Top Five Out-of-Home Advertising Post-COVID Pricing Trends

At its core, AdQuick is a technology company. Our marketplace facilitates OOH buys with over 1400 media owners. This gives us a unique perspective into OOH deal-making. Here are some of the most interesting pricing trends we’ve seen unfolding over the past few years.

Top Five Out-of-Home Advertising Post-COVID Pricing Trends

At AdQuick, we wear a lot of hats.  Our team of out-of-home (OOH) experts provides strategic OOH planning services, award-winning creative services, unparalleled OOH measurement & analytical services, and more.  But at our core, we’re a technology company. Our marketplace facilitates OOH media buys with over 1400 OOH media owners.  

This gives us a unique perspective: we witness thousands of OOH media transactions, and we’re well-positioned to uncover broad trends in OOH deal-making.  

So today, we’re giving you a sneak-peek into some of the most interesting pricing trends we’ve seen unfolding over the past couple of years.  Let’s dive in…

1) During the first 12 months of the pandemic, static billboard prices dropped by an average of 40% across the top 10 markets.

We recently analyzed year-over-year (YOY) billboard pricing data from February 2020 (i.e., immediately before the pandemic really took hold in the US) to February 2021, and we found that the drop in rates was relatively consistent across the top 10 DMA.  Static billboard rates in the major markets dropped by around 40% during the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Atlanta experienced the most modest rate decline (at a mere 24%), while Chicago rates dropped the most significantly. San Francisco also saw a sharper decline during this period – which is perhaps not surprising given the city’s early and aggressive shelter-in-place requirements.

An analysis of year-over-year (YOY) static billboard pricing in the top markets reveals that pricing has increased in two of the three top markets, and remained relatively consistent in most of the others.  Specifically, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco saw prices rise 20-30%.  Whereas prices in New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, and Houston stayed within 5% of 2021.

At first glance, this seems odd. (Why did NYC not increase to the same degree as LA and Chicago?!)  But, given that it has been an extraordinary few years, looking back a little farther helps shed some light on these market-specific differences…

3) A look over the past 4 years shows more intuitive consistency across market pricing fluctuations.  

The following chart shows average billboard price in June of the past four years (2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022).

In general, most of the top markets follow a similar pattern: a sharp dip in 2020, followed by a slow recovery over the past two years.

New York City is an outlier in that it experienced an unusually quick recovery. And we can see that NYC’s minimal YOY price increase in June of 2022 (at +5%) is likely due to the sharp increase that occurred during the previous year. From June 2020 to June 2021, New York City billboard prices increased by over 50%.

4)  In many markets, prices still have not yet returned to their pre-pandemic rates.

The graph above also illuminates an unfortunate truth about the recovery: even now, only some markets appear to have recovered fully from their pandemic price dips.  And among these, only the largest 2 markets – NYC and LA – have seen big jumps.

5)  A few especially fast-growing markets have seen demand skyrocket from their pandemic lows.

A handful of markets have experienced significant growth over the past few years, and now we’re finally seeing advertiser demand – and ad rates – start to catch up.  Miami is fast-becoming the next hot tech hub (thanks in part to a brilliant OOH campaign that went viral). Tennessee became the #1 growth state in 2020, according to U-haul’s proprietary consumer moving data.  And Utah’s population growth is up 15.5% for the year – making it first in the US in cumulative growth according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Accordingly, billboard prices in Miami, Nashville, TN, and Salt Lake City, UT have all increased significantly from their pandemic lows.

→ Would you like to learn more about market-specific OOH pricing?  Check out our billboard cost calculator to see average prices for all OOH media formats across all US markets.

Maximize Your OOH Budget With Data-Led Planning

As has always been the case in the world of outdoor media, location arguably plays the biggest role in determining pricing.  And the largest markets appear to also be the most resilient.   Thankfully, there are still OOH deals to be had in markets throughout the United States.

When evaluating the fair price or potential performance of an OOH ad campaign, AdQuick’s historical data can ensure you’re not buying OOH media blindly. After all, why waste any sacred marketing dollars when you can rely on real data to build confidence in your media buying?

Specifically, AdQuick offers two game-changing ways to boost your OOH ad campaign’s value:

  • Price Guide Index: Our proprietary Pride Guide feature uses historical pricing data to let you know whether the price pitched for any given OOH ad unit is a great deal, a fair price, or way too expensive to be considered. Even more, you can use our Pride Guide Index Filter to search for great deals based on your planning parameters.
  • Predictive Performance Tool: AdQuick is the only platform that gets smarter the more our customers use it. We track every campaign conversion via our machine learning model to inform what OOH ad units will likely be the highest-performance—taking unit types, demographics, geographies, lookalike audiences and markets, and more factors into consideration. There is no other out-of-home advertising platform that does this.

If you’re looking to uncover pockets of high-value and efficiency for your next out-of-home ad buy, connect with our team of OOH experts today.