Most retailers would never risk losing out on the sales generated by Black Friday. REI however, isn’t your average retailer. Now in its third year, REI’s #OptOutside initiative highlighted the brand’s decision to close all retail locations on Black Friday, pay their 12,000+ employees to spend time outside and encourage the rest of the country to join them in reconnecting with the outdoors.
In the past three years, REI has also increased their investment in OOH media from almost nothing to approximately 15% of their total marketing spend. Amy Ball, Senior Program Manager of Advertising and Branded Content at REI shared, “The ability to measure [OOH] has allowed us to prove to our leadership that this isn’t just upper-funnel. That it drives foot traffic and pulls people into consideration and purchase.”
For their #OptOutside digital out-of-home and mobile messaging, REI wanted to reach loyal customers and potential new customers in the Washington D.C., Denver and San Francisco markets. REI chose to work with Vistar Media and LiveRamp in order to reach these consumers.
To kick off this initiative, REI passed their first-party audience segment to LiveRamp, who anonymized the data to protect customer privacy and made it available for safe targeting. Next, Vistar used location data and proprietary geospatial technology to analyze how these consumers move throughout the physical world. Vistar then activated cross-screen DOOH and mobile media to reach the target audience in the places they were most likely to be during the course of their everyday activities.
According to Ball, "By using first-party audience targeting within DOOH, we were able to engage our qualified audience at multiple touchpoints throughout their day, with real impact.”
This first-to-market solution from Vistar and LiveRamp brought incredible value to REI through our nuanced approach. No longer were consumers only exposed to a brand’s messaging when they were in the vicinity of a store or searched specific terms online. Instead, with data-based DOOH and mobile media, consumers were exposed as they went about their daily lives, amplifying the overall impact.
“The ability to reach the right consumers at impactful moments throughout their day, regardless of channel, is the true promise of omnichannel marketing,” said Brandy O’Briant, SVP, Strategy Director at Spark Foundry. “Given the challenges facing the bricks and mortar channels in retail, a solution that allows us to target consumers, drive them to the store, and attribute their foot traffic back to a certain medium is invaluable.”
Ultimately, REI’s retail locations experienced a 3.6x lift in store visitations as a result of cross-screen messaging. Other key performance metrics, including awareness, consideration, and purchase intent also experienced a significant lift. Notably, existing customers increased their visitation by 84% after exposure to the #OptOutside messaging.
“This is a great example of identity resolution technology enabling marketers to finally deliver on an age old adage,” said Jeff Smith, CMO and GM of Brands at LiveRamp. “In this campaign, REI’s first party data provided the context to deliver the right message, and Vistar’s DOOH capabilities then helped REI deliver that message in the right place at the right time.”