In the ultimate paradox for an advertising medium, the time spent with out-of-home media among Americans actually expanded during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, but spending by American advertisers fell, according to findings of PQ Media’s annual Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast.
While total time spent among Americans expanded 0.5% to 2.86 hours weekly -- continuing an ongoing trend -- U.S. out-of-home ad spending fell 21.1% to $8.73 billion, as demand crashed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ad-spending attrition was even worse for digital out-of-home ad spending -- which fell 23.0% to $2.89 billion -- and worst-of-all for cinema advertising within it, which “cratered 44.3% in 2020,” according to PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn.
While all of forms of out-of-home ad spending are expected to expand again this year -- +3.5% for cinema, +9.2% for digital out-of-home, and + 7.3% for total out-of-home -- in the U.S., the marketplace will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022 for digital, and 2023 for total out-of-home, according to Quinn.
The report projects similar patterns of crashing and rebounding for the global out-of-home advertising marketplace, with digital contracting 11.9% in 2020, but expanding 4.9% this year, and total out-of-home spending falling 13.3% in 2020, but rising 6.6% this year.
“Among future growth drivers will be the continued expansion of programmatic media-buying to out-of-home media operators outside the top-tier players, increased use of mobile integration tactics and improving ROI metrics driven by smart technology,” Quinn predicts, adding that consumer exposure to out-of-home advertising inventory has already “exceeded 2019 levels” worldwide.