Certainly, the last two years have been a rollercoaster ride for the out of home industry with numerous stops and starts due to Covid-19. The pandemic has impacted media consumption, online behaviour, audience perception, and marketing trends and definitely OOH advertising.
Covid-19 caused disruption for marketing strategies and marketing policies, and this in turn has affected planning for media. Brands have resorted to employing a short-term view and are having difficulties ensuring that their new, short-term actions still fall in line with their longer-term strategic plans.
The challenge is thinking of innovative and creative ways to navigate through this new normal. Many brands have been cautious with their advertising in general, and we have seen a decrease in marketing budgets brought about by the market alteration because of the economic impact on all industry sectors.
But now brands are certainly coming back to out of home, using the same formats in new ways. We have also seen an increase in first time OOH advertisers. Covid-19 caused consumers to rediscover their same environments in new ways and brands are showing up people’s everyday moments in relevant media formats and using messaging that resonates with the audience.
Gone are the days of spray and pray! Relevancy, location and recency are key. Covid-19 taught brands to be in the moment and to really tune into the consumer’smedia consumption journey.
There are brands that have never considered OOH, but we have seen them during the last 25 months using OOH to speak to their consumers.
I am talking about the local pizza shop that has seen the benefits of using a small billboard or steet pole ad to advertise specials. OOH is definitely not only for brands with huge budgets but also the small guy with the corner shop.
How do we change our ways in OOH?
- Shopping reinvented
Covid-19 has made many consumers reconsider their established buying and shopping habits or even to learn new ones. Due to the extraordinary containment measures, some consumers for instance have had to move to online shopping, home-deliveries or cashless payment, which they never considered before . Any brand with an online store option has to take advantage of OOH.
- Increase in localism
Who are the brands with a 3km to 5km radius of my home? How relevant are they? Fast food chains and automobile brands have definitely accelerated this strategy during Covid-19. The pandemic has forced consumers to shop closer to home and discover shops that were once overlooked. The surge in localisation also means that consumers now preferring to buy goods and services from their own country.
- Less traditional OOH
If your experience with out-of-home advertising has been limited to big, splashy billboards, then you’re in for a real treat. Outdoor advertising is a constantly growing industry, with new formats being introduced every year. Whilst billboards will always be the foundation for OOH, a rise in non-traditional advertising resonates with some brands. We see wall mural advertising being effective in the townships. In-pharmacy advertising for the pharmaceutical brands, among some examples.
- Geo-targeting reinvented
Location data can be a valuable marketing tool to help reach your target audience. This has worked well with OOH. Geotargeting is a smart way to reach audiences in specified areas. Lower reach in the once popular nodes, means marketers need to focus efforts. Audiences have certainly come back, and geo-targeting allows marketers to see where they are. This allows for specific location targeting be it at home, work or out and about. Geo-targeting allows for dynamic messaging linked to DOOH. This works well to push consumers to store or call to action. The more relevant an ad is to a user, the more likely they are to convert.
The past five years has seen enhancements in OOH implementation. This can be appreciated by the growth is digital screens in the country, which has come with new innovations in data and programmatic implementation. This has allowed DOOH’s position to match other dominant media channels. The flexible nature DOOH has spurred on this growth. How do brands capture the attention of an onlooker and inspire action? The opportunities are limitless, and this is seen in first world countries and making its way to South Africa. We have seen an increase in dynamic, 3D and anamorphic creative. Technology is modernising OOH advertising, creating fresh opportunities for impactful campaigns.
Ellah Ndlovu is an accounts manager at Face First Media, a specialised outdoor advertising company with over a decade’s specialised expertise in the outdoor advertising industry. It is currently one of the biggest outdoor media owners in South Africa when it comes to well-placed sites. Our objective is to make your business more visible and accessible to your potential client base within your target market. Our unique and extensive property inventory that comprises over 160 premium advertising sites which are strategically located in highly sought-after locations across the most prominent areas of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal enables us to promote your brand in a versatile variety of locations.
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