All Eyes On OOH Advertising As People Emerge From Lockdown
By Artjom Jekimtsev, CEO and founder, Adverttu
There is no doubt that the promise of seeing friends and family face to face after long months at home is the greatest benefit to coming out of lockdown for most people.
Freedom to travel, eating out and socialising are all high on the list too. But the lure of being outside, leaving screens, home schooling and gardens behind, is likely to also bring a welcome boost to the Out of Home (OOH) advertising sector as brands seek the best mediums to attract attention.
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A survey conducted just after UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s ‘Lockdown Roadmap’ announcement, among media, advertising and creative professionals showed that over 71% were feeling positive about the future. When asked what they would be looking forward to, the highest scoring activities were seeing friends (37%), family (35%), travelling abroad (37%) and eating out (37%) – all of which were marked “Extremely Likely”.
Quizzed on the activities that they would do less of as lockdown eased, 35% said they would spend less time indoors, while a quarter would spend less screen time on social media and the same number would also spend less time on streaming video services. Unsurprisingly many are anticipating far fewer home deliveries – 27% on food and 20% on shopping.
Back to the power of multichannel
The changes also indicate a return to creative freedom for the advertising industry. The easing of lockdown means advertisers and brands will no longer be restricted by where they can advertise. With choice back on the menu, multichannel campaigns will return, and advertisers will have a full toolkit at their disposal once again.
While the survey highlights the importance of interacting with family and friends and resuming social lives, it also indicates just how important out of home advertising will be when it comes to capturing audiences. People will be out and about, some will go back to commuting, but clearly no one will want to spend the spring, summer and autumn months behind closed doors.
When respondents were asked what advertising channels they thought would command the most spend in the months to come, Out of Home, selected by 76%, and Transit Out of Home (TOOH), selected by 69% were the top two channels. This gives a clear indication of the unique opportunity that advertisers and brands have in the next few months for creating high impact OOH campaigns, events and live experiences.
Also scoring highly with 68% were experiential modes of advertising, and events, which was selected by 65%. When asked about digital and social media spend, 48% and 44% respectively thought there would be little change this year, which means that these channels are still attractive. With the high street opening up again, 50% of respondents believe retail will prove a big lure.
No longer confined to social and digital media channels, brands can be creative about pairing OOH with digital and mobile campaigns. A Nielsen study in 2019 found that 66% of OOH viewers used their smartphone in response to seeing an OOH ad, and more than 4 in 10 OOH viewers who own a smartphone have searched for an OOH advertiser on their mobile device.
Building consumer confidence
Before creative teams get to work on new multichannel campaigns, however, it is also important to remember that while there is positive sentiment in relation to the end of lockdown, advertisers and brands have an important role to play in building consumer confidence in advertising, particularly in sectors where uncertainty still exists.
Data from Nielsen a few years ago found that 56% of respondents completely or somewhat trusted the OOH advertising format, and while that figure should have increased further, brands must take responsibility for nurturing trust.
Looking again at the lockdown lift survey, it is obvious that media and creative professionals believe that some sectors are more likely than others to enjoy a positive impact from lockdown being lifted.
76% of respondents think transport, 83% said entertainment and 74% believe leisure and events will get a significant boost, which suggests opportunities within transit media or event sponsorship, catching audiences as they head back to the gym or within other feel-good scenarios based around social contact, all offer attractive mediums for advertising.
Views on the return to the office in a ‘new normal’ capacity were also sought from respondents, who thought this would be staggered from April to August – 35% expect to be back in April, while over 50% thought they would not be back until June. However, over 70% think that once they do return, they will be back in the office three or more days a week, and only 13.9% expect never to go back into the office.
The survey findings shine a spotlight on brand sentiment, the effects of long-term lockdown, the desire to be out and about, but also indicate growing confidence in commuting and getting back into the office.
This means that share of voice will be key and traditional OOH inventory will be in demand. Advertisers can expect, for example, that there will be competition for inventory in the night-time economy as people resume their social lives.
After the uncertainties of the past year, it is crucial for advertisers to consider where audiences will be now, how they will be enjoying their new-found freedom and, therefore, how best to optimise campaigns in terms of share of voice, available inventory and market competition.