Summer 2021 OOH Advertising Trends

With vaccines rolling out by the millions in the U.S., things are looking good for the future of Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising. Even last summer, we saw restrictions begin to ease as the warmer weather allowed people to do many outdoor activities while still staying safe and socially distancing. If all goes according to plan, it seems like this summer will be the same, especially with many people across North America getting at least the first dose of the vaccine. So, what does this mean for the OOH medium? Well it definitely means that OOH advertisers will be looking to more integrated and data-led advertising techniques in order to stay on top of consumer trends. It also means that people will be outside again – longer days and warmer weather will mean lots of outdoor activities, ones that people have been missing more months. The media company, Kinetic Worldwide, predicts that 81% of people are planning on visiting a shopping centre or high street, 76% are planning a holiday or staycation, and 58% are planning on visiting a restaurant. Consumers will be outside, which means that OOH advertises have the opportunity to reignite the flame that they lost during the pandemic. Let’s take a look at how brands can capitalize on this summers’ audience behavioural trends using OOH advertising.

Local advertising is still important

An image of a billboard advertisement  for ShopRite.

Yes it’s true, a lot of consumers will be heading outdoors for the first time in a long time this summer, however, the pandemic isn’t over and more than likely, people will be staying within their own neighbourhoods to do their grocery shopping, getting exercise, hanging out with friends, etc. This provides OOH with the opportunity to engage with people who are more willing than ever to engage with the things that are happening in their own communities. Since everyone has been spending all of their time in their own neighbourhoods, they are all the more aware of the changes that happen to it, including new advertisements. This summer will be the best time for brands to introduce new products and new store openings through local OOH billboards, Digital OOH (DOOH) signs, and truck-side ads. Truck-side advertising specifically is a great medium for reaching people in their own localities. Trucks can move throughout multiple neighbourhoods and down specific streets to reach people in their homes, their local parks, and near their local stores. 

Buy Buy Buy

Coming out of the slump of the pandemic, people are going to want to start spending their money again. Over the pandemic, consumer spending habits changed drastically. People started investing a lot of money in their homes and almost all purchases were made online. However, when retail stores, restaurants, and bars open up again, people will definitely be opening their wallets and splurging on what they missed out on while they were cooped up in their homes. Consumers have been forced to shop solely online, which means the burnout for online ads is huge. Again, this gives OOH advertisers the opportunity to promote new and exciting products outside – where people are more likely to want to digest the ads that they see. It would be smart of OOH advertisers to create ads for that stoke inspiration about how and where consumers should spend their money this summer. 

Consumer Routines

Bairbre Bryne from Clear Channel says that, “daily routines simplify decision-making, so when people’s usual routines are altered, they look to create new ones.”. Two huge changes will be happening this summer, first the restrictions around the pandemic will ease, and the weather will get increasingly warmer. Consumers’ daily routines will surely alter (heavily) as these two factors come to fruition. OOH advertisers can help shape these new routines drastically, by reaching consumers right before the important decision-making happens. 

Programmatic OOH (Hammering It Home)

An image of a billboard advertisement for Baywatch.

Programmatic advertising has been all the rage for quite some time now, which accelerated immensely during the pandemic. According to an emcoutdoor blog post, “programmatic served a number of very real, immediate needs for advertisers during the pandemic. The ability to activate campaigns with very short turnaround times, the flexibility to pause and restart as lockdown circumstances dictated, the ability to change out creative at the drop of a hat, all provided advertisers with a level of speed and flexibility that played to the needs of the pandemic.” And this won’t change even after the pandemic. Now that advertisers and brands are aware of the ease and efficiency that programmatic OOH can offer, it will be used more and more frequently in future ad campaigns. This summer for example, could see programmatic ads being used for Dairy Queen to promote their new flavour of McFlurry, targeting consumers when the temperature outside gets above a certain degree. Programmatic OOH ads will be great over the summer months because so many businesses will open up again and advertisers will be able to promote whatever they need to in the blink of an eye. 

Real-Time Measurement

An image of a billboard ad for beer.

In the past, advertisers strayed from OOH advertising because of its inability to measure consumer behaviours and ad campaign analytics. However, that has drastically changed in the last five years. With companies like Geopath coming out with analytic-driven tools like their Mobility Dashboard, where they can essentially track consumer behaviour as it’s happening, OOH has become extremely measurement-focused. Before, the medium couldn’t compete with online advertising, but now it’s able to track who sees what, at the right time, in the right place. This will be extremely beneficial for the summer months because of the changes that consumers will face over the next little while. More than likely, people will be going to cottages, having barbecues, playing outdoor sports, and enjoying patios – all things that aren’t necessarily possible right now. For example, being able to switch up an advertisement during the August long weekend when everyone will be heading along highways to cottage destinations is imperative for advertisers.

Wrap Up

Although it might be hard to visualize right now, people will be out and about a lot this coming summer. What advertisers need to stay on-top of, is their ability to reach people with flexibility, speed, and relevant advertising. The best way for them to do this, is by utilizing OOH advertising to the best of it’s ability – tracking real-time analytics, using DOOH ads, focusing on hyperlocal ads, and capitalizing on programmatic data. As the days get longer and hotter, advertisers need to pay close attention to the changes in consumer behaviour and the best way to do that is through OOH advertising.

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