By Scott Krantz, Founder and CEO, WOW Media
Outdoor advertising is having a moment. It’s a $29 billion dollar market, expected to reach $33 billion by 2021 according to a recent MAGNA Intelligence study – and rapidly growing in overall advertising market share as technological advancements such as real-time data and mobile integration, programmatic buying, full motion video-equipped signage, dynamic creative, and improved geo-targeting converge to give marketers more bang for their buck. As consumers become more savvy at avoiding online ads and commercials, out-of-home still remains a sure bet for advertisers.
Though it’s an exciting time in our industry, marked by rapid technological innovation and exceptional growth, signage operators must always be careful of consumer backlash. We know that not everyone loves billboards as much as we do – in fact, there are many activists and politicians who push back against the perceived “billboard blight,” and several municipalities have outlawed outdoor billboards altogether. Signs left in disrepair, or garish ads for things like lap bands and bail bonds, contribute to an overall negative view of our industry and make it harder for consumers to find value in our boards.
To combat this, it’s imperative for #OOH marketers and signage operators to think less about the bottom line and more about how to thrive as one key element within the larger community. Full motion video can be a stunning way to enhance beautification in the surrounding neighborhood and foster a greater sense of community – for instance, something as simple as showing digital or animated art when there’s an opening in inventory, or even broadcasting a live feed of the local parade or an outdoor concert to make events more accessible. Billboard owners can even partner with local schools to showcase student creations or sports highlights.
With the benefit of full-motion equipped signage, at WOW Media we work with the international creative festival Pause Fest and respected student talent showcase The Rookies to find diverse digital artists from around the world. On average we dedicate 7.5 minutes per hour to showcasing their dynamic creations across our network, effectively using the billboards as a larger-than-life digital canvas. We’ve received positive feedback from both local stakeholders and brands on this initiative, as having dedicated time for art gives something aesthetically valuable to the community and shows our commitment to quality.
George Hedon. Founder and CEO of Pause Fest, shared: “We really respect WOW’s community-focused vision – which is rare in the outdoor space – and our artists truly value the international exposure. It’s a dream come true for their work to be showcased alongside major global brands and blockbuster film promos. WOW is passionate about creativity and the moving image and that goes a long way with the community who engage with their boards every day.”
In our industry, full motion video is still in its infancy, and it offers so much potential – especially when combined with tools like real-time data integration and geo-targeting. Billboards used to be a one-way communication option, but with today’s technological advancements, we can use them to truly interact with the surrounding community in a more meaningful way. The possibilities are exciting for brands, media buyers, and signage operators alike. We can’t wait to see how our industry strengthens community engagement practices in 2019 and beyond.
Scott Krantz is the founder and CEO of WOW Media, operators of the only full motion billboard network in Los Angeles. Scott has over 20 years experience in the OOH space, previously founding Mediacom where he built a network of 500 transit shelter displays across LA, and On Campus Media which he built into the nation’s largest college television network with over 400 campuses reached.