Media Unleashed

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The Evolution of Traditional Out-of-Home

By: Dagmar McGannon    September 29, 2020

By now, we have all seen and read the myriad reports of the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on digital advertising, connected TV and streaming services, which have all seen generous increases in activity and media spend. But digital is not the only media affected by the pandemic. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, one of the oldest forms of traditional advertising has experienced dramatic changes as well.


OOH, year over year, has maintained a steady growth curve, despite the ever-changing media landscape. And digital OOH has been the key driver of that growth. But the pandemic has affected mobility and traffic patterns across the world. And, in turn, the anticipated growth and use of digital OOH has slowed.


However, experts feel that the pandemic has created an opportunity for digital OOH to grow significantly once restrictions are lifted and the economy stabilizes. They see smart displays more likely to emerge in public places where social distancing and hygiene are of utmost importance. This would include thermal detectors, automatic sanitizers and facial identity scanners across congregation points such as retail, transit, hospitality, banking and education sectors.


This is the perfect time for the OOH industry to regroup and revisit the way audiences are being targeted and measured – beyond the impression – by providing actionable audience insights using measurement technology available today. This can be done by tapping into mobile device/location-based data and integrating these learnings into OOH planning and buying. Analyzing mobile data can also provide brands with data-rich information such as brand affinity, interests, preferences, gender, commute patterns, dwell time, to name a few. It can also help OOH vendors identify locations for OOH placement and provide advertisers with the ability to retarget consumers based on mobile device IDs.


Additionally, as an increasing number of cities become “smart,” digital OOH has the potential to transform the medium into a valuable and flexible content marketing platform. Campaigns can be turned on and off, messaging can be served dynamically and within specific time frames, when consumers are out-of-home, making OOH advertising very cost-effective and measurable.