In many ways 2015 was a landmark year for the advertising sector; as positivity about the economy increased, the outdoor industry reaped the benefits of this optimism. The year started off on a positive note for the outdoor advertising sector with many expecting it to deliver on its inherent potential. However, it has still been a mixed bag, said industry experts we spoke to, despite the strong start and a good festive period.
“2015 has been moderately good for the industry. E-commerce has been the biggest spender along with government campaigns. 2016 is being projected as year of advertising, as overall positive market sentiment is becoming a reality. However, the government policies should increase spending and positive sentiment in corporates and overall growth in advertising spend across sectors,” said Rajiv Saxena, MD of Blue Ocean Media.
2015 was also important for steps taken by the industry body in solving various issues that the sector faces, particularly in audience measurement. Though these are still nascent steps and the impact will take some time to be seen, OOH professionals have welcomed the signs of progress.
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From a business perspective, the outdoor industry had reason to cheer as the rise of the e-commerce sector gave an impetus to ad spends. Vinod Kumar, VP of TDI International agreed the year started with a positive trend and in a receptive mood from many of the advertisers. “Government and PSUs also started looking at promoting various divisions and thus Q1 started with an upward curve in the growth. This sustained till about mid Q2, but didn’t last much. E-commerce emerged as the major spender in OOH initially and they were slowing shifting their spends towards digital and print platforms. The case was similar with other big spenders as well when comparing their ad spends of Q1 versus Q3,” he told us.
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“It (OOH advertising) has evolved to the extent that new brands, more so in the e-commerce space, have increasingly used OOH as a dominant format of media communication. These neo-gen brands discovered that OOH was making more sense in terms of ROI (even though no quantifiable measurement matrix was available) as compared to other forms of media usage, apart from the obvious usage of digital as the primary medium,” added Kaushik Chakravorty, an OOH veteran.
As always, the growth spell for the outdoor advertising sector has been the September-December festive period and this received impetus from the e-commerce sector. The e-commerce sector has been one of the highest spending sectors for the outdoor industry throughout the year, and outdoor players we spoke to said the trend would continue for the next couple of years. Automobile and FMCG were other notable contributors to the OOH growth story in 2015.
“A new trend that has emerged is with clients wanting to exploit the full potential of the medium is by coupling ‘experiential marketing’ along with running their traditional campaign on OOH. This way they can get an exponential bang for their bucks,” said Saurabh Negi, VP of LiveMedia.
Industry experts say that clients are looking at combining OOH with an added experiential approach as well as paying more attention to the creative side. Chakravorty informed us that clients are looking to construct creatives specifically for OOH advertising. “It seems creative usage of media as a method of innovation is being propounded. However, the truth is that most innovations in OOH are mere embellishments, and the present constraints of regulations as well as technology and fabrication needs to get much better if we are to see innovation in OOH in the true sense,” he added.
With 2015 coming to an end, experts are now hopeful that 2016 would continue to see a revitalized sector with even better ad spending throughout the year.