After months of being cooped up, we are ready to be out of our homes again. With that, out-of-home (OOH) advertising seems poised to rebound.
“What we see happening in the coming months is this pent-up demand,” said CMO of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas Dan Levi. “We’re all going insane and we want to go out, so we expect that as restrictions are relieved a bit we expect to see people leaving their homes pretty aggressively.”
With more people traveling by car, OOH advertisers are starting to prepare for a season of recovery.
But what does bouncing back from a pandemic look like for OOH advertising?
Here we investigate how the crisis impacted OOH advertisers and what the path moving forward may look like. Hint: geo-targeted ads will be even more essential than before.
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The State of Out-Of-Home Advertising
Shelter-in-place orders were not good news for those in OOH advertising.
OOH advertising stocks dropped significantly with everybody in their home. Outfront Media, an OOH advertiser, saw its stock decline by 64% since late February. Clear Channel’s stock value fell to $.45, the first time it has been under a dollar in its history.
While many brands paused their placements, others changed their media to be used as sponsored public health announcements. Blank billboards could be found in Shibuya Crossing (Tokyo’s equivalent of Times Square).
Despite the shock to the industry, an analysis conducted by Technavio, suggests that the OOH market will experience recovery and incremental growth over the next few years post-COVID. The study emphasizes the fact that this market is segmented and vendors should focus on growth of the fast-growing segments.
What about where OOH and programmatic converge?
In April, we saw 8% fewer advertisers using programmatic advertising MoM.
The hardest-hit industries in terms of programmatic spending include:
- Travel (-79% MoM)
- Automotive (-40% MoM)
- Events (-34% MoM)
The industries that saw the largest MoM increases in terms of programmatic spending include:
- Education & Training
- Toiletries & Cosmetics
All of these categories were up more than 35%.
Moving Forward: The Importance of Geo-Targeted OOH Ads
Programmatic billboards and street level, smart screen displays placed on top of ride-sharing cars will become critical in the recovery process because placements are flexible and location-based.
There are still many unknowns when it comes to a recovery process after this crisis — and much of it is regional. Geo-targeting will allow advertisers to place the right ads, in the right space, at the right time.
Fortunately, OOH advertisers were already pushing for this technology. Just before the COVID crisis hit, Uber was set to launch its own OOH program. Digital ad displays will be placed on top of cars. The ads will be sold based on location and time of day.
Uber is not the first company to do this. Firefly is already in this space. The company places digital ads based on location-based, WiFi-enabled triggers on top of Ubers and cabs.
During the pandemic, Firefly partnered with drivers to ensure they are safe in their jobs. It equipped cars with a protective film to separate drivers and passengers. They also donated ad space for PSAs. As normal activity increases, ads will begin to change.
This type of programmatic OOH advertising is going to be critical in the oncoming months as advertisers will have to be flexible.
“Hyperlocal data will help brands understand how audience journeys are shifting as the country reopens at different paces,” explains CEO at Posterscope USA Christian Vollerslev. “And it will inform how to best use different OOH formats to reach those audiences along the way.”
As we enter recovery, it will be essential for OOH advertisers to use programmatic because we don’t really know what’s going to happen. With programmatic OOH, advertisers can be agile and hyper-localized.
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