Don’t let the decline in out-of-home (OOH) ad spending in 2020 fool you. OOH is hotter than ever among B2B advertisers.
In fact, advertisers are expected to spend more than $8b on OOH advertising this year, bringing it back to pre-pandemic levels.
Jodi Senese, chief marketing officer of Outfront Media, said, “People are back out of home again in huge waves due to a combination of vaccines and pent-up energy. We are seeing an amazing rebound in all markets.”
For OOH advertising companies like Outfront Media, the return to “normal” brings a sigh of relief. According to the company, revenue declined by 32.7% in 2021.
Advertisers are excited, too.
In fact, a study found that 93% of advertisers plan to allocate 5% or more of their marketing budgets to OOH this year.
The growth of OOH is hard to ignore, but why are many B2B brands opting for it when there are so many more “future-facing” formats available?
What’s OOH Advertising?
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is any ad seen outside someone’s home. Traditional examples of OOH advertising include billboards and signage on bus shelters. With the rise of digital and programmatic technology, OOH advertising has spread its wings to include geofencing, tracking, retargeting, personalization, attribution, and measurement.
Examples of B2B OOH Advertising
MediaRadar team members spotted these B2B creatives out in the wild this week:
Zoho One provides integrated software for sales, marketing, support, accounting, operations, and HR. Zoho spends under $100 million in advertising every year across multiple formats.
Looker is a “business intelligence software and big data analytics platform that helps you explore, analyze and share real-time business analytics.” The B2B brand doesn’t have much of an advertising profile, but Google bought Looker Data Sciences earlier this year, meaning expanded marketing efforts.
WalkMe is a software-as-a-service company that helps users navigate the features of other web-based services.
Outfront Media owns OOH advertising space across the Continental US. Advertisers can choose from billboards, digital display, transit ads (like this one in a subway station,) street furniture, sporting arenas, and more.
monday.com is a team management platform that helps businesses stay organized. They offer template solutions for many use cases, including client projects, product management, sales pipeline tracking, recruiting, and many more.
Lattice is a San Fancisco -based software-as-a-service startup that facilitates performance management. Their solution aids in the process of performance reviewing, goal setting, offering feedback, 1:1 meetings, praise, and updates.
Here’s another great example of OOH advertising (not seen by our team in NYC):
The Trade Desk
The Trade Desk (TTD) tapped into OOH advertising to reach brands, media agencies, and commuters in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, and Chicago. The campaign, “What Matters,” delivered programmatic OOH ads on digital panels on bus shelters, newsstands, elevators, and lobby screens. The campaign also included connected TV (CTV), YouTube, and online video.
Why Is OOH Advertising So Hot Among B2B Brands?
All of these digital ecosystems offer incredibly powerful ads—and spending on them makes it abundantly clear that advertisers know that.
OTT ads, for example, are expected to generate nearly $10 billion in 2023 and account for 3.4% of all digital ad spending (10.2% of total video ad spending).
With all that’s available, why are B2B advertisers opting for OOH advertising?
Two primary reasons:
- The technology is improving
- Other digital ecosystems are getting crowded (and expensive)
Historically, pundits of OOH advertising cited a lack of measurement and targeting as reasons to allocate ad dollars elsewhere.
Think about it: If you through up a billboard in a popular spot in town, how would you know the right people are seeing it? More importantly, how would you know it’s working?
As OOH advertising levels up, the possibilities and impact are growing.
B2B advertising tools now focus on enabling B2B advertisers to plan and purchase out-of-home ads, build the format into their cross-channel campaigns and even place OOH ads programmatically via platforms like The Trade Desk.
OOH is also more measurable than it used to be. As Heller points out: “Using technology and data, brands can target and measure impressions; attribute online and offline activity to OOH advertising exposure; and retarget people who have seen OOH ads.”
Crowded—and expensive—digital ecosystems
No one will ever deny the impact and ROI of digital ads, B2B advertisers included. Ad spend wouldn’t be increasing if the return wasn’t there.
That popularity, however, is a double-edged sword. While digital ads work, they’re all delivered in increasingly crowded ecosystems. There are so many ads that some people actually become “blind” to them—it’s called banner blindness.
People are growing tired of ads, some of which has to do with rising ad loads.
On top of that, ads are getting expensive. That’s always been a deterring factor, but given the state of the economy and declining ad budgets, the rising costs may be hard to stomach.
These reasons will continue to push B2B advertisers toward more cost-efficient formats. OOH advertising falls into that category.
OOH Advertising Takes B2B Advertisers Back to Their Roots
“B2B marketers have never been accused of being flashy or adventurous. Most of the time, they focus on driving measurable results in the most efficient way possible,” writes James Heller at MarTechSeries. These ‘more efficient’ approaches typically include direct mail, content marketing and account-based marketing.
Heller goes on: “OOH advertising, on the other hand, has traditionally been thought of as a consumer marketing tactic. But that is changing, especially for technology companies. It’s more straightforward and measurable than ever before.”
OOH seems to be a popular option for B2B advertisers looking to think outside the box a little, and the strategy seems to work.
Nielsen found that 33 percent of a B2B audience looked up information on an advertiser after seeing an out-of-home ad. Nearly a quarter visited the advertiser’s website, and 15 percent visited the advertiser’s social media page.
So, while OOH advertising brings B2B brands somewhat back to their traditional roots, it’s also clear that it’s bringing them into the future.
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