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New study explores link between OOH spend and ecommerce sales

GroupM OOH and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), in partnership with media owners Clear Channel, JCDecaux and Global, have published a major research project providing the first detailed analysis of the impact of Out of Home (OOH) advertising on ecommerce sales in the UK.

The research, which is tailored for retail and FMCG brands, reveals that for every £3 spent in-store due to OOH exposure, £2 is spent online.

With over 60% of all online spend made while out and about, researchers set out to develop a new methodology to effectively measure OOH advertising’s impact on driving online sales.

Tom Jameson, part of the team who carried out the research at GroupM OOH said: “This research is a perfect example of how GroupM OOH is continually looking for new ways to demonstrate the value of Out of Home advertising to our clients.

“Existing OOH measurement is robust, but has historically only looked at in-store sales. At its simplest level this means taking product level sales data; data on which store sales are made, aggregated to a postcode level; then overlaying our own geolocation data about where the audience is located. We then match test and control stores on retailer, region and base sales to ensure any sales uplift is driven by exposure to OOH.”

However, this methodology cannot be applied to online sales where retailers often aggregate product data and deliver from centralised warehouses.

To bridge this gap, researchers collected a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults. Those with a smartphone or tablet completed an online survey to collect data on the spending habits for both in-store and online purchases across a range of FMCG categories. Using this data on purchasing habits, an online sales multiplier was created, predicting the additional online sales made when in-store sales are known.

The results revealed an online sales multiplier of 1.7, meaning for every £3 spent in-store due to OOH, £2 is spent online. Cosmetics (1.83), personal care (1.75), health and wellbeing (1.76), and clothes categories (1.76) had the highest online multiplier. Younger audiences had a higher online multiplier, averaging 1.81 among 18–34-year-olds compared to 1.66 for those over 35.

“Online sales make up over 40% of FMCG spend. We know that OOH drives ecommerce, so only reporting in-store sales is underestimating the true return of OOH.” Jameson continued. “However we wanted to go beyond simply illustrating OOH’s effectiveness. For retail and FMCG brands, this research highlights how understanding your category’s multiplier can help shape your marketing strategy, enabling you to optimise OOH environments and creative messaging to boost sales, whether that’s through clicks or in bricks and mortar stores.”

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