Out-of-home advertising: Trends that shaped this segment in 2020

22 January 2021

By analyzing data from movement patterns to purchasing history, advertisers can tailor their ads according to specific audience profiles across varied locations.[1]

By analyzing data from movement patterns to purchasing history, advertisers can tailor their ads according to specific audience profiles across varied locations.

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.

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Consumers resonate with advertising messages that fit the narrative  of their everyday lives.[2]

Consumers resonate with advertising messages that fit the narrative of their everyday lives.

2. Increased hyper-targeted reach and profitability

In the past, OOH relied on advertising to a broad audience as a means to get their message out to specific demographics. Over time, this ‘fishing’ approach proved to be inefficient and ultimately limited campaign reach. In 2020, with growingly accessibility in data-led planning, more advertisers were able to realize real and measurable outcomes through targeted campaigns.
Increasingly, OOH advertisements—especially digital—can be equipped with beacon technology. By analyzing data from movement patterns to purchasing history, advertisers can tailor their ads according to specific audience profiles across varied locations. As a result, the chances of an outdoor ad getting noticed by targeted audiences significantly increases. Additionally, targeted campaigns not only increase campaign return on investment (ROI), but also reduce media spend wastage.
For example, Adshel, an outdoor beacon advertising company belonging to Clear Channel Outdoor, was an early adopter of this technology. Since its launch, Adshel has integrated more than 3000 beacons across its OOH advertising network—allowing brands to deliver geo-targeted and contextually relevant messages to consumers.

3. Growing ubiquity and profitability of DOOH

Digital media is nothing new to the OOH industry. Nowadays, one can visit their nearby urban centre to notice digital signage. However, because it is a costly proposition to replace thousands of OOH inventory with digitized versions, digital out-of-home (DOOH) had yet to completely dominate the market until recent years. For instance, despite being the main driver of growth in OOH advertising worldwide in 2019, DOOH only accounted for 28.3 per cent of all OOH ads that year.
According to the International Market Analysis Research and Consulting (IMARC) Group, global DOOH is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8 per cent in the next five years. This is largely due to the fact that, as more of the world’s population migrates to live in urban areas, the battle for ad space in these crowded cities will become more intense. At the same time, new studies indicate DOOH delivers ‘strongly’ against its premium price point.
According to a study conducted by Talon and Benchmarketing of 112 brands over five years, OOH campaigns that integrated DOOH generated an incremental return of approximately C$0.46 for every C$1 spent. This means, if a campaign increased its digital share of OOH budget from 60 to 70 per cent, the advertiser would expect a 22 per cent increase in profit.
In the coming years, it looks like advertisers can be much braver when it comes to using high-impact digital media as a part of their OOH campaign.

Digital media is nothing new to the OOH industry. Nowadays, one can visit their nearby urban centre to notice digital signage.[3]

Digital media is nothing new to the OOH industry. Nowadays, one can visit their nearby urban centre to notice digital signage.

4. Further development of programmatic DOOH

Programmatic DOOH refers to the automated buying, selling, and delivery of OOH ads. Programmatic first made its debut in DOOH in 2018 when John Lewis & Partners launched a campaign for home improvement service Home Solutions. After failing to meet expectations throughout 2019, the much anticipated technology finally made its mark in 2020.
For the first time, advertisers could bid for an audience on the marketplace in real-time and get their message across to consumers at the right time and place.
Leading the programmatic wave were some of OOH’s biggest players, including JCDecaux, Kinetic, and Posterscope. Partnering with Adsquare, a mobile-first data exchange, the OOH giants were able to leverage major data management platforms (DMPs) and optimize digital ads according to audience insights.
For example, they provided in-depth data on demographics, consumer behaviour, weather, and time of day so a local restaurant chain could rotate its different morning, afternoon, or evening display menu options.
Further, in one study, 63 per cent of media planners said they would be more likely to recommend DOOH when it is available to buy programmatically. [4]
As digital ad inventory continues to expand for the industry, media buyers will want and need to harness the power of the superior technology of programmatic DOOH.

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While mass marketing is often an effective way to win business, story-driven and personalized marketing strategies have proven to be more impactful when it comes to brand differentiation.[5]

While mass marketing is often an effective way to win business, story-driven and personalized marketing strategies have proven to be more impactful when it comes to brand differentiation.

5. Integration of OOH into omnichannel marketing campaigns

According to OAAA, when incorporated into a broad media mix, OOH improves the overall campaign revenue ROI. It has also been found to increase the effectiveness of digital search by more than 40 per cent and print by more than 14 per cent. Likewise, when OOH is integrated with an online campaign, consumers are 50 per cent more likely to engage with the mobile ad.
As mentioned earlier, most OOH platforms can be equipped with beacon technology that provides real-time impression analytics. This technology can also help brands re-target consumers on their mobile devices via social media or digital ads using mobile extension programs, such as geo-fencing. Geo-fencing is the use of global positioning system (GPS) or radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area. The technology, however, is not exclusive to static OOH displays.

Conclusion

With enhanced data availability, better attribution of success, and improved buying capabilities, OOH has never looked more enticing for advertisers. While the latest advancements in technology have dwarfed other traditional media like TV and print, OOH is proving it can grow with newer technology and emerge stronger than ever before.

Casey Binkley is a serial entrepreneur having built a global CPG company distributing in more than 1400 retail locations across 45 countries. He moved into the out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry after seeing an opportunity to provide accountability and transparency between advertisers and OOH ad networks. For more information, visit www.movia.media[6].

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: https://www.signmedia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/bigstock-Toronto-Canada-September-379696207.jpg
  2. [Image]: https://www.signmedia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/bigstock-Montreal-Canada-May-197050126.jpg
  3. [Image]: https://www.signmedia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2.jpg
  4. 63 per cent of media planners said they would be more likely to recommend DOOH when it is available to buy programmatically. : https://www.dailydooh.com/archives/135984
  5. [Image]: https://www.signmedia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/bigstock-great-view-of-Toronto-downtow-120537020.jpg
  6. www.movia.media: http://www.movia.media
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