, packaged goods business is growing rapidly.
While it supports its advertising clients, Captivate is also responding to changing market conditions with innovations, including new products and additional placements. When mandates on masking in public places and temperature checks became commonplace, Captivate introduced new health and wellness kiosks. Outfitted with its digital screens, the kiosks check temperatures, scan for masks and even offer hand sanitizing dispensers, all while streaming Captivate content and advertising.
To reach consumers in new locations, the company is expanding into more condominiums and high-rise buildings, as well as fitness centers and hospitals. Building owners can use the screens to add their announcements, such as package notifications or mask requirements, which increases their utility, Marden noted.
"We've gathered a lot of new data during the pandemic, which helped our business and helped us adapt," he said.
While locations are critical, what sets Captivate apart from other digital OOH services is its great content, Marden added. The company works with hundreds of content partners to supply news, entertainment and lifestyle programming. Captivate has recently been adding more local news, weather and transit information. Live editors update the content around the clock, so users get the latest breaking news and fresh features.
From ads to content, Marden said Captivate continues to offer consumers and marketers the highest-quality digital out-of-home experience. "During volatile times, research development and innovation are key things, and I'm proud of what we've done here with new products and how we've supported clients," he said.
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