Top 5 out-of-home advertising trends

The static billboards of the past are increasingly being replaced by dynamic digital signs that update in real time and are activated by mobile devices or connected cars, pointing to how the integration of digital technology with out-of-home (OOH) advertising unlocks interesting opportunities for marketers.

Delta Airlines and Equinox Fitness showcased how digital is changing billboard advertising with a campaign this summer that used real-time flight data to encourage international travelers arriving at Los Angeles International Airport to “sweat away” their jet lag. Dynamic opportunities like this are helping drive channel growth, as OOH ad spend rose 1.2% last year compared to 2016, accounting for $7.7 billion, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). By 2021, a MAGNA Intelligence study predicts OOH spend will reach $33 billion.

Other changes are also evident as OOH advertising evolves. Trade organization Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, which has audited the circulation of OOH media in the U.S. since 1933, changed its name to Geopath in 2016 and is now embracing data, technology and media research to measure and analyze how consumers engage with OOH ads. In an interview with Marketing Dive, Geopath CEO Kym Frank discussed some of the changes taking place in the space and highlighted key trends impacting marketers.

Dynamic creative and custom triggers

While printed signs still dominate, digital OOH inventory is taking new shape and presenting advertisers with the potential to deliver more dynamic creative and custom triggers. Jukeboxes in bars, large format digital signs lining highways, digital bus shelters and signage in malls and restaurants across America are spurring marketers to experiment with the channel. In the past, such deployments were often considered experimental or a one-off test, but nowadays dynamic creative in OOH is becoming more scalable, Frank said.

For instance, advertisers can now change the creative based on the speed of traffic going past a digital billboard. If traffic is flowing at 60 miles an hour, drivers may only have time to read 10 words or so on a billboard. But if traffic is congested or at a standstill, drivers may be able to read up to 150 words. Messaging and creative can be instantly adjusted to match these conditions and better capture consumers’ attention.

“Digital is allowing advertisers to be more reactive and serve dynamic creative often based on custom triggers,” Frank said.

Integration of mobile into OOH

Advertisers can also dynamically trigger ads based on the types of mobile devices near the OOH channel, meaning an iPhone owner might see a different ad than an Android user. Advertisers are also geofencing their digital billboards so after drivers who have seen the ad leave the area, they can be retargeted with a personalized ad on their mobile device. For example, if searches for flu medication are peaking in the area, a billboard ad for a pharmacy might adjust the creative to promote certain products at the pharmacy and then the retailer can send passersby an offer.

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