Sep 12, 2023

The Rebirth of OOH & Billboards

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? At times some of the traditional advertising platforms looked a bit like an old dog. That does not mean they didn’t work, it meant they were being outshined by the puppies (ahem… digital platforms). From a national level there is still some work to be done, but from a Local level, some of these old dogs, especially Out of Home are starting to look like puppies again.

Why a Local Strategy Should Include Billboards 

Local strategy in digital advertising involves using data to target a specific state or city with a particular demographic or behavior. Traditional media strategies, such as radio, direct mail, local TV, and billboards, are recommended for targeting local consumers, but they are considered more of an awareness play because they reach a mass audience in a local area. However, traditional media platforms have evolved to include digital counterparts that use data and digitized formats to effectively target the local audience.

For example, radio stations now have online streaming platforms where they can gather data on listeners’ preferences and behaviors to target ads more effectively. Direct mail campaigns can use data analytics to identify specific neighborhoods or zip codes that are most likely to respond to their offers. Local TV stations can now offer targeted advertising based on viewer demographics and viewing habits. Even billboards have evolved with the use of digital technology, allowing for more dynamic and targeted messaging.

This evolution of traditional media has allowed advertisers to combine the reach and familiarity of these platforms with the precision and targeting capabilities of digital advertising. By leveraging data, advertisers can now create more personalized and relevant campaigns that resonate with their local audience.

What’s Old is New Again

Being a digitally lead agency, we still believe that digital advertising has more advantages in terms of targeting capabilities. With digital platforms, advertisers can go beyond location-based targeting and also consider factors such as interests, online behavior, and demographics to further refine their audience targeting. But, what we are excited about is testing.

There is a saying, what’s old is new again. At Cordelia Labs, our goal is to continue to explore the many new ways of buying “Traditional” Media in a Digital format. Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) is one we are seeing some significant traction. Why? Because like everything else, the Out-of-home (OOH) companies like Outfront, Lamar, JCDecaux are all buying into the growing trend of digital innovation. Buying and planning OOH is faster, more effective and lastly has better accountability. Do not get me wrong, there is still a lot of work that goes into planning and recommending an OOH Strategy. You still need to call and see what is available in a certain market and since all Billboards are not owned by the same company, you still would need to call multiple companies to get the best plan together. This still is true for DOOH, but once you have your recommendation together, the process of getting it live and the information available is much more efficient.

A Quick Lesson in OOH 

But first, maybe we need to take a quick step back and define what we are talking about when we are talking about OOH and DOOH advertising. The purest definition is that it encompasses digital and static panels carrying advertising in an outdoor (or indoor) environment. A few examples;

Typically described as eye level to the consumer and encompasses bus shelters to mall kiosks

Advertising that offers “podiums” to create memorable brand messaging and increased brand perception.

Printed vinyls that captivate commuter audiences on a regular basis. Think subways, buses, taxis, etc

Encompasses both Billboards and Street Furniture that communicates with influencers; decision-makers, trend-setters and international audiences.

The Transformation

In 2023, we are seeing this transformation, older static Billboards are being replaced with new Digital Billboards that are equipped with Bluetooth beacons to display any advertisers and track the number of impressions of humans. Some also have the ability to interact with a Brand via a touchscreen or QR code. While not all Billboards are Digital there is definitely a concerted effort to increase innovation in a space that has been a bit static (sorry.. Couldn’t resist).

Below are not only trends that we are seeing from a Digital standpoint, but other changes in this space that continue to help us to recommend OOH in all of our Local Strategies.

The OOH Trends of 2023

Digital Integration: With the increasing popularity of digital advertising, OOH advertising has incorporated more digital elements in 2023. This has included the use of digital screens, interactive displays, and augmented reality to engage and captivate audiences. As mentioned above, the use of Bluetooth devices to track, display and monitor old and new Billboards will help give a truer sense of reach in the area it is located at.

Personalization: OOH advertising has become more personalized in 2023. It is leveraging data and technology to deliver targeted messages to specific demographics or locations. This could evolve tinto dynamically being able to change ad content based on real-time information, such as weather conditions or audience demographics.

Sustainability: As environmental concerns continue to grow, OOH advertising in 2023 is likely to focus on sustainability. Advertisers may adopt eco-friendly materials and practices, such as using recycled materials for billboards or implementing energy-efficient lighting solutions. We have also seen designers use OOH material to create fashion bags or home decor – upcycling at its best.

Integration with Mobile: OOH advertising will increasingly integrate with mobile devices in 2023. With the popularity of the QR code technology, this was a no-brainer to incorporate them into street level billboards. This allows viewers to quickly access additional information, a website or discounts by scanning or tapping their smartphones.

Data-driven Insights: With the implementation of Bluetooth beacons placed within the Billboards (both static and digital) the use of data-driven insights to optimize campaigns in 2023 is on the rise. Advertisers can leverage data analytics to measure the effectiveness of their ads, understand audience behavior, and make informed decisions about if a Billboard is working for them..
Creative and Interactive Experiences: In 2023, you will continue to see unique and interactive experiences in the OOH space. This may include installations, 3D elements, or gamification to capture attention and create memorable brand interactions.

Programmatic Buying: Programmatic buying, which allows for automated ad buying and placement, will become more prevalent in OOH advertising. This technology enables advertisers to optimize their campaigns in real-time, ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness. We are seeing this more in large to mid sized cities where one company has multiple Billboards to enable the bidding of Programmatic to work its magic.

Enhanced Measurement and Analytics: OOH advertising will leverage advanced measurement and analytics tools to provide advertisers with more accurate and detailed insights. Today, being able to deliver the total amount of impressions for a Billboard is not sufficient enough for measuring media consumption. Most OOH companies are able to deliver a broader array of dimensions such as location, dwell time, media format, vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic, sign size and attention which can generate a more accurate impression number for each unique Billboard. The other metric is foot traffic. With Beacons installed, there is opportunity to measure an individual’s intent to purchase if they walk into your local store.

Overall, OOH has come a long way and is gaining momentum. Its ability to become a larger part of the overall media mix is happening with the addition of Digital and analytics. Don’t count it out.

Creating the Best Recommendation

We do not discriminate, we feel strongly that the best recommendation can also be one that is traditionally “Traditional” mixed with Digital. To create a strong Local Strategy, we need to focus on the target audience and what their media consumption is. If OOH is the right platform to truly engage with that target, then our recommendation will include OOH.

At Cordelia Labs, we’re a full service media team with a type of Media expertise. If that’s not enough, we have direct access to a full service marketing and content team (Hi Big Sea!) that can develop a creative campaign for you that will reach that target audience. Contact us today to find out how we can get your Brand into a local neighborhood.