The new era of digital out-of- home: MTR and Airport Express advertising

Advertisers in Hong Kong have always been leveraging outdoor platforms, even after the challenges of last year. To better engage audiences and increase return on investment (ROI), out-of-home(OOH) advertising has evolved considerably.

While online advertising has prospered, OOH ads are increasingly indispensable, due to the keen competition for eyeball in online advertising, especially in the Hong Kong market, and can greatly enhance campaign performance. Meanwhile, by applying data to locate the right audiences, advertisers can maximise the impact of ads and ensure the right ads are displayed to the right people.

This Master Report, in collaboration with MTR* advertising, will delve into the development of MTR* digital advertising and the rapid digital evolution of the OOH industry, two factors that ensure advertisers can deliver even better, greater and more successful campaigns.

hong kong dance company digital diorama hok jan 21The new Iconic Digital are strategically located at the core areas of MTR Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui stations, together with the Digital Diorama at MTR Hong Kong Station, successfully capture maximum attention of MTR passengers.

Out-of-home (OOH) has undergone vast changes in the last decade, but it remains an irreplaceable medium that enables advertisers to reach large audiences quickly, with unmissable yet unintrusive brand advertising messages. Compared to print, mobile, or TV advertising – which is one-to-one, can be turned off, or permits consumers to move to another channel – OOH campaigns provide one-to-many audience experiences and cannot be ignored.

Despite tougher competition and a challenging media landscape, MTR* advertising continues to infuse innovation into digital media, creating a powerful tool that offers extraordinary digital out-of-home (DOOH) experiences to advertisers and passengers.

This report highlights the rapid digital evolution of the OOH industry and the development of MTR* digital advertising, which, combined with data, creativity, and technology, can enable advertisers to deliver more targeted, effective, and measurable one-to-many advertising campaigns. 

Digital is driving OOH growth
While OOH inventory is basically physical, more digital screens are crucial to the growth of OOH. DOOH allows more advertisers to benefit from each digital panel, increasing the revenue that each screen generates.

photo dynamic contentThe Tourism Authority of Thailand enhances its “Amazing Thailand” campaign with its bespoke video and the weather display content to spotlight the weather in various cities of Thailand like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Samui, Chiang Rai and Phuket.

MTR has made a substantial investment in the expansion of its network of digital screens across different MTR stations, giving MTR* advertising the largest DOOH resources in Hong Kong. The latest investment by MTR includes the newly added Concourse Digital Motion Network, Trackside Digital Motion Zones, Digital Panel Network Extension, Iconic Digital, Digital Diorama and the upgrade of the Trackside Digital Motion Network screen size to 108” LED.

A pioneer and market leader of digitalisation in Hong Kong, MTR* advertising introduced digital advertising formats in 2008. Since then, the MTR* digital advertising inventory has grown significantly, propelling the transformation to a new era.

Data has entered the DOOH
The OOH advertising industry has focused heavily on solutions to measure the results of OOH campaigns and to provide audience insights and analytics into ad engagement and conversion. Campaign or audience impressions are now measurable, and attribution is possible and precise. Marketers can acquire detailed metrics of impressions and conversions as data has enrolled this in the DOOH world, making DOOH ads a powerful tool kit for any marketer.

Measurement has come a long way in over the past 17 years, as MTR* advertising has started to build a comprehensive, gigantic data ecosystem by collecting audience attributes such as habits, behaviours, footprints, and hobbies. It can then devise an audience analytical measurement that identifies audiences by where they go in each MTR station, reveals the digital panels that the audiences would be exposed to over a defined period, and determines which screens and stations are the best places to reach them.

snow brand iconic digital cabSnow Brand showcases its creativity by social-sharing dynamic content of the “Emoji Greetings” game on the brand’sFacebook page and displaying the greetings on the Iconic Digital located at MTR Causeway Bay Station in near real-time.

Brands can now identify which attributes they should use and the number of impressions their DOOH campaign has generated, and marketers can now say with confidence how many passengers saw their ads.

With the increase in audience data that is available, MTR* advertising DOOH can precisely find out the right customers and leverage technology to deliver ads at the right moment. The 20 most popular audience attributes, such as FMCG shoppers, health conscious and home lovers, to name a few, are commonly used by advertisers lately and are readily available for advertisers to use to match with their campaigns. Tailor-made attributes will also be available to meet advertisers’ specific needs.

Digital automation helps increase ROI
While data is pivotal for measurement and accountability in DOOH, advertisers must also consider where to place their ads to have the biggest impact. To reach large yet active audiences in a flexible and efficient way based on audience and location data, MTR* advertising has proudly introduced the newly launched automated media planning and distribution platform. The Smart Digital Media Planning Platform combines audience data and technology to enable brand-safe and measurable advertising, transparently connecting brands to the target audience.

The digital automation campaign targeting Travel Loverswas launched with Japan Hokkaido Tourism Board, allowingmaximal scheduling flexibility with the right ad message, at theright timing, the right location and with the right audience.

Pictured left: The digital automation campaign targeting Travel Lovers was launched with Japan Hokkaido Tourism Board, allowing maximal scheduling flexibility with the right ad message, at the right timing, the right location and with the right audience.

To create the greatest advertising impact, it is better to have more impressions and reach as many target audiences as possible rather than simply buying more sites. The allocation engine inside the media planning platform incorporates the data to schedule and optimise campaigns. It computes a score based on audience data on each digital screen and ranks them accordingly. Then, it allocates more ads to those with higher scores, and fewer ads to those with lower scores, thus efficiently and effectively selecting the right panels and stations and allocating them to the right audiences with measurable impressions.

With the flexible scheduling display capability, the new digital media planning and distribution platform then distributes different advertising content to different panels at various times. Such integrated technology platforms can help to deliver and optimise campaigns with almost limitless creative flexibility. Advertisers can use these tools to enrich their creative strategies and create geographical context, enabling them to run ads tailored to the environment and to customise ad content for every screen.

With the rise of DOOH and launching of the new media planning and distribution platform, advertisers can now do much more with location and audience. For example, it is possible to understand, the demographics of consumers who are near a specific MTR station. Based on this data, advertisers can deliver contextual, creative, and dynamic ads that best suit the consumers’ needs at any given moment, allowing maximal flexibility and efficiency with the right message, right timing and moment, right location, and right target audience, making MTR* advertising DOOH the most powerful asset for marketers and advertisers.

Dynamic content helps DOOH ads boost effectiveness
Audience targeting and media planning are not the only ways to use advertising technology. It can also customise important, popular, and trend-setting creative context. Effective and creative context are always the king and contextual DOOH ads are more memorable, more personally relevant, and more likely to produce a positive impact on brand metrics such as awareness and consideration. With more digital screens becoming available, advertisers can create more dynamic campaigns and more personalised messaging based on consumers’ needs.

It is possible for advertisers to glean different kinds of triggers and real-time insights within a real-world context, such as weather, time, social factors, breaking news, or environmental inputs. They can then schedule and update content based on geolocations, time of day, day of week, sales, promotions, and events, to generate a more dynamic form of DOOH advertising.

Combination of new technologies and OOH makes the best of two worlds
The combination of digital advancement, technological advances, and the benefits of OOH has made the world of OOH indispensable to many marketers and advertisers. The shift toward data-driven campaigns, automated planning and distribution, and dynamic creative context has helped advertisers reach large targeted audiences quickly, with unmissable yet unintrusive brand advertising messages.

trackside digital motion zone cenThe newly upgraded Trackside Digital Motion Zones compose of 3 consecutive 108” Digital Motion screens together with the Platform Screen Door Wrap, thus creating a perfect combination of static and motion visuals, allowing a multitude of creative possibilities to ensure advertising campaigns work more effectively.


“MTR* advertising incorporates over 40 years of innovation and experience in navigating the ever-changing outdoor advertising landscape,” said Shirley Chan, managing director of JCDecaux Transport, Hong Kong and Macau. “ The demand for MTR* advertising has been growing as MTR and JCDecaux Transport have become more digitally driven. The growth is driving increased ad spending, more precise audience targeting, better measurement, and more creative content to engage consumers with DOOH. Harnessing the power of innovation and the latest technologies, MTR* advertising has become an important and must-use medium for any client’s sales and marketing plan. Therefore, we believe that integrating digital and OOH will be the next frontier, setting a new milestone for OOH,” Chan concluded.*MTR refers to Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, South Island Line, Tung Chung Line, Tseung Kwan O Line and Disneyland Resort Line.

cdmn dih citibank warrant

The first-ever dynamic content of real-time financial index was utilised by Citibank at the newly launched Concourse Digital Motion Network, providing daily warrant insight to client’s target audience.

ABOUT JCDecaux Transport
JCDecaux Transport is the main subsidiary of the JCDecaux Group, the number one outdoor advertising company worldwide. Established in 1976, JCDecaux Transport is the market leader in outdoor advertising in Hong Kong and has been managing the advertising sales concessions of MTR* and Airport Express for MTR Corporation for over 40 years. The company also operates the advertising concessions for Hong Kong International Airport, Macau International Airport, Pacific Place Passages, and Ngong Ping 360.