The Future of OOH Marketplace

By Phil Lewicki, Media Planner / Buyer


The Future of OOH Marketplace


Even as our world continues to evolve and become increasingly digital, traditional media tactics remain an important part of a comprehensive media plan. Several studies have shown that a consumer is at least 40 percent more likely to engage with a digital ad after being exposed to an out-of-home placement first. Further, a study by the Peter J. Solomon Company demonstrated that overall ad effectiveness and ad recall for outdoor advertising topped all other media tactics. 


Out-of-home advertising has continued to increase its market share over the past several years, becoming one of the only traditional media tactics to grow in that time period. As technology and digital advertising tactics continue to evolve, new capabilities emerging in the sector have allowed OOH to keep up.


Data-Based Targeting

Data has continued to gain relevance for advertisers because of the targeting capabilities it unlocks. In the traditional media space, planners can apply relevant trends and audience targeting to increase relevance of messages. From where your target audience lives or works, we can target consumers with the right message in geographic areas, which is a key component to any successful campaign. 


Attribution & Digital Extensions

A key priority for every successful media plan is the ability to attribute results to a specific media channel to evaluate success. Typically, this is easier said than done for many traditional media tactics like radio, television and print. However, as attribution continues to evolve in the digital space, outdoor companies are growing more robust in their attribution models through specific geofencing capabilities and device ID capture. This is particularly useful for many retail and Quick Service Retail (QSR) clients that are relying on driving actual foot traffic to their brick and mortar locations. 


As these capabilities continue to advance, digital advertising campaigns can be layered on top of traditional out-of-home buys to lead to higher overall conversions. The application of cone-shaped geo-fences around both digital and vinyl billboard locations allow vendors to gather data on consumers who have been exposed to the out-of-home placement and help push them down-funnel by serving ads programmatically to exposed device IDs. For example, a high-end fashion client used location-based geo-targeting tied into an out-of-home campaign and saw a 100% increase in CTR versus an average campaign CTR. The campaign also saw the shortest time to convert when compared to all retargeting efforts. 


AR, VR, Facial Recognition & More

Technology continues to evolve and new applications are hitting the market constantly. Augmented reality, virtual reality and facial recognition are seeing application in the world of out-of-home advertising. Based on campaign goals, the application can be different from brand to brand, but it is important that advertisers continue to think about these new technologies when building traditional outdoor campaigns. 


Digital poster inventory in airports, malls and other areas could display a personalized message based on facial recognition of consumers who are in close proximity to displays. Advertisers should consider how an outdoor campaign could directly integrate with social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram through various facial recognition filters. In addition, video or audio messages can be delivered with personal interaction with posters, wallscapes and more. 


GMC was one of the first advertisers to effectively use facial recognition to create an interactive campaign around its Acadia SUV. They used digital bulletins in an outdoor mall setting by setting up a camera to detect audience demographics (age, gender, etc.) and using AI to display one of the more than 30 prepackaged videos depending on the person who was walking by the displays. This led to a high engagement rate for the client and deepened overall brand recognition. 


Real-Time Data

Integrating real-time data streams in digital outdoor campaigns is quickly becoming a hot trend with various applications. Providing real-time directions and traffic information to a client’s retail location or point of interest via an integrated feed could help persuade potential customers to stop on their way home. Live sports scores displayed on a digital billboard can help drive radio listeners or television viewers for a specific game. 


United Airlines was able to use real-time traffic information to push New Yorkers to consider Newark as the most convenient airport for everyday travel with their 2019 campaign


Unique Placements & Beyond the Board

One of the most critical elements of any outdoor campaign is to stand out with engaging creative that cuts through the clutter. Advertisers need to consider breaking the mold of traditional billboard campaigns and choose placements that help drive their clients’ creative execution.  


Beyond flashy extensions, multiple board productions and 3D printing, our goal must be to produce a placement so unique and dynamic that it will garner earned media coverage by news outlets and, most important, organically by consumers on social media platforms. This can be particularly important for times where traffic volume decreases. For example, during the COVID-19 restrictions, traffic around the world has decreased as consumers are forced to stay at home. This doesn’t mean that brands should forgo buying any outdoor media. Several brands are still using out-of-home to deliver uplifting messages and extending the reach of these placements on their owned channels. Atlanta United launched a “United We Conquer” campaign to help give back to the community during these unprecedented times. As part of this announcement, they placed digital billboards in close proximity to thank those on the front lines. The billboard locations were secured close to hospitals and grocery stores to thank partners in the community. The overall reach was amplified by Atlanta United-owned channels and earned local media. 


Evolving with Technology

As with everything in life, innovation and evolution leads to progress. The world of out-of-home advertising is always going to be important. People must leave their homes to go to work, purchase essential goods, and more. However, in an ever-changing world where technology continues to get more advanced, we must look to evolve and reimagine our tactics to reach the right person with the right message at the right time.