The Renaissance Of Out-Of-Home Advertising

According to OOH (Out-Of-Home) trade organization, Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), CMO, and contributing writer Lisa Lacy, OOH has a storied history that can be traced to obelisks in Egypt, circus posters in the 19th century, and a holiday campaign from Coca-Cola in the early 20th century.

Insiders now say these once static assets are undergoing profound change, which means OOH is poised to thrive in an era of data, analytics, and micro-moments, says the report. In fact, according to OAAA, OOH revenue was up 4.6% in 2015 from the previous year for a total of $7.3 billion, which marks an all-time high after 23 quarters of growth.

OOH Annual Ad Spend


Ad Spend ($ Billions)


$6.1 Billion











Source: OAAA, September 2016

Miko Rahming, senior vice president of innovation and creative at media and tech company Intersection, went as far as calling the evolution underway a “renaissance.”

“The physical world is becoming more and more connected, and as digital screens, mobile devices, free high-speed Wi-Fi, proximity networks, and so on continue to become ubiquitous, your journey through the world will become more and more like a web browsing experience, with access to information and opportunity based on time, place, and contextual data,” Rahming told

Some experts reported how this renaissance is playing out, and why the seemingly underappreciated OOH sector is more relevant than ever:

  • Jeff Tan, vice president of strategy at OOH communications agency Posterscope, in an interview with, says “Unlike mediums like TV, radio, and newspapers, which have seen drastic changes in consumption, OOH will endure because consumers, unless they have reality-show-caliber phobias, are never going to stay home 24 hours a day.”
  • “Consumers can try to ignore billboards, says the report, but they’re always there: OOH is the only medium consumers have to interact with as soon as they go outdoors,” said Arthur Ceria, CEO of digital marketing and media relations firm CreativeFeed.
  • “There is a choice about whether or not to check your phone, go online, or hop on social media, but an OOH ad will just be there–displayed next to you at a bus stop [or] on a billboard while you wait for the traffic light to change,” Ceria said.
  • Mark Mulhern, president of the East region at digital marketing agency iCrossing, notes that “Billboards and digital/social/mobile are better together: New media channels don’t tend to replace older ones, but, rather, they find “a happy form of co-existence.”  
  • Indeed, the integration of data and technology means advertisers can tap into OOH like never before. “And it’s really shifting into bringing back the things that digital has lost, the sensory experiences, feelings, and interactions,” Ceria added.

Dan Hight, senior vice president of channel partnerships at mobile location platform xAd, said “… expect to see much more interaction between physical outdoor assets and mobile devices. Marketers can extend the reach of OOH placements by geofencing place-based ads and delivering display ads on mobile phones when consumers are in proximity to a given billboard… the power of the billboard plus a mobile ad [yields] higher performance of the ad than a mobile ad alone, and being able to have an ad that is reinforced by mobile is producing higher results than the industry average…”

Posterscope’s Tan said. “… the midsize sedan market is pretty crowded and competitive… to win in key markets ... a personalized dynamic message, like ... comparing their car’s safety record or ... a message comparing fuel efficiency…” found consumers were 50% more likely to recall the ad as a result of this quasi-personalization.

The report says that consumers have certain expectations when it comes to personalization in marketing, OOH is no exception. Wade Forst, senior director at Razorfish, says “… advertisers may not be able to get as one-to-one with a billboard as, say, an email, but they can still use OOH data to speak to demographics, time of day, or events to deliver memorable content…”

And Hight added “OOH has always been treated as the… stepchild of media because it was not measurable in many ways… but we’re now  ... getting some intelligent data around physical location [and] can ... build real profiles rather than say, ‘Buy this billboard at this intersection.’”

Finally, Tan notes that :… OOH is catching up in terms of how it buys inventory in real time, like its online cousins. However, OOH has a long way to go, in part because the supply of physical assets is finite, but also because the industry does not have audience data integrated with available offerings, and it lacks a common set of standards,” he concluded.

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3 comments about "The Renaissance Of Out-Of-Home Advertising".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 20, 2016 at 7:15 a.m.

    I'm mildly surprised that the #1 benefit of OOH is overlooked here: They cannot be ad-blocked or skipped over, as this the case with online and most television advertising. Yes, the drawbacks of OOH are still there, but being seen is a huge benefit that should not be ignored.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, September 20, 2016 at 8:25 a.m.

    Just to be clear, while many people think that this discussion is about the old standby---30 sheet posters or billboards---actually OOH includes many site based venues with digital viewing options, plus ads sold in TV's on doctors' offffices, taxi cabs, gas stations, etc. and let's not forget commercias in movie theatres before the films are shown. While the ad attentiveness or "impact" of 30 sheet posters is always an issue due to the short amount of time the viewers' eyes are on them in drive- by situations, this is not the case with many of the other venues which can document surprisibgly high ad awareness and message registration levels for TV commercials. Their problem, where national advertisers are concerned is their local orientation, which makes it tough to get the attention of "think national media" advertisers and their agencies.

  3. Jack Loechner from Mediapost Communications, September 20, 2016 at 2:05 p.m.

    thanks for that expandied view, Ed.. 

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