Good ol’ Outdoor Advertising

The medium remains constant, while innovating with technology.

One thing for sure is that out of home advertising has remained constant over previous years and the future looks bright, certainly in South Africa.

This is testament to the year-on-year OOH growth witnessed across multiple brands. Not only has OOH remained strong as a media touch point but we have seen media owners innovate new and bespoke campaigns that effectively target the consumer while they are outside their homes.

OOH stands the test of time and continues to prove its reach through round-the-clock visibility. Post Covid-19 marketers have had to revisit their marketing strategies and how best to target audiences.

Revisiting strategies shows an advancement of integration of OOH with other media types. Static billboards remain relevant and are the foundation of most OOH campaigns.

Digital sites skyrocket

Digital out of home (DOOH) has grown over the past years, resulting in a number of media owners investing in DOOH inventory. According to Outdoor Auditors, the number of digital sites continues to skyrocket, with 115 new screens added over the six month period between August 2023 and February 2024. As of February 2024, South Africa has 655 digital screens.

Improved data collection is key, as seen in how DOOH leverages technology and creativity to gather more accurate and insightful information about audience behaviour, preference, and demographics. This data allows for more comprehensive and effective outdoor advertising campaigns, leading to better-targeted ads and improved ROI.

Advanced data collection enables more robust performance measurement and analytics. Advertisers can track metrics such as impressions, views, dwell time and conversions with greater accuracy, providing valuable insights into campaign effectiveness, which is a big victory for OOH.

The social integration

The advancement of digital OOH and how digital integrates with social media and the spinoff this has with regards to driving traffic to websites is a win in media integration.

Programmatic advertising has also grown in South Africa, delivering highly targeted ads to audiences at  perfect moments as they move through their days. Advertisers are seeing the benefits of programmatic placement as the creative is served in contextually relevant locations, delivering more targeted messaging and engagement with consumers in a natural setting as they move throughout their day.

Programmatic has indeed given advertisers the power to reach mass audiences. It’s transforming the outdoor advertising industry by making it more data-driven, flexible and accountable.

OOH has worked well in isolation, and we have seen some bold brands run their campaigns solely on OOH placement. But OOH works well with other media types too, and increases the reach of campaigns.

Recently we have witnessed how OOH works and drives social campaigns. The beauty of DOOH has been the agility, speed, and flexibility.

Key in the media mix

OOH is still a key element within the media mix and remains trusted by most marketers.

Our conversation would be incomplete if we do not address the challenges of load shedding on digital. There are both positive and negatives this has brought.

The obvious positive, is the high dwell time in traffic when the traffic lights are not working.

The negative is the number media owners are still trying to navigate is the downtime during load shedding, with most sites not having back up power.

Having said that, OOH wields considerable power in reaching audiences, driving brand visibility, and shaping consumer behaviour, so if you are a marketing manager/strategist/brand manager you cannot afford to leave OOH out of the media marketing mix.

Ellah Ndlovu is a seasoned OOH specialist with over 15 years of experience.