After years of sustained growth, OOH has been at the epicentre of the impact of COVID-19. But as we move towards 2021, industry forecasts for growth of 25-30% are rightly optimistic.
Here’s a look ahead to the four things we believe will have the biggest impact on OOH in 2021 and what this means for brands.
What OOH can now do for brands is more powerful than ever. An acceleration of tech and data capabilities means that OOH’s role within the marketing mix will expand in 2021. Here’s why:
In a Covid-affected world where there are higher levels of uncertainty, brand fitness is critical for survival and growth. OOH supports this through public messaging, conveying trust, confidence, and financial stability. B&Q recently used OOH and 60” TV ads to relaunch the brand, embodying its new brand purpose by sharing its message with pride in public – something they felt couldn’t be achieved via online and social alone.
OOH continues to reach over 90% of UK adults each week and is one of the most inclusive channels. It can connect brands with audiences at a local level within their communities, and by using Route and ONS data via our Journeys platform we can effectively target more diverse ethnic groups with smarter media placement and inclusive messaging.
And don’t forget, OOH provides community utility too in the form of street furniture and public transport. 50% of the budgets invested in OOH goes back to funding these services in the community.
People’s reliance on their devices when out of home makes OOH a powerful trigger for online behaviours. The growth of frictionless commerce, social commerce, and the wider adoption of QR codes and visual search in 2021 means that OOH will become an even more valuable tool for brands to connect public screens with private ones to drive an action.
Things have changed for the OOH audience as a result of the COVID pandemic. While many of these changes are temporary, there are some behaviours that will stay, even after the threat of COVID passes:
For more than half the UK population, going to work still means leaving the house. Nothing much will change for them. For those who have the opportunity to work from home, we are likely to see a long-term shift to hybrid home and office working, and potentially a three-day commute. OOH can flex to reflect this.
The pandemic has seen an increase in people using online shopping, with the biggest shift amongst the 55+ age group. But whether for food, fashion or fun, people are going out every week to buy things from bricks and mortar stores. This will continue in 2021.
As a result of COVID, people have been socialising more in their local communities and going out more mid-week. We believe this behaviour will also sustain itself throughout next year.
“As we return to real life, reaching valuable audiences on the move will be critical to the success of our clients.”
Our Journeys platform’s ability to track near real-time behaviour makes us uniquely placed to optimise 2021 campaign delivery and react to any changes in audience mobility resulting from Covid.
It has also allowed us to evolve our routes to market, enabling us to plan more precisely by geography, location, day of week and time of day – even down to frame level if required, as well as programmatically.
And in 2021 all our OOH planning is infused with behavioural science thinking – using techniques such as social proof in creative messaging and the mere exposure effect to inform our understanding of effective frequency.
Creativity is what sets brands apart and how they earn attention. Those in need of creative inspiration in 2021 should look to OOH.
OOH is a kaleidoscope consisting of thousands of elements that can be combined and connected in an infinite number of ways. Brands should look at the real world as a canvas. Be open to play with shape, size, context and expectation to deliver beautifully simple and effective visual metaphors. And create content that can be easily shared and understood across other visual platforms.
Digital OOH also offers increasing creative potential when you combine live data, location and context. The best digital campaigns are built on clever applications of relevant first and third-party data to create or trigger content in real-time. This will be important in 2021 as brands will need to be reactive and agile when required.
In 2021, mixed realities can add an accessible digital layer of information, entertainment, commerce and navigation on top of the real world. 5G will become an enabler and accelerator. It will not drastically change behaviour but make these types of activation more accessible and rewarding.
OOH creativity does not require big budgets. Using OOH to its full creative potential will drive business results for brands in 2021.
Next year will see significant re-growth in the OOH channel. OOH will continue to become smarter, more adaptable and automated, fuelled by ever more creativity and innovation. As we return to real life, reaching valuable audiences on the move will be critical to the success of our clients. And OOH is more equipped to deliver than ever before.