The Rise of Outdoor


In our digitally connected 21st century world you could be forgiven for thinking that a brand must be everywhere at once – miss a customer’s moment of need and you might not get another chance. And when Messina gelato can be delivered on demand by an Uber taxi, it’s clear that the doors to the ‘experience economy’ have been flung wide open.

The word is out that Outdoor advertising works and is equipped to meet these demands. Out-of-Home’s (OOH) capacity for vision, investment and innovation that has led to its sixth straight year of consecutive revenue growth, posting a 17%* overall increase on net revenue year-on-year, taking revenue to $677.8 million in 2015, up from $579.3 million in 2014.

In this time of phenomenal media change it has been OOH’s ability to seamlessly integrate with technology that has seen more advertisers invest their marketing dollars in the channel, benefitting from the medium’s ability to engage with consumers and its growing audience reach.

Location is the new currency of marketing and that is of course OOH’s key driver. By aligning with mobile and digital technologies, OOH is able to connect advertisers with their audiences anywhere, anytime, whether via a traditional outdoor poster, a digital screen or the merging of the two throught the Internet of Things – or IoT.

Stephen Freitas, CMO of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) recently attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas where the IoT, sparked his interest.

“The IoT is at the end of the beginning. For a long time there has been speculation about how this will change daily life. Talk is cheap. Practical applications have value,” said Freitas.

And as the industry focuses more on the future of our cities and the utility of our medium, there was one standout application that might happen sooner than we think.

“Car audio systems connected to smartphones can help make cities smarter. Connected technology can tell drivers where to find an available parking spot in real time or which routes are best to take during rush hour. OOH can play a critical role in the smart city revolution by leveraging assets as technology hubs to assist in the weaving of a tech web across geographies,” continued Freitas.

At home and abroad, investment in technology continues to be a strong focus for the industry. When asked about its plans for 2016, Alan Brydon, CEO of Outsmart UK said “There will be continued investment into technology in the OOH landscape in 2016, with higher quality screens, sites and systems. This combined with continued investment in Route (the UK OOH audience measurement system) and mobile data means sophisticated campaigns can be planned efficiently and run across digital and classic formats on a local and national scale.”

The buzz around automation is one that the OMA has already committed to, announcing plans to develop an Automated Trading Platform that will provide more data to agencies and clients and make the buying of OOH easier. Similarly the UK is planning for further advancements in automated trading with “movements towards a mass-scale solution taking place throughout the year.”

So now that Outdoor is the new black, expect to see more innovation and more technology used in combination with gorgeous poster creative that will make us sit up and take notice, all in the comfort of our driverless cars…

OAAA Thought Leadership
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*Figures have been adjusted from previously reported 2014/2015 revenue to reflect changes in OMA membership, allowing direct comparisons in revenue year-on-year, as well as a minor internal adjustments (due to over-reporting in 2015 in the category of Retail/Lifestyle/Other). The historical figure for total revenue in 2014 therefore, has been adjusted down from $602.1 million to $579.3 million.

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