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  • Writer's pictureDoug Pittman

When Will The Out-of-Home Industry Hit a Digital Grand Slam?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

It seems as if the out-of-home industry is stuck. What began as a booming industry and remained a powerful force for decades has begun to plateau. Sometimes, industry leaders get comfortable with the status quo and lose sight of the importance of innovation. From 2008-2018, the OOH industry grew from $7B to $7.9B (according to OAAA). This is not that impressive when compared to the growth of the digital media, which increased from $23B - $85B. The good news for OOH is that there is an opportunity to evolve, but which technological advancements will shape the future of the industry?

Today, we live in a world infatuated with data. Consumer insights are become more and more valuable each day, and companies are more hesitant to invest in things that can’t provide transparent return. In an industry built around selling real estate with no concrete evidence of impressions or conversions, how will data change the way OOH companies conduct business?

The answer is data will affect the industry as a whole. Location marketing is the future of traditional advertising; not only will location data improve the measurement of media assets, but it will affect planning and buying, and the ways brands communicate with audiences. The use of geo-location data is greatly improving audience insights. Knowing where your customers are and what they like will help to personalize strategic campaigns from the buying of the media to the creative activation based on the location of the signs.

In the OOH industry, location is everything. In the past, media buyers saw ‘location’ as one-dimensional and assumed that consumers received messaging through one channel at a time. Media buyers focused on purchasing signage in areas with heavy traffic, but now we are realizing that synergies between media exist. We need to stop categorizing campaign strategies. “We should not be thinking of a ‘mobile strategy’ or an ‘OOH strategy’, but simply a ‘location strategy,’” says Jeff Tan, Vice President of Strategy at Posterscope. The same way that we have ‘video’ strategies instead of a singular-channel ‘TV’ strategy is how we should view location marketing in the OOH industry.

With different methods of reaching customers arising each day, the OOH industry must realize a few things. First, OOH companies must realize that the industry perceptions are outdated, and it’s time for new technologies to disrupt the industry in a colossal way. Second, if you can’t beat it, join it. The industry must embrace the new wave of data and digital technology in order to overcome irrelevancy. In order to stay afloat, companies must seek outsiders who know about the technological revolution and can help rebrand the industry. Expertize in analytics, attribution, and audience insights is the key to future success.

So where are we headed? Digital infrastructure will continue to overtake static media as there is more functionality and room for creativity. Location marketing is on the rise, but will still fight to grab the attention of media moguls. Geo-audience-insights will continue to develop and brands will know more and more about the consumer. Messaging will become more personalized as location marketing grows, and contextually relevant messages will attain higher retention rates and more consumer engagement.

Overall, the OOH industry must consider making changes to stay relevant. With that being said, the OOH industry is here to stay. Combining physical real estate with location-based mobile marketing is the future of advertising. Imagine a world where consumers can interact with physical media. A world where messaging is an immersive experience: users pass a billboard offering a coupon to their favorite restaurant and boom… the coupon pops up on their home screen. The creative possibilities are limitless when combining physical, digital, and mobile, so why wait? OOH is up to the plate… it’s time for a grand slam.


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