The OOH industry experienced massive growth globally in 2019. Programmatic OOH made its debut with huge promise, and traditional OOH media owners started adopting new digital media form factors. Then the pandemic hit, sending the industry along with countless other industries into a quick dive. The industry that had huge potential of reinventing itself in 2020 was soon derailed from that mission.
The threat of COVID-19 and lockdowns
With lockdowns being enforced globally, consumers were not allowed to go out except to purchase essential items or in case of emergencies. People started adapting to the new normal which mainly revolved around home based working, entertainment and activities. OOH media locations at public spaces saw a major drop in footfall traffic which saw over 50% of media spend being pulled instantly across APAC.
The UK for example saw a steep drop in sales and as a result 47% of display ads had been cancelled, paused or pulled.
So what’s next?
After governments started to introduce a phase-based approach to reopening economies, the world has started moving around again and OOH media has started seeing some improvements, although it’s yet to regain its pre-COVID position.
Some of the world’s largest brands have been affected, and so most advertisers are now pulling back on media spend until they can determine how they can get the best ROI. Key questions remain in their minds, ‘How can I reach my right audience?’ and ‘How can I get the highest possible ROI?’. Proving the value of media through data and measurements will be the key for OOH media re-adoption.
We know that OOH is here to stay but brands, advertisers and agencies are now forced to take a data-driven approach to optimize their spend. The technologies are out there, time will tell.