“In general, the old barriers to OOH advertising are coming down,” said Connor Burden, Co-Founder of OOH marketplace AdQuick. “With the timelessness of OOH advertising, we knew the pandemic wouldn’t last forever and people would be roaming cities again soon.”

The digital transformation that is making out of home (OOH)  advertising programmatic, data-driven and more integrated into omnichannel campaigns is paying off for marketers and publishers. Now that these capabilities are available, marketers have new tools to drive outcomes with OOH media.

With public spaces now more open, and with better capabilities for advertisers to leverage OOH moving forward, the OOH ad industry is seeing a boom with no signs of letting up next year.

According to a new study conducted by research firm Advertiser Perceptions, and sponsored by programmatic media company Xaxis, two thirds of media decision makers activated new digital out of home (DOOH) campaigns in the last 18 months, and 81% of advertisers will recommend DOOH in their plans in the next 12 months.

The industry is rebounding strongly from a year of shutdowns in 2020 and early 2021, when many publishers and their digital partners implemented sweeping updates to how inventory is purchased and results are measured for advertisers.

Barry Frey, President and CEO for the DPAA, a global trade association for OOH, said that during the pandemic, the industry was “connecting the pipes.”

In-person and resilient

As the world opens up and more consumers go back to normal outside activities, advertisers are adjusting their game plan to take advantage of the evolving DOOH landscape. This was the mood at the DPA Summit in October, which was held in-person at New York’s Chelsea Piers this year, but went virtual last year.

“This year’s Summit theme of ‘Resilience, Reinvention and Revitalization’… which was what OOH experienced during the pandemic, was fully realized, full throttle at the Summit with an energetic, engaging, ebullient turnout of over 650 media and advertising decision makers,” said Frey. “The re-broadcast and additional footage later in the week reached an additional 580 visitors online.”

At the event, Frey, as the industry’s passionate spokesperson, even displayed a video of himself illustrating the three “R’s” while “refrigerator surfing” in three feet of water in his basement during Hurricane Ida. The message: resilience and transformation in the industry will guard against unseen challenges in the road ahead.

Brands are testing and learning

At the Summit, big brands were talking about their own digital journeys and the role OOH played in their recalculations during the pandemic.

“The world is brighter now,” said Shenan Reed, Senior Vice President Media at L’Oreal. “It’s an ‘Aha moment’ after we’ve been in this box, lifting our heads from our devices. There isn’t a single medium we’ve gotten rid of. Everything has stayed but gotten more complicated. By my math there are something like 73,000 permutations of media, and it makes our jobs more like data analysts than media strategists and planners.”

She added that the biggest challenge to cross-channel campaigns is getting all the data in one place. But, she also said that contextual ads work in channels like OOH.

“We’re looking to test and learn, and turn this into new KPIs,” Reed said. “We want to buy ads that elevate the consumer experience. We look at ad clutter, and in OOH there is an opportunity to stand out and be seen. New ad solutions provide an elevated experience on behalf of the consumer.”

Connecting the pipes

Brands can test more and incorporate OOH into an omnichannel campaign because of changes that are bringing more inventory into programmatic deals.

OOH marketplace AdQuick, for instance, recently teamed up with VIOOH, a digital marketplace on the supply side. The result is programmatic access to more premium DOOH inventory, including digital billboards and street furniture through JCDecaux North America.

“Never once did we expect that the OOH industry would take the turn that it did in 2020. The pandemic had a significant impact on the industry,” said AdQuick’s Connor Burden. “We responded by diving into the data to ensure our customers’ campaigns were strategically sound and effective.”  

He added, “By using data from our partners that monitor physical movement, as well as our network of media owners with local knowledge, we were able to see where consumers were currently on the ground at that time –– and recommend the OOH media strategies most likely to reach the right consumers.”

Even during the most challenging times for their industry, OOH stepped up to use their inventory for good. AdQuick helped Weiden + Kennedy, Ro, and Quan Media put together a public safety campaign promoting social distancing, called “Stay apart. Together.”

AdQuick also recently partnered with shopper intelligence company Catalina, which “helps close the loop between out-of-home media buys and in-store consumer purchasing behavior,” said Kate Goldvasser, AdQuick’s Head of Programmatic.

The ability to measure lift using OOH media is especially helpful for CPG brands that do a lot of top-of-funnel awareness, but also need to connect the dots with purchase data.

“Advertisers no longer have to rely on store visitation as a proxy for sales –– they can now leverage robust OOH ad targeting and sales lift measurement insights based on actual, in-store product purchases,” said Goldvasser.

Read next: Marketers take advantage of out-of-home as people get back outdoors.

About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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