By Casey Binkley
Amidst the global pandemic, out-of-home (OOH) advertising has been subject to a wide range of dynamic, culture-shifting changes that have directly impacted the way consumers think and act. With stay-at-home orders mandated by governments at the beginning of the year, travel fell to an all-time low, and the world’s busiest metropolitan areas became ghost towns. Despite such, the OOH industry has remained resilient and innovative in its efforts to connect with consumers.
According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), OOH ad revenue continued to grow in Q1 of 2020 (up 4.8 per cent) when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit countries worldwide.
Businesses had to quickly pivot their message to encompass more than just touting their product or service. They had to assure their audience they were there to help make life easier in uncertain times. With people rarely visiting city hotspots, like malls and restaurants, messages companies communicated via OOH mattered more than ever.
Some of the trends that shaped 2020 for the OOH industry and how these will continue to evolve in the coming years include:
1. Creative storytelling and personalized advertising strategies
While mass marketing is often an effective way to win business, story-driven and personalized strategies have proven to be more impactful when it comes to brand differentiation.
The human mind is accustomed to remembering stories, instead of opinions and facts. Likewise, consumers resonate with advertising messages that fit the narrative of their everyday lives. For instance, it would be difficult to convince the audience of a product’s value through generic advertisements that do not differentiate one’s business from competitors. However, if the business were to advertise its product as the solution to a problem the audience has, then it would be more likely to receive a positive response.
Especially in 2020, storytelling and personalized advertising revolved around helping consumers adjust to the new normal the pandemic brought along. Everyday activities, such as buying groceries, dining-out, and shopping, brought along novel inconveniences to consumers due to new health and safety regulations. As such, brands began to promote themselves as having their audience’s backs by making it known their products and services are online, safe, and still available.