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What’s Next for OOH Advertising for the Remainder of 2021?

Predictions for the Second Half of 2021

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What’s Next for Out-of-Home (OOH) Advertising for the Remainder of 2021


by Matt O’Connor, CEO, AdQuick



It’s safe to say the past year caused an upheaval of mass proportions in the world of advertising, which has largely continued through the first half of 2021. Not only did staying at home and increased screen time create a glut of social and online impressions, but many advertisers (e.g. travel, entertainment, etc.) also throttled their ad spend. This created a market that made online acquisition a great proposition for many businesses––for a period.

Well, that period is ending, fast. Thankfully, out-of-home (OOH) advertising can fill the void––and now that most restrictions have been lifted and cities are opening up, advertisers are racing back to outdoor media. If you’re wondering how the next six months of the year may look so you can plan your advertising spend, we’ve got you covered.

Here are our predictions for the second half of 2021.

  1. OOH will be more affordable, as digital ads and TV become more expensive. 

OOH advertising has always been an accessible, high-value form of advertising, and it will only become more so in the coming months. During COVID-19, people were forced to spend their time indoors, which led to excessive screen time. As such, advertisers had ample opportunity to buy digital ads and reach consumers through social media, TV, and the internet. Fast-forward to today and there’s now a backlash to digital saturation.

Travel is also back to pre-pandemic levels. People are eager to step away from their devices and get outside, as evidenced by a widespread drop in cable news ratings (with CNN’s ratings decreasing by a whopping 45% from the same period last year). Furthermore, some predict there may be as many as 12 million cancelations of cable and satellite TV subscriptions by Q4 of 2021. At the same time, linear scatter inventory is 40% higher than usual. If you want to advertise affordably, and be where your customers actually are, the answer is outside.

Further compounding this is the fact that the national average CPM for OOH is around $4-5, and it boasts higher brand recall than any other ad type. But, why then, are only 4% of US ad dollars spent in OOH currently? This is mostly due to misconceptions, like the idea that OOH can’t be adequately measured or concerns about cost and accessibility.

These misconceptions are unfounded, and advertisers will find that modern OOH buying platforms have solved these challenges, while retaining affordability (especially in comparison to skyrocketing online ad costs). With an expected increase in digital ad spending this year of 20.4%, OOH offers advertisers a way to step away from such a crowded, expensive space and get views away from screens. As such, OOH should be a core component of every advertising budget.

  1. Media channels are undergoing major changes, making OOH a valuable, stable alternative. 

Twitter recently launched its first subscription service, and it won’t be surprising if other similar players follow suit. It’s unclear exactly how this type of move will impact availability of media buys, but it certainly will impact it. Furthermore, changes like Google’s and Apple’s privacy updates that aim to eliminate third-party cookies in advertising mean the entire digital landscape is undergoing a complete overhaul. Smaller publishers may not be able to keep up with the changes, as digital ads become less available, look different, perform differently, and continue to decrease in ROI.

This means advertisers will need a viable, valuable alternative. OOH ads won’t be impacted by social media giants moving to subscription models and ad opportunities drying up. And, of course, OOH ads aren’t dependent on cookies, so the privacy changes being rolled out don’t affect them either. While digital media channels remain in flux, OOH remains constant.

  1. A premium will be placed on flexibility in advertising, causing OOH to grow even more. 

The pandemic forced advertisers to think outside of the box, roll with the punches, and reach consumers who already had a lot on their minds. This may not have been an ideal scenario,, but it taught an important lesson: agility is invaluable. Even once life is fully back to normal, the ability to be flexible and turn on a dime will still be necessary, valuable, and expected. Luckily, this is where OOH advertising shines.

Programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising allows brands to launch national campaigns overnight and pause campaigns with the click of a button, should the need arise. Even traditional OOH media can be booked immediately and launched within a week. With consumer needs and external circumstances in constant flux, advertisers must be empowered to adapt quickly and adjust their messaging and strategies as needed. Some providers also enable flexible dayparting, granular audience targeting, and instantaneous creative swaps to further improve flexibility, resonance, and effectiveness.

  1. Measurement will be more important than ever.

As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Brands need to ensure every marketing dollar counts through always-on measurement. That said, there is a common misconception that OOH can’t be measured. But by combining mobility and exposure data with brands’ first party funnel data, advertisers can measure the impact of outdoor advertising in near-real-time. This allows teams to make informed optimizations to their campaigns, ensuring their budget is always spent as effectively as possible.

Modern OOH buying platforms provide measurement solutions that not only show significant increases in brand awareness, but also drive efficient middle and lower funnel metrics such as cost per site visit, higher engagement with digital ads, and increased conversion rate and sales.

The advertising landscape as a whole continues to shapeshift over time, but OOH advertising has proven to be tried and true. Even as digital ads are thrown into turmoil by shrinking supply, rising costs, diminishing ROI, and privacy restrictions, OOH remains a valuable way for businesses to reach buyers and grow.

So, how will you use your ad spend to get on board with OOH?

About the Author
Matthew O’Connor is the CEO and Cofounder of AdQuick.com, the first platform to allow marketers and agencies to complete the entire process of planning, buying, executing, and measuring out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns anywhere in the U.S. and across the globe.


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