OOH sectors that saw growth in the Unlock phase

As per OOH leaders, after markets began to open, DOOH and Ambient OOH media sites took centerstage amongst brands

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Jan 1, 2021 9:25 AM
OOH sectors post lockdown

The year 2020 was challenging as it has also been a turning point for the OOH industry. This pandemic market year has resulted in reshaping the way brands and OOH agencies look at the industry. This has resulted in DOOH and Ambient Advertising rising to the occasion. With the mandate of social norms and due to safety concerns these modes of advertising fit well into the current environment. After the unlocking of markets, DOOH, Ambient and Transit mainly Airport Advertising has taken centre stage in providing growth opportunities to the age-old medium of OOH. We are eager to bid adieu to this economically challenging year but this year has also showcased the resilience of the medium and its ability to power through new avenues.

Embrace of DOOH bringing in post-lockdown prosperity
Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH stated, “DOOH is the future and with the growth of digital and technology in this space, it will lead to accountable and engaging communication with the consumer in a relaxed mind frame. It is likely to emerge as the biggest disruptor and playing a key role in keeping the public aware and informed by broadcasting public safety measures and defining the 'new normal' during and post-lockdown, hence, it is time for OOH to embrace its digital arm. Out-of-home advertising offers a brand-safe environment, with unparalleled viewability. Digital screen Ads are 100% viewable to travellers. DOOH is the ultimate form of OOH advertising: ads are more than twice as likely to be seen and are 2.5 times more impactful than any other. Add data feeds, video, and developing programmatic capabilities to the mix, and digital out-of-home is an unbeatable offering, it has an immense technological opportunity to scale up. Well, digital out-of-home looks set to go one step further in 2021, as out-of-home networks expand digital signage options, plus more brands are now exposed to and using this platform.”

Advertisers and brands today require greater agility and speed to market to adapt to the ever-changing conditions of 2020. This is leading to an increase in demand from media buyers to transact their OOH campaigns programmatically.

According to Upinder Singh, Project Director, Edge1 OOH Software, one constant throughout the pandemic has been the need to visit local shopping centres for essential groceries, further cementing retail DOOH as a critical channel for media.

Singh says, “One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the actual content of DOOH displays thus far, however, is their widespread usage for public notices and announcements. Many DOOH displays have been turned into public health reminders, with instructions on common prevention methods like social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing, etc. It has not been uncommon to see areas typically filled with traditional advertisements be replaced with health reminders. This is a powerful change as it helps the industry, as well as government organizations, rethink how DOOH can be utilized, especially in times of public need and confusion.”

While some countries are currently recovering quicker than others in terms of getting back to larger traffic and advertising spends, it’s expected to see lasting changes in both the DOOH and advertising industries as a whole. “Going forward, brands and media buyers will need to evolve to fit the new customer and shifting consumer behavior”, Singh remarked.

Ambient Advertising is the best media site for the pandemic
COVID has given the OOH industry time to re-evaluate its offerings and realign with the new world order. Nanda says, “We at Times OOH, too are adapting with the times and aligning our media to suit client needs and objectives. Ambient OOH inventories have been on a rise owing to the responsibility of spreading messages of social distancing and safety measure tips.”

Traditional trying to renew lost interest
According to Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions the consumers have gone back to basics and OOH is the oldest form of advertising has seen an upward trend in terms of growth path.

Yagnik says, “The brands are more than happy to be on traditional OOH i.e. Billboards and BQS as they are the essence of OOH. However the disparity in city nuances and consumer movement in OOH across each state is varied and different for example: in Delhi, metro being the lifeline of Delhi has resulted in increased movement inside Delhi. However, in Mumbai, Local trains being the lifeline has restricted long-distance travel i.e. people staying in the outskirts or far of suburbs have limited travel.”

Furthermore, local markets and shopping destinations, restaurants as well as Multiplex/Cinema houses at the locality level have been witnessing overwhelming crowds which can be easily called as equal to the pre-COVID times as verified by Google Mobility reports. Yagnik says, “To target these crowds it has become imperative to utilize local OOH media at those places and this has ultimately given rise to Micro market planning and geo-targeting for all the OOH campaigns which will continue till mid-2021. Transit media i.e. Cab, Auto and Bus Branding are also picking up gradually with the easing of restrictions and people travelling on road. Some of our clients have also utilized Cab Branding as a part of their OOH plans.”

Ever since travel restrictions have been eased, transit media have been a boost. Passenger traffic data shared by Airport authorities also reflects a jump in traffic month-on-month. Domestic Air passenger traffic grew by almost 60% - 65% of pre-COVID levels. To complement this growing traffic, advertising in transit sectors at airports and metros has been amplified.

Talking about how traditional media is regaining momentum Nanda shared, “An important and a big change for OOH is that traditional media both Billboards and Street furniture (BQS) is being valued again. Traffic on the road is also at 75% of pre-COVID levels and interstate travel is also increasing. COVID has also resulted in the shift of buying patterns from central business districts and highways to residential roads and colonies. We are witnessing more brands coming on board to leverage this and are keen on tapping this trend and use OOH advertising for greater visibility and wider reach via their campaigns.”

On a parting note, Atin Gupta, Managing Director, Atin OOH says, “At the moment it is the traditional formats, hoardings, bus shelters, signage boards which are driving OOH growth. Traffic is back on the roads which enhance visibility matrix. Transit has just started picking up since November.”

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