Clear Channel’s NFC rollout is a positive step, but problems still remain

Clear Channel have recently announced the roll-out of NFC globally through their ‘Connect’ platform. In total, 75,000 poster sites will be NFC enabled across 23 countries. The UK is already home to some 20,000+ NFC sites and this latest announcement shows that Clear Channel view NFC as more than just a fad, as they look to embrace technology to enhance consumer experience in the Out-of-Home space.

It’s interesting to see such a large development take place as we’ve yet to see a truly national campaign delivering ‘game changer’ results in the UK. However, it’s a rock and a hard place. Without the infrastructure in place, you can never hope to achieve national goals. Clear Channel should therefore be commended for investing and trying to drive the consumer adoption of this technology amongst consumers and brands.

Our greatest concern is not the infrastructure though – that will come (as shown by this announcement). Instead our concern lies within its activation.

The moment a consumer engages with NFC and has a bad experience, they are unlikely to trial NFC again. So far, the vast majority of 6 sheet enabled NFC panels do not deliver relevant content in regards to the poster it sits with. Instead, unrelated content is delivered, albeit potentially useful data such as a bus timetable. A consumer interacts with an expectation in mind, an expectation that the poster they view and tap will deliver more of the same.The very point of NFC is to break down barriers, deliver content without delay and meet consumer expectation. This is not a criticism of Clear Channel, but of the industry as a whole.

This announcement is a hugely positive step for the technology itself, but until we as an industry activate the technology effectively, it will fail to ever reach its potential.

This piece was written by, and expresses the view of, our newly appointed Head of Innovation & Emerging Media, Craig Barber.

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