Top 5 Out-Of-Home Advertising Trends

Out of home is the only traditional media seeing ad spending growth right now, and for good reason. It remains relevant despite continued development and deployment of new media that have drawn eyeballs away from newspapers, magazines and linear television.

That has led a lot of advertisers to want to explore this promising format. But what trends in OOH should they be following to ensure their ads get noticed and gain traction? Here are five things to watch for in 2018 and beyond.

1. Digitization of all outdoor inventory

Digital billboards have exploded on the scene — some 1,400 were erected in just the past two years. 

But that’s only part of the picture. Digitalization has hit all forms of OOH media. Digital networks are increasingly common in malls, airports, subways, bus shelters and more, notes Stephen Freitas, chief marketing officer at the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.



“There is certainly a continued trend toward building out more of that footprint. It’s that broader trend of seeing more movement to digital inventory in all silos, across all segments,” he says.

2. Integration of mobile into outdoor ads

Mobile phones allow OOH ads to communicate directly with you and deliver more pertinent messages. For instance, a billboard might allow you to opt-in with a text to receive a digital coupon or send offers to customers with a certain type of phone. Great advances have been made in targeting, too, which means more agencies and vendors will deploy those techniques.

3. Increasing interest from digital brands

Netflix recently purchased nearly three dozen billboards on Sunset Strip that it will use exclusively to advertise its own programming. Netflix is on the cutting edge of technology, and it has chosen to invest heavily in OOH, reflecting the vitality of the medium. 

4. Employing real-time data and information for targeting

It’s 90 degrees outside, and you’re in your car on the way to the pool — but you forgot to bring sunscreen. At that moment, you see a billboard advertising sunscreen. It’s almost as if the billboard read your mind … and that’s not far from the truth.

More and more, billboards sync to weather conditions, time of day and other real-world variables that make ads resonate with the people who see them. 

“When it’s raining, they advertise umbrellas and raincoats. When the pollen count is high, you see pharmacy and hay fever meds,” Freitas says. “They have a chance to change the messaging because they have that nimbleness with digital.” 

5. Raising the bar on creative

Over the past few years, OOH advertising has really come into its own creatively. We have seen campaigns so clever that they gain instant buzz and long-term traction — thinkSpotify’s holiday ads that mined user data for clever insights into human behavior.

Technology will drive many of the new trends in OOH over the coming years, but don’t underestimate the importance of good old-fashioned ingenuity. Grabbing attention remains the name of the game, no matter how you manage it.

3 comments about "Top 5 Out-Of-Home Advertising Trends".
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  1. Dana Mattson from Massmedia, July 25, 2018 at 2:01 p.m.

    All true, but here's the rub: When you advertise on a digital BB, you only get 1/4-1/6th of the advertising power of that BB - and you don't pay 1/4 or 1/6th the price, by a long shot. Sure, it's great if you have a product/service that is time or weather sensitive, but as far as a branding campaign goes, or something that lasts for a month, the advertiser is better off buying a static BB (that has lighting, of course). 

  2. Gino Sesto from 03/01/2021, July 25, 2018 at 2:12 p.m.

    Dana, agreed it's not a 1:1 relationship.  I do believe tho that Digital has many merits.  Gret for countdown clocks for an event for instance. Or for messaging that is updated to something like weather. Or even changing messaging throughout the day.  Dont throw the baby out with the bath water!

  3. Nick Previti from Noble People, August 2, 2018 at 10:13 a.m.

    Digitazation of all outdoor inventory will never happen. Despite the capabilities of digital billboards, a static always-on presence still remains powerful and effective. Enough so that brands like Apple and Samsung strictly buy premium static inventory for their perms.

    Would definitely argue that trends like the integration of VR & AR, utilizing geolocation data to build optimally targeted campaigns, tracking online actions after being exposed to OOH, and building experiences around outdoor advertising will be the primary trends that move the industry forward.

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