OOH in 2024: 6 key trends defining the future of out of home advertising

Over the past 12 months, the out of home (OOH) ad industry has seen significant technological advancements.

Media owners are actively investing in programmatic digital OOH (prDOOH), making more of their digital inventory available programmatically and erecting new digital screens or converting traditional analogue displays into digital formats.

As global chief customer and revenue officer at digital out of home marketplace VIOOH, Gavin Wilson outlines the six key trends he expects to see in outdoor advertising that will offer better, more informed and simpler ways of incorporating prDOOH into every media plan.

This year, our State of the Nation report, a global piece of buy-side research, showed that across the campaigns advertisers have run in the past 18 months, on average a third (32%) included prDOOH, which is expected to increase to 40% in the next 18 months.

Globally, respondents plan to increase ad spend by a third (31%) over the next 18 months. A third (33%) of advertisers globally are shifting budgets from other digital channels to take advantage of the broadcast, cookie-less environment of prDOOH, while more than 1 in 10 advertisers (13%) are creating completely new budgets for prDOOH.

Projections for the share of DOOH campaigns vary. According to WARC Media, ad investment in digital out-of-home (DOOH) is forecast to grow 13.2% year on year in 2023, with the global market reaching $11.5bn. DOOH ad spend is also expected to grow faster than any other channel with forecasts indicating that DOOH will take up a 29.4% share of global OOH spend, up from 17.8% in 2020.

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, the landscape of prDOOH advertising is set to undergo significant transformations.

Surge in programmatic popularity

From a media perspective, the hesitations around adopting prDOOH seem to have dissipated. Agencies and brands are no longer testing the waters; instead, prDOOH has become a staple in advertising plans. If you’re looking to invest in Digital Out of Home, there’s a fair chance it will be increasingly skewed towards programmatic. Looking ahead, we expect media owners to experience an even higher increase in occupancy levels for their programmatic share of time (SOT), and in turn raising this SOT to accommodate the ever growing demand.

More buyers are eager to have their assets traded programmatically, leading to programmatic becoming a mainstay and demonstrating how much media owners want to allocate to this way of buying. The initial challenge of prDOOH being an accepted media channel is behind us, and 2024 will be about media planners putting it more readily on their media plans. Perhaps the prefix of the ‘pr’ will even disappear from the ‘prDOOH’ altogether….

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prDOOH will offer increased value

Media owners will continue to explore and expand their prDOOH offerings as the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) from such means of trading remains on an upward trajectory. The realisation that they are charging reasonable prices for quality inventory, alongside increased flexibility and targeting which buyers are willing to pay for, has created a sweet spot for media owners. This twofold approach, where occupancy swells due to increasing demand and CPM rises but remains attractive to buyers, will establish a healthy foundation for the prDOOH ecosystem.

Continued rise of omni-channel DSPs

The digital landscape is witnessing a significant shift with omni-channel Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) investing heavily in DOOH due to increased demand. Over the past 12 to 18 months, DSPs have been investing in bettering their platform so that upstream buyers get improved value as the need to plan audiences grows. The demand is evident, and the strategic integration of prDOOH into omni-channel DSPs is becoming increasingly seamless – buyers buy audiences, not channels!

Depending on a brand’s ambition, advertisers can now use channels tactically to unlock specific audiences at different times in their journey. Outdoor is very much part of that narrative helping brands and buyers to communicate with the consumer using premium screens as part of a cross-channel media journey.

Adding prDOOH into an omni-channel mix at different times of the day or contexts gives advertisers greater reach and impact. In partnership with Yahoo Advertising, we recently released a whitepaper examining the potential outcomes of including prDOOH within multi-channel campaigns. Findings indicate that prDOOH’s inclusion in multi-channel media plans can drive more attention, boost engagement, and improve overall campaign effectiveness.

In fact, including prDOOH in a multi-channel media plan adds incremental value to the return on investment (ROI) of the digital media mix due to the priming effect. DOOH plays an important role in preparing consumers for conversions during re-engagements on other channels. In addition, prDOOH as a channel can boost offline outcomes in terms of sales and footfall as a result of its ‘attention-grabbing’ characteristics and flexibility as a programmatic medium.

Agencies will continue to structure for DOOH

Agencies, the upstream buyers in this dynamic landscape, are expected to continue to refine their structures to incorporate DOOH seamlessly into their planning. Having separate OOH teams or business units is fading, giving way to a more cohesive and integrated approach that benefits the brand, and of course the end consumer digesting media across a range of devices.

We’re increasingly seeing agencies amalgamate these teams into cross-channel planning or brand representation planning. As a result, we’ve got teams who are wanting to be educated about prDOOH and its value offering, and they’re keen to plan it for their brands more harmoniously alongside everything else.

This integration will ensure a cleaner ecosystem and it will become more apparent who is controlling the end-to-end planning and execution of all outdoor campaigns. Next year, we expect agencies to make a permanent shift towards holistic brand planning, which will help further establish prDOOH as an essential component of cross-channel activation.

Measurement as a cornerstone

Measurement will continue to be a cornerstone of prDOOH advertising. As brands demand a clearer understanding of how each channel contributes to their audience objectives, the need for robust measurement tools becomes imperative. At VIOOH, we tailor our measurement to the advertising campaign objectives and work with the partner who is the right local player to help measure that specific outcome.

Uplift from the channel and campaigns as part of a cross-channel strategy is here to stay. This heightened focus on measurement is crucial for justifying increased investments in prDOOH and securing a larger share of the advertising budget.

Data integration in prDOOH campaigns

I’ve talked a lot about audiences and the consumer, however the role of data in digital out of home campaigns is set to take centre stage in 2024. Advertisers will increasingly leverage audience data and segments for smarter audience grouping, drawing from both first-party and third-party sources. This move towards data-driven campaigns signals a deeper integration of prDOOH into the broader advertising strategy, ensuring advertisers can make informed decisions to maximise impact, and all of the time!

At a time where other media channels are being questioned in terms of overall value and the disproportionate share of ad spend they command, the trajectory of prDOOH advertising in 2024 is marked by increased adoption, refined strategies and a deeper integration into the broader advertising ecosystem. As media owners, agencies and DSPs continue to align their efforts, and as measurement and data become more sophisticated, prDOOH is poised to not only sustain its current momentum, but thrive as a vital component of cross-channel advertising strategies.

To ensure we remain at the forefront of the evolving prDOOH landscape, our strategic goals at VIOOH for the coming year include forging more partnerships with the right media owners globally, continuing our ongoing commitment of investing in market-leading technology and expanding our presence into new markets. The new year promises exciting developments for an industry that has successfully navigated its way to becoming the key component in every media plan. Not bad when you think back to the pandemic!

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