Out-of-home advertising continues to grow hand-in-hand with technologies that provide the consumer with an interactive experience. OOH is expected to grow at a booming rate in the next years, with the global share of ad expenditures reaching 24% by 2021. We talked about OOH to experts Jill Brooks (Business Development Director, U.S. at Latcom), Vanessa Hartley (Associate Media Director, Outdoor Media Alliance, Hearts & Science), Michael Lieberman (Co-Ceo, Kinetic, North America) and Leonor Palao (Creative Brand & Advertising Leader).
Out of home advertising is one of those things that we can’t imagine ever not being in the world. Billboards and street furniture have accompanied consumers on the go for at least a couple of centuries. Today, street furniture (like bus shelters and telephone boxes), transit advertising (placed on buses and taxis, or anything that addresses travelers and commuters, and other media comprise 34% of total outdoor revenue in the U.S. Marketing “on the go” has grown more than anyone could have expected thanks to new technology and integrations with online marketing. In 2017, out-of-home advertising attracted 6% of global ad spending, and predictions indicate it will grow a yearly 4% to reach US $33 billion by 2021.
The King of Traditional Media
Moreover, digital billboards and furniture, as well as other alternative formats, have accounted for the explosion of OOH while other traditional media have continued to fall. According to Magna, DOOH already accounts for 22% of revenue in some markets like the UK and the global share is predicted to grow to 24% by 2021. Therefore, it makes sense to say that OOH is “booming”, and advertisers should seriously explore the opportunities it offers and include it in their multi-channel strategy, particularly now that emerging technologies allow consumers to interact with outside advertisements in ways that we haven’t seen before.
According to the OAAA, consumers spend 70% of their time out of home. Thus, outdoor advertising is a most convenient format, as it reaches consumers wherever they are at any moment of the day. We spoke about this to Leonor Palao, a former marketer at OppenheimerFunds. She says that the reason why OOH is growing so much is perhaps that people pay attention to well-crafted messages they see outside, as opposed to the ads they see online. “Brands are overwhelming their audience with online ads,” noted Palao. “People are becoming blind to ads on their phones and on the web. There is a lot of news about cookies and privacy, and as marketers, we have to think of smarter ways to deliver our messages so they make a greater impact.”
How Has Out of Home Advertising Evolved in the Latest Years?
Technology has allowed outdoor marketing to become digital. Digital out of home advertising, or DOOH, maximizes creativity and location possibilities. It’s not limited to roadside ads or furniture; it can be on a screen in a gym, elevator, airport, taxi, you name it. In addition, the power of online data allows marketers to tailor DOOH campaigns according to consumers’ location, time of day, weather, or other factors.
“Certainly, over the last 10 years, the proliferation of OOH formats and the overall volume and capability set of digital screens has evolved,” shared Michael Lieberman, Co-CEO, Kinetic, North America. “I am most excited about how we have evolved our understanding of OOH’s value in the media mix. Namely, our ability to measure and derive the true impact of OOH on business objectives and ROI is what will set OOH on its next phase of growth.”
In short, OOH isn’t static anymore. As Jill Brooks explained, “today OOH advertising has evolved with new dynamic digital assets. Thus, messages are more interactive and engaging for their target audience. Additionally, today’s OOH also offers new ways to measure the ROI of each campaign.” Consequently, technology is allowing brands to create more effective efforts overall. “Technology gives us better abilities to serve up unique creative based on what we know about the people who are exposed to OOH,” pointed out Leonor Palao.
How Does OOH Connect to Online Marketing?
Marketers have started to realize the possibilities of integrating digital marketing with out of home advertising. More specifically, synergies with mobile marketing favor greater engagement with brands. “Studies have shown that when someone sees a billboard they are more likely to recognize the brand and click on a mobile ad,” said Jill Brooks. “We let the target get familiar with the brand. We awaken their curiosity so that when they see it on their phone or smart device, they will want to know more.”
OOH and Mobile Working as One
“Social media and OOH also have a symbiotic relationship,” added Vanessa Hartley. “When social components are integrated with OOH campaigns, reach is amplified. Congruently, OOH is the most socially shared media format.” To that effect, Michael Lieberman pointed out that incorporating OOH into a campaign boosts pretty much any other channel. “Incorporating OOH into a campaign boosts the ROI of other channels,” he declared. “With mobile already established as the first screen for most consumer behaviors (and 5G on the way), OOH will continue to prove its value in driving mobile-based business outcomes such as downloads and m-commerce, while boosting results for related mobile activities such as search, social engagement and display/video CTR.”
When discussing her example of the ads in elevator screens, Leonor Palao also mentioned the opportunity to make synergy with the building’s wifi. “We could retarget wifi users who’d seen the ad by their IP address,” she explained. “Once familiar with their location, we hit them with a higher frequency. We hoped that the consumer would get familiar with the brand and recognize the message.”
Is OOH for Everybody? Which Categories Can Benefit the Most?
When we asked our experts about this, we received opposed opinions. Jill Brooks believes that OOH is a good idea for all categories. “As brands leave other traditional media and shift their investments to an unavoidable and measurable vehicle, OOH will inevitably play a more important role,” she told Portada.
Michael Lieberman, on the other hand, thinks that there’s one category that gets the value out of out of home advertising more than the rest. “Through OOH, entertainment really instigates behavior change,” he said. “Entertainment brands use OOH as a way to generate engagement on social media by implementing influencer strategies. Stars post photos of their OOH campaigns on their own social channels. Thus they are amplifying the reach and effectiveness of the OOH campaign.”
Finally, Leonor Palao considers that it’s not about categories, but rather about the message you are trying to deliver. “OOH exposure is a very quick lead. It needs to be a simple message,” she commented. “OOH is an excellent channel for brands that are investing in a brand campaign. Or for brands that have a continuous message that they’re trying to build among a specific audience. Depending on the message that you want to deliver, OOH should be part of your media mix but at a high level.”
What’s in Store for Out of Home Advertising?
According to the OAAA, Q4 2018 was the strongest quarter in 10 years for OOH. Strongest Quarter in 10 Years for OOH. Digitization is leading the growth for total OOH, and digital OOH represented 29% of the total in 2018. Of the top 100 OOH advertisers in 2018, one-quarter were from the technology sector. Apple assumed the top position for the first time.
As the OAAA explains, the success of OOH is largely due to innovation in technology and tools (digital units, audience measurement), plus more efficient sales and marketing efforts. OOH has also been largely immune from the decline in reach and/or consumption that affects television, print, radio and even digital display media to various degrees, especially among younger audiences. Magna forecasts steady growth through 2023.