In recent years, technology has caught up with the billboard industry to the point where we’re seeing a substantial growth and evolution of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising. Globally the DOOH industry has shown an incredible growth and is likely to be worth $25bn by 2025, a 36% increase versus 2021. This increase is due to larger proportions of budgets being allocated to digital advertising overall from traditional formats. In the UK, DOOH already accounts for 65% of all outdoor advertising revenue spend.
With the market for DOOH on such a significant rise, let us take a look at some of the benefits digitisation of OOH advertising creates.
Traditional forms of OOH are posted, meaning only one campaign can occupy each billboard for a two week period. In comparison, a DOOH site can accommodate up to six campaigns at any one time, which reduces the need for the number of advertising sites. This means that the number of billboard sites can be reduced dramatically and on multi-billboard sites the number of billboards can be reduced to one or two, which helps to de-clutter the built environment.
Since 2015 the number of 48 sheet billboards has fallen by nearly 50% from 18,090 to 9,396. The reduction in billboards has been a direct result of the digitisation of OOH. With DOOH the need for advertising sites will continue to reduce as the demand for traditional forms of OOH falls away.
The overall benefits of traditional OOH have been known for years. Research conducted by Nielsen found that 46% of participants used search engines to look up information about specific products after being exposed to advertisements on billboards, bus shelters or other outdoor mediums.
OOH digitisation brings with it more commercial benefits than many stakeholders realise, with the lead one being improved user targeting. The ability to host enhanced content at the right location and the right time exponentially increases the success of the message. Digital approaches to OOH advertising have proven to convert to more effective campaigns, with lower costs and better integration into the general marketing mix than the conventional OOH.
With DOOH, the content can be adjusted much quicker than with printed advertising to adjust it to a current situation. When Adam Peaty won Team GB’s first Gold at Tokyo 2020, the BBC Olympics campaign was able to post a congratulations message across the Clear Channel UK’s DOOH network, featuring an image taken at the event earlier that day.
The global pandemic has added a new depth and a somewhat unexpected twist to the significance and usage of DOOH. An example of this is the cooperation between Clear Channel the UK Government and the NHS, which has enabled the utilisation of DOOH throughout the pandemic for emergency public messaging regarding the COVID-19 virus. The flexibility of DOOH has enabled messaging to change in response to the latest Government guidance.
Keeping up with sustainable market trends is not a pioneering move anymore. It is now the responsibility of all companies to address sustainability in their strategies on every possible level.
Using digital screens as an alternative to the standard printed billboards is critical in terms of sustainability gains. OOH’s digitisation’s overall reduction in carbon print is ample. The transition has been proven to lead to direct benefits including better air quality, less vehicles miles, saving of trees, and reduced need for disposal of waste materials.
The digitisation of OOH reduces the number of visits to sites for posting and maintenance by approximately 85% per year which in turn significantly reduces vehicle miles and associated carbon emissions.
Eliminating the need to post sites also decreases material production, as well as the economic and environmental footprint that production of printing materials and their disposal causes. In comparison, a digital campaign comes at a fraction of the environmental cost.
One of the Sustainable Development Goals set in 2015 by the United Nations states the objective to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. The environmental benefits of digitisation of OOH directly support this and prompt the growth of sustainable and “smart” cities.
A DOOH screen with adjustable messaging and minimal upkeep requirements fits much better into with the objectives of a smart city than a conventional printed billboard. The diminished production cost also allows for greater flexibility in accommodating non-commercial campaigns.
The government recognises the possibilities the transition offers, especially with the ability to transmit amber alerts, public campaigns and other emergency government messaging using commercial OOH screens. In fact, the report “The Smart City Market: Opportunities for the UK”, produced by the UK’s Government’s Department of Business Innovation and Skills, mentioned digital advertising as one of the mediums needed in order to transform a city into a “smart” one.
As society takes greater steps in technological advancements, so is the advertising industry. DOOH not only provides advertisers with a significantly improved platform for their campaigns, it also has multiple benefits and opportunities that go far beyond what can be offered by traditional forms of OOH. It is therefore little wonder the DOOH market experiences such continued and rapid growth.