A quick rundown of how out-of-home advertising will keep gaining momentum in the year ahead (and why you should care):
In spite of a past year filled with all sorts of uncertainty and unexpected headwinds, we managed to make it a full tour around the sun once again. And when that time rolls around, there’s nothing more we enjoy than taking stock of all our learnings from the year prior to prognosticate a bit about what’s to come in the 12 months ahead.
Most of these insights are based on our day-to-day observations or stem directly from ongoing conversations we have recently had with brands, agencies, and other partners. So while this year’s list of predictions is not necessarily scientific by any stretch of the imagination, we feel confident that we’ve got a pulse on what’s happening in the industry—and how out-of-home will come to the rescue.
Without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at what we feel is likely going to be “moving and shaking” in the world of out-of-home advertising in 2023.
Some top OOH advertising trends from 2022 are here to stay
Before we dive into some of the, let’s call them, new observations for the year ahead, it’s worth noting that a handful of the out-of-home predictions we made in 2022 are still going strong, if not getting stronger with each passing day.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Big advertisers are shifting budgets: As more consumers are cutting the cord and the cost of digital advertising continues to rise, many national advertisers are moving more dollars from TV and social advertising to out-of-home. Why? As we’ve mentioned many times before, OOH advertising continues to be one of the most cost-effective media channels to advertisers today. And thanks to the many innovations that have more or less revolutionalized the channel, out-of-home is now more targetable, scalable, and measurable than ever before. In other words, what was once a purely “static” media channel is now being seen (and embraced) as a performance marketing powerhouse.
- Greater attention on secondary and tertiary markets: During the pandemic, the U.S. experienced something akin to the “great migration.” Many people, now able to work from anywhere, decided to move away from the expensive big cities in favor of relocating to smaller, more affordable markets with a higher quality of life. What that means for advertisers, however, is that high-income consumers are now no longer concentrated in big metropolises. And as a result, advertisers now need to cast a wider net to reach their target consumers. The big upside here is that these secondary (i.e. Denver, Austin, Miami) and tertiary markets (i.e. Boise, Charleston, Asheville) are not as pricey as the top DMAs in the US, thereby creating even more value for advertisers.
- Measurement is still very much top-of-mind: Recent innovations in out-of-home advertising have essentially made it one of the most measurable and converting media channels within an advertiser’s modern toolkit. But as the channel’s sophistication around measurement and performance continues to evolve, advertisers are now keen to know more than just the reach, the number of impressions, or the frequency of impressions an individual OOH ad unit will get. Rather, they want to take advantage of real-time optimization to boost offline-to-online attribution and find the “sweet spot” for conversion (at the ad unit level). This is an entirely new approach to out-of-home advertising—and we couldn’t be happier to see that advertisers have finally caught on.
- More media planning, buying, and producing is moving in-house: We actually first started talking about this in 2021, but it’s a trend that hasn’t died down—even now that we’re mostly in the clear from the pandemic era. Whether as a means to cut costs, have greater control over the end-to-end advertising process, or streamline marketing operations overall, brands have invested heavily to build new knowledge and expertise internally versus doing this work via third-party agency partners. As a result, we’ve seen a greater level of sophistication, especially around media buying and planning, coming directly from in-house teams—all of which are keen to build direct relationships with media owners moving forward. And given the availability of platforms, like AdQuick’s, to manage all aspects of an OOH media buy, doing so internally has never been easier.
New OOH advertising predictions for the year ahead
The carryovers from the year or two prior have, in many ways, served as catalysts for what we see taking shape in the world of out-of-home advertising in the year ahead. Let’s take a look.
Prediction #1: Media costs will rise to combat continued inflation
If we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that “inflation” is everyone’s most hated word.
But it’s real, it’s here, and although it’s starting to taper, it’s a long way from being behind us.
This basically means that media in 2023 is simply going to cost more. And while out-of-home advertising is no exception to this rule, in this inflationary environment, it will continue to be one of the most cost-effective (and high-performing) channels for advertisers to tap into.
This is especially the case knowing that both TV will undoubtedly get priced at a premium and social advertising CPC/CPA will see digital campaigns becoming even less profitable than they are now.
So, advertisers will need to be smart with their budgets—because dollars simply won’t stretch as far as they once had a few years ago—and double down on the tactics and channels that drive value and growth.
Prediction #2: Increasing popularity of experiential activations
Even though COVID-19 is still talked about on the news a lot more than we’d like it to be, there’s an obvious desire shared by people across the company to break free from the shackles of their screens and actually experience the world again.
A key example of this is the record-breaking travel that we saw take place this past summer. After nearly two years of being stuck at home, people were—and still are—antsy to make up for the lost time.
So, why does this matter in the context of out-of-home advertising?
As more people go out and breathe fresh air, there will be myriad opportunities for them to come in contact with OOH ads of all shapes and sizes.
From billboards to wallscapes to street furniture to bus and car wraps—and the list goes on—pretty much every surface available can be transformed into an OOH ad today. Whether you feel like that’s overkill or not is beside the question. What we do know is true is that the return to real-world activities is creating fertile ground for high-impact out-of-home advertising.
Prediction #3: Social media is having one hell of a reckoning
Perhaps this goes hand-in-hand with people wanting to re-enter the real world. Or maybe it’s because too few social media players have dominated the market for too long and are simply losing their luster. But if you’ve found yourself social (media) distancing lately—see what we did there?—then you likely share the opinion that social media has hit a plateau.
Obviously, if user growth and user engagement, as we’ve seen with Facebook lately, continue to stall, the advertising dollars once coveted by the biggest social media players will have to move elsewhere. And given the prediction above, we feel as though social media’s fast-approaching moment of reckoning will be a boon for out-of-home advertising.
Now, this isn’t to suggest that people will drop social media altogether because, let’s face it, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
But the ecosystem as a whole—and the experiences it creates—must change to meet evolving customer expectations. Some of this evolution will create new long-term social media “habits” while others may simply be passing fads (looking at you, TikTok). Either way, eyeballs are shifting, and we feel they’re pointing in OOH’s direction.
Prediction #4: Google Search isn’t in the clear either
In this era that seems to be hell-bent on taking down the top dawg, it’s worth calling out that the search landscape has, too, become a battlefield of sorts. Even though Google Search still holds the biggest chunk of market share, other established and upstart players are quickly creeping in to challenge the search giant on the customer experience front.
A great example of this is Microsoft’s investment to weave OpenAI’s Chat-GPT technology to create a more conversational Bing search experience—thereby changing the traditional input-output rules of search that we’ve grown to love for years now. Unfortunately, for Microsoft that is, it’s a race to see who gets to the finish line first.
And while other players may be willing to accept temporary decreases in ad revenue to reverse the trajectory of Google’s search dominance once and for all, there’s no doubt that Google may very well respond by SEM’ing ad load, compressing impressions, and driving up SEM costs—all in an effort to prove that they’re still the best at answering people’s questions.
Similar to the other dynamics we’ve outlined above, this so-called friendly competition will simply make search ads more costly in the near term and, potentially, require some advertisers to re-think how much of their budgets should go to search ads moving forward.
This, once again, opens up a new opportunity for brands to reimagine their marketing mix and lean into high-performing channels that offer lower CPAs. Of course, out-of-home advertising only stands to win as practically the entire digital marketing ecosystem prepares itself for a solid fight.
OOH advertising is ready for the wild ride of 2023
The key takeaway here is pretty simple: Coming on the heels of one of the most turbulent financial years in recent history, it’s fairly clear that 2023 is a year that will force a lot of things, once considered to be mainstays, to change in a big way. And most likely for the better.
As inflationary headwinds continue to put pressure on both businesses and consumers—and potentially lead us straight into a period of less-than-desirable recession—habits will have to change, budgets will shift, and a new status quo (or something like it) will ultimately emerge.
From our vantage point, however, we see a huge amount of potential for the world of out-of-home advertising to thrive, grow, and innovate like never before.
After all, out-of-home advertising has proven time and time again to weather even the most challenging economic environments. And we’re confident that 2023 will be no exception to this rule.
If you haven’t experienced what out-of-home advertising can do to add a little spark to your advertising mix, schedule a demo today with our OOH experts.