OOH trends for 2018

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A good year for out-of-home advertising

2017 was a good year for out-of-home advertising (OOH): the popularity of OOH has grown, whilst other formats have floundered.

And innovations in the way OOH is done have resulted in a diversity of outdoor ads.

We’ve seen state of the art technology creatively used to deliver integrated campaigns like Cancer Research’s Race for Life campaign and National Geographic’s #SaveTogether campaign.

Digital out-of-home advertising has grown as a proportion of all OOH spending, reflecting the new possibilities for brands to make an impact. And all this despite uncertain economic conditions.

We’ve also witnessed the growing integration of mobile and OOH.

OOH trends for 2018

As 2017 draws to a close we look forward to what the next year will bring, with our look on predicted top trends in out-of-home advertising for 2018.

OOH spending will increase

OOH ad spending is going to increase in 2018, by around 4% according to Magna Global. This will be driven in part by flagship events like the winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, but also it is part of a dawning realisation among many that out-of-home is a growth sector with plenty of room for innovation.

The tech sector will move into out-of-home

Tech companies look set to invest significantly in out-of-home advertising in 2018. Next year tech companies will represent 25% of the top 100 spenders on OOH.

This fits with what we’ve already seen taking place in 2017; tech giants like Twitter, Snapchat and Apple moving in to out of home.

It might, at first, seem strange for a predominantly internet-focused sector to stray so far from the computer screen: part of the allure for these companies is that the online and offline worlds, or Digital-out-of-home (DOOH) and mobile, have begun to merge.

Merging OOH and mobile

This convergence between Mobile and OOH forms another big part of OOH trends for 2018. OOH ads are capable of driving more online activity per ad spend than any other offline medium, according to a Nielsen report.

OOH has already been effective at generating significant social media activity. Mobile technology, like Near Field Communication (NFC), QR readers, and indeed Augmented Reality features, are making the links between OOH and mobile even stronger.

Increased measurement of OOH performance

One of the drawbacks of OOH has been the lack of easily measurable data to whet the appetite of ad buyers. But next year will see advances continue in the development of tangible OOH metrics. For example, mobile location data can be used to link out-of-home billboard campaigns to in-store sales.

One of the appeals of online advertising is that it is much easier to get usable data on ad efficacy. This more than likely goes a long way to explaining why OOH has accounted for less than 5% of total ad spend for over 30 years now. It’s been the channels offering quantifiable data that have attracted the big bucks.

But it looks highly likely that 2018 will begin to change this dynamic.

With advertisers able to retrieve data concerning which OOH ads smartphone users are looking at, it becomes easier to target those audiences with appropriate mobile messages.

More data driven messaging

OOH can also be bolstered by data from the digital world. A recent campaign by Guinness drew on data from social media sites like Twitter and Instagram to serve their ads to audiences in locations where online data suggested there was a high density of people with an interest in sports, pubs and Guinness.

OOH in 2018 will see much more of these sort of dynamic, targeted campaigns, thanks, in no small part, to the rise of digital-out-of-home which allows for ad delivery by time of day and pretty much at the push of a button.

Better access to OOH for small businesses in 2018

It’s remarkable how bigger brands have dominated OOH for so long, but in 2018 this could well change. This is due, in part, to hugely reduced costs over the last few years, and also because it has become easier for small businesses to book OOH ads through automated online platforms.

The majority of online ad booking is automated; the technology exists, so it makes sense for the OOH sector to make the most of it.

Companies like Bubble have been leading this revolution in the industry thanks to an increasing trend towards making the ad booking process automated. Not only will OOH look like an attractive prospect for small businesses, but also media sellers will be looking forward to a broadening client base.

In 2018 it will become even easier for small companies to book ads in targeted locations and only deliver ads for as long as their budgets allow. This will make OOH a much more attractive proposition in the year ahead.

A more immersive OOH experience in 2018

2017 has already seen brands like Ribena adopt augmented reality (AR) and incorporate them into their OOH ads (see our review of their Doodle Your World campaign for more on this).

Indeed, the race is on to use augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) to enhance the consumer experience, with brands like Adobe and Ikea experimenting with using AR and VR tech – it all appears to be on the brink of going mainstream.

The aforementioned Swedish furniture company has launched an AR app, which allows consumers to see what an item of furniture would look like in their home before they buy it.

We can expect to see much more of these innovations in OOH next year.

Laptop with text reading This Is Your Year

These are just some of the key OOH trends that look set to shape the out-of-home landscape in 2018. But this is a medium that is always full of surprises; changes to the way OOH is executed and even conceptualised have never been so far-reaching. Whatever 2018 brings, this is the year to develop a solid out-of-home strategy for your brand. Whether you are a startup or small or medium business, you could just be the next out-of-home success story.


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