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The COVID Impact on OOH Ad Spend and Beyond —It’s time for new OOH Rules 

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Graphic by The Visual Capitalist


The Reality of COVID-19 Impact on Advertising Spend 

Below in italics are the sobering comments from The Visual Capitalist.

“Before the COVID-19 outbreak, global advertising investment was estimated to grow at a 7.1% clip in 2020. Now, it is estimated to see a brutal contraction of 8.1%—equating to almost $50 billion—as a result of changing consumer behavior. The total loss becomes a bleak $96.4 billion when taking pre-pandemic growth forecasts into account.” 

“As advertisers adapt to rising in-home media consumption, the tug-of-war for ad dollars between online and traditional media seems to have a decisive winner.”

The Visual Capitalist infographic and forcast is a tough picture to view.  According to their research, it took 8 years for global ad spend to fully recover following the last recession. Will it be reality? Click here—COVID-19 Impact on Advertising Spend

Out of Home must adapt and pivot NOW.

We love the optimism and cheer-leading many in the OOH Industry are clamoring for right now in hope of a rebound. Pep squad tactics and strategies are not going to do it for us. We have to stop playing it safe. It’s time to change our approach to winning this COVID induced economic crisis and once beyond, raise our goals considerably above 4 and 5% self congratulatory increases.

It is time for new rules. 

Experts and forecasters be damned. It’s up to us to effectively market and sell Out of Home. Let’s begin with igniting imagination by throwing aside the conventional rules of OOH marketing.  Let’s roll up our sleeves with new thinking and a distinct approach as the order of every day. Disrupt is not a four letter word.  OOH must disruptively “stand out” by demonstrating it makes a difference in every pitch, every proposal, every buy and in every message, whether it’s the advertiser’s or our own. 

We can no longer continue to rely on old ways of marketing OOH by going to the same well with the same water carriers. It’s time for new wells, new buckets, new bucket makers and new water carriers. 

“Could COVID-19 be accelerating the inevitable shift to (online) digital, or is the pain for traditional media only temporary?” We should not be willing to wait to find out. 

Tomorrow, OOH Today will share specific strategies and tactics in the marketing and sales space to accelerate OOH’s recovery. 

All comments in italics are from The Visual Capitalist.

Data from the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) estimating decline in ad spend by media format and industry.



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  1. Jennifer Carter says

    Great article and inspiration! As an industry, we need to make our case stronger than ever on the ROI, benefits, and growing attrition of OOH! Thanks for all you do for our field, and looking forward to reading tomorrow’s article!

  2. No Fear No Favor says

    thank you Jennifer. The #OOH Industry has a lot of work in front of it.
    Whether this crisis is Temporary/short term or permanent/long term is up to us to navigate.
    Controlling the narrative is not going to do it. Roll up the sleeves.

  3. […] a contraction of about 8%, which cancels out any growth from previous years, equivalent to a loss of roughly $50 billion due to changes in consumer […]

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