Five Things All Brands Need to Know about Out of Home Advertising Going into 2022

times square digital billboards

By Bob McCuin, Chief Revenue Officer for Clear Channel Outdoor Americas

If you were in NYC for Advertising Week, then you know what I mean when I say that famous New York energy is once again palpable. Streets are teaming with traffic, Broadway theaters are humming, and restaurant crowds are spilling over into the streets with patrons at every table inside and out. There’s no denying it – New York is back!

While consumers are out and about in droves and driving around at, or above, pre-pandemic levels, COVID has permanently shifted consumer behaviors, and thus, brands must shift how they are planning and allocating media. I even heard an alarming stat this week that there are upwards of 70,000 ways to plan and buy media! So, it’s no surprise that, against this context, advertisers are taking a more agile approach to their media investments and looking even closer at the delivery of their ads.

But what if I told you that one medium – since its inception – has remained un-skippable, always on and prevalent during our most challenging times in history? And, that this medium now offers brands massive reach and measurable solutions that help them connect with audiences in unique ways that truly influence outcomes? Yep. You guessed it. It’s Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising!

With all this in mind, and as New York and our entire economy rebounds, here are five things all brands need to know about using OOH to enhance their customers’ experience going into 2022:

1. OOH builds a bridge between physical and digital worlds!

Brands are leveraging the “unmissable” and “un-skippable” aspects of OOH to build connections with consumers – you may have noticed the increase of celebrities and audiences taking selfies of themselves and posting them on Instagram. We’re in period where brands are integrating OOH with social media to create capturable moments. The result is hugely effective. OOH is the only medium that is considered “shareable,” and our in-house creative teams are experts at developing the kinds of experiential and visually stunning campaigns that entice a wide array of consumer groups to be sure they are “seen” with your ad campaign.

2. OOH is inspiring innovation through insights – and you can bring your data to the party too.

Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO) was the first-to-market with our audience planning, retargeting and attribution suite of solutions called CCO RADAR. Today, we’re able to leverage anonymous, aggregated mobile location data, including a brand’s own first party data, to help advertisers understand consumer mobility, behavior and true campaign impact – the same insights brands have available to them from digital platforms. So, what does this mean? Brands can now strategize their OOH ad campaigns in ways that allow them to “buy” audiences not locations. Using RADAR, you can:

  • Leverage efficient audience and location-driven planning;
  • Amplify OOH with digital retargeting;
  • Prove effectiveness and campaign optimization; and
  • Align data on exposed OOH audiences with customer data, which allows for highly customized solutions to measure, plan and optimize OOH campaigns as a part of the media mix.

We’re also constantly evolving our solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of advertisers. Just recently we launched a partnership with Foursquare to provide brands more frequent updates and insights on their digital OOH campaigns while they’re in flight for enhanced optimization. RADAR continuously empowers brands with the data they need to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns while helping brands elevate the consumer experience.

3. Programmatic digital OOH (pDOOH) should be part of your digital advertising plan.

Programmatic DOOH (pDOOH) can be activated similarly to digital programmatic buys, including real-time biddability, data-driven targeting and audience-focused buying. Put another way, it’s everything you know and love about OOH just bought in a new way. It offers the scale, reach and creativity that makes OOH advertising so popular and enduring, and you can purchase pDOOH across most OOH formats whether it’s billboards, airport digital networks or massive OOH screens like Times Square spectaculars in NYC. I’d argue that activating pDOOH to reach an audience is one more way brands use the context of location to add value to the consumer experience.

4, Consumers are on different journeys and you can reach them wherever they are via OOH.

The pandemic altered consumers’ typical daily journeys and today they likely have a different commute, a new grocery store or new favorite local restaurant. So what does this mean for brands? We learned through our RADAR solutions that consumers are increasingly active since the pandemic, heading back to the office, going on vacations and even if they are “outside” the metropolitan area, they are indeed outside. OOH offers a 360-brand experience where consumers drive, walk or fly.

5. Times Square is back – why should you care?

The status of OOH inventory in Times Square is often seen as a barometer for the OOH industry, and our Times Square inventory is in demand. We are practically sold out for New Year’s Eve, and brands are increasingly implementing “takeovers” of our billboards in the heart of NYC where customers are enmeshed in unique experiential campaigns. Times Square is a multi-medium opportunity for brands – where your campaigns are not just running on our billboards but broadcasted over television, shared over consumers’ social media channels and even make it to the big screen! Broadway is back, New Year’s Eve is back – OOH is back!