Why is out-of-home blowing up now?

With out-of-home one of the oldest and most enduring methods of advertising, it might seem a little strange that it’s becoming more valuable and important today. What accounts for the ongoing OOH renaissance?

There’s one main driver: out-of-home is going digital. The new capabilities and greater effectiveness of this industry refresh is driving nearly all of the growth in the space. Digital out-of-home media (DOOH) offers brighter colours, movement, and a lot more convenience. Where replacing a physical media is a time-consuming, often labour-intensive process, digital out-of-home can load many different ads – or even multiple images for a single ad – onto a system at once. It can then cycle through them at whatever frequency the owner likes.

Example: This ad for Avengers: Infinity War cycles through a number of images to heighten visual appeal.

Media buyers are quickly lining up to get in on the action. DOOH is growing at 16% year on year, lifting the entire OOH category as a result. Static out-of-home, meanwhile, has been more or less flat the past few years.

Note that it’s not just static OOH that is getting replaced and overtaken by DOOH. Privacy concerns and regulations are driving consumers and media buyers away from the online spaces that have been the dominant force in global advertising of late. Because data used in the out-of-home space is anonymized, digital out-of-home is being used as a friendlier, safer alternative for reaching masses of people with impressive, exciting visual ads. In a survey published by Marketing Sherpa in 2017, consumers rated outdoor advertising as more trustworthy than all digital advertising formats.

 

What’s next for the industry?

As the world of OOH embraces digitization, new models for transacting media are becoming more popular within the industry. Today, programmatic digital out-of-home, which automates ad transactions and delivery similar to most online advertising, is becoming more common. This means that OOH advertising is, at last, being integrated into the demand-side platforms used by digital marketers around the world. It could mean even more growth for DOOH is not far off.

More common today, but expected to be more fully leveraged in the near future, are dynamic and interactive content delivery. With dynamic content, external data like the weather, traffic, sports, and virtually anything else can be set as a trigger for content. When the conditions are met, selected content can be played on an out-of-home screen. It’s a neat touch that brings even greater impact to the world of DOOH advertising. Interactive content, of course, allows user input to manipulate or change the content on the screen by interacting either via touchscreen, mobile application, social media, or other mechanism.

Example: Clarins ran an interactive campaign at Hong Kong International Airport that offered codes for discounts and free samples to people who entered their emails or scanned a QR code on the screen.