When it comes to outdoor advertising, Europeans have low levels of awareness and usage of a variety of interactive technologies, finds CBS Outdoor in a March 2012 study [pdf] conducted by Kantar Media. QR codes (39.8%) and promotional text codes in ads (34.2%) were the most widely known technologies among survey respondents, as well as the most used, at 13.3% and 14.5%, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, just 5.8% had ever heard of near-field communication (NFC), and only 1.4% had ever used the technology.
Other interactive technologies with relatively low rates of awareness include online check-in/location based vouchers (14%), Tweets/Facebook updates on digital ads (13.7%), augmented ads (13.7%), and bluetooth enabled advertising (13.1%), with usage rates among these ranging from 4.2-4.9%.
According to a BrandSpark survey released in February 2012, 77% of respondents from the US, Mexico, and Canada are aware of QR codes, and of those, 19% have used one.
Device Users Happy to Interact, Though
Despite low rates of awareness and usage among European adults, smartphone and tablet owners remain generally upbeat about interacting with out-of-home advertising, with 71% saying they would feel more positive about a brand that invites interaction. Breaking down the data by age demographic, 25-34-year-olds are most likely to consider interacting with an outdoor ad (74%), followed closely by 18-24-year-olds (72%) and the 35-44 set (70%). Those aged 45-55 are the least likely to consider doing so, at 65%.
Among early adopters (people who agree with the statement “I like to buy gadgets as soon as they come out”), 84% would consider interacting with an out-of-home ad.
OOH Ads Get High Response Rates
Data from “Interactive Europe” indicates that roughly three-quarters of smartphone and tablet owners have taken an action in direct response to an out-of-home advertising campaign, while response rates among technology advocates (those who agree with the statement “I like telling other people about new technologies”) are even higher, at 83%.
The most popular action taken by technology advocates and device owners using their device was going online to get more information (39% and 32%, respectively). About one-third of the technology advocates considered buying the product, as did 28% of the device owners, while 23% of the former and 20% of the latter actually bought a product in response to an outdoor ad.
- Smartphone and tablet owners made up 56% of the survey respondents. These device owners skewed young and male, with 64% of 18-24-year-olds and 60% of men owning a device.
- The tablet and smartphone audience accounts for half or more of the out-of-home audience for each of the 6 European markets surveyed (Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, UK, and Ireland).
- The most common use of devices among 18-34-year-olds while out of home included accessing the internet (80%), using social networks (67%), taking photos or shooting videos (64%), and emailing (64%).
- 86% of early adopters agreed that mobile technology allows them to make purchases more easily when out and about. The proportion dropped to 74% among technology advocates, 68% among device owners, and 53% among all adults.
About the Data: The CBS Outdoor research was conducted by Kantar Media in fall 2011, with fieldwork running from 19th October to 27th November 2011. A total of 9,024 interviews were conducted, across all 6 countries, with adults aged 18-54 years who live in, work or visit an urban area at least three times a week.