Sarah Christmas, Senior Marketing Manager at ATM:ad, discusses why the ubiquitous cash machine is becoming marketers’ new best friend
Digital advertising is the future, according to recent research , which shows that digital spending will continue to grow in the next year. It is reported to be up 23.3 per cent in 2008, making up nearly 10 per cent share of all advertising spend. It is forecast to grow by a further 17.8 per cent in 2009.
However, the range of digital options available to media buyers is growing in both size and variety. These include online/mobile digital opportunities through social networking sites, rich media ads, Bluetooth and SMS, through to outdoor digital media ranging from retail store billboards and tube displays to in-taxi screens and large format posters – the list goes on.
The rapid growth in outdoor digital opportunities is clear, but the biggest challenge facing this bright new world is that it must prove its worth in terms of effectiveness to reach the desired audience.
We now find ourselves operating in a much tougher and cautious economic climate, bringing more pressure on marketers to select the most effective mediums. The days of throwing money at media and hoping that the message sticks are long gone. As consumers pull the purse strings tight, advertisers are clamouring for a share of a smaller pie.
Scattergun advertising must give way to smarter, more targeted campaigns, which cut through competing adverts, while delivering accountability through consumer engagement. Easier said than done. Or is it?
One digital medium, which is becoming increasingly popular, is the ATM. Cash machines are an essential part of most consumer’s daily lifestyle the ATM celebrated its 40th year last year and, 75% of all cash in the UK is dispensed to consumers via the ATM.
Traditionally banks have used the cash machine to promote their own offers to customers. However, unique technology now enables banks to offer third party organisations the chance to reach out to the 21 million users a week. The ATM:ad platform, provided by i-design, is currently the only technology, which supports third party advertising across ATMs.
The concept is simple but effective. As customers approach the ATM and while their transaction is in process, a digital and dynamic advertisement is shown.
This minute-long process is engaging; consumers give the screen their undivided attention, delivering a very personal one-on-one digital experience. Any branded content appears during the ATM’s “thinking” time, as the transaction is processed.
The transaction time is not lengthened by branded content and consumer feedback demonstrates that it is preferable for waiting time to be filled with something engaging and rather than a revolving egg timer.
Using ATMs as an out of home media platform ensures a unique one-on-one delivery of message, and delivers a very high level of targeting. For example, ads can easily be varied according to regionality or proximity to key locations; your message can be broadcast during specific weekly time-slots to reach people in a particular frame of mind, such as evening and weekend entertainment-seekers or weekday business people during their commute.
It would be easy to assume that because ATMs are a widespread and vital part of every-day life, they are forgotten the moment you pocket your cash. However, campaign research suggests otherwise, with unprompted post-campaign brand recall found to be 80%.
Once a record of how much money you spent at the weekend, the receipt has been transformed into a branded, take-home element of an ATM advertising campaign, It can act as bar-coded discount voucher, sampling offer, proximity prompt for high street retail or simply as a proven method of communicating additional brand messages.
Creative and tactical opportunities aside, campaign accountability are key. The unique software built into the ATM:ad media solution records how many millions of receipts have been dispensed and how many people have made a transaction and viewed your ad one-on-one. This offers a level of measurability not available through other outdoor digital media, ensures those managing brands can continually assess, adjust and develop their ATM advertising strategy.
A growing number of organisations are using ATMs as a stand-alone or integrated medium. Most recently the Central Office of Information used ATM:ad to deliver financial advice through dynamic, onscreen advertising for Directgov, the Government’s flagship digital service.
This included tax credit advice and money saving tips, at a relevant time, when customers have money matters front of mind. A printed reminder on the front of every customer receipt was added to the campaign mix, acts as a take-home reminder. The Directgov campaign ran for four weeks, delivering over five million one-to-one transactions and 1.25 million take-away receipts.
Government departments aren’t the only organisations harnessing the power of ATMs to reach the public. Mobile phone provider Orange ran a proximity campaign, showing ads on ATMs within a certain distance of retail outlets. To drive people to their nearest Orange store, a bar-coded money-off voucher was included at the bottom of every receipt.
Further still, BA, a long-term advocate of ATM advertising, use the cash machine to cover off a number of marketing objectives, including the promotion of low cost fares to European destinations.
The ATM, part of our everyday life, is already a prolific out of home digital advertising medium and promises to grow significantly by 2010, when as much as £32.9 billion will be withdrawn via the cash machine.
Delivering 100% guaranteed one-on-one engagement with such a huge audience, while ensuring complete impact accountability, it is unsurprising that the cash machine is fast becoming advertisers’ new best friend.
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