CBS Adds Mobile to Outdoor Advertising

CBS Outdoor announced that it will offer its advertisers the capability to add SMS calls to action to their outdoor campaigns.

According to the release:

The program, called txt2go, will include a text keyword on advertiser signage that the public can use to access marketing messages from the client, including special offers and promotions. The interactive feature enhances an advertiser’s ability to connect with prospects and deliver messages with more relevance and a measurable ROI, in addition to building a long-term database of interested consumers.

Last week at the Winning Media Strategies conference, Sam Matheny, GM of CBS-owned News Over Wireless, discussed how mobile calls to action are a natural extension to lots of traditional media, including out of home. This is particularly true with digital out of home outlets such as coffee shops or public transit, where there is a captive audience and a higher degree of demographic targeting possible.

Most of the discussion around mobile at WMS related to the opportunities to deliver broadcast content to the mobile device. This opportunity has lots of important implications for broadcasters and the current barriers are mostly regulatory, licensing and technological. Embedded chips are required, for example, for mobile devices to receive a radio broadcast signal.

But beyond delivering broadcast content, the mobile opportunity for broadcasters will involve more mobile tie-ins to existing advertising — akin to what CBS Outdoor is announcing. Generally, SMS can be a way for lots of traditional media (especially broadcast, print, and outdoor) to extend advertiser relationships with consumers.

This can involve promotions, games, or opt-in alerts for future events (sales, movie releases, happy hours, etc.). Not only does it give users different ways to interact with advertisers beyond the initial impression, but it does so in a more trackable way than traditionally possible with the core medium. This could resonate in the current economic environment when advertisers are more closely examining ROI.

So for broadcasters, it can be viewed in one of two ways. 1: a retention tool — a value add for advertisers to get a more measurable component to impression-based campaigns. 2: In higher value lead categories (and in better economic conditions), it can be an additional source of ad revenue that is delivered and valued on a per lead or CPA basis.

CBS Outdoor is pricing it more toward the latter option:

txt2go is a simplified process whereby an advertiser of virtually any size can add a text messaging code to his ad campaign. Designed to enhance not only the outdoor component, the text capability can exist across all of the advertisers’ media outlets — overlaying a measurable direct response element to the campaign In addition to simplifying the process, CBS Outdoor txt2go is very cost-friendly, as little as $225 for up to 500 responses. Clients will be able to see the real time performance of their campaign on the CBS Outdoor Mobile Website. It takes only a few days to have the client’s campaign up and running.

HipCricket, whose CEO Ivan Braiker presented at WMS, has been integrating mobile to broadcast ad campaigns for a few years and is well positioned for an uptick in mobile interest (see case study). NearbyNow is another example of bolting together traditional media and mobile: Readers of the shopping-centric Lucky magazine can find in-stock items through its iPhone app (powered by NearbyNow).

Expect to see many more integrations of traditional media and mobile.

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