Happy New Year! It’s that time again to take our learnings from the past year and apply them to what we see taking shape in the out-of-home (OOH) advertising space in the year ahead.  So in typical AdQuick fashion, we’ve compiled broader OOH ad industry trends and insights and coupled them with our own OOH know-how—along with what we’ve heard from our customers recently—to put together a list of our top 10 out-of-home advertising predictions for 2022. We could have added a lot more, but for the sake of keeping this article as short, sweet, and actionable as possible, we reigned it in.

Our hope is that, by reading through these predictions, you’ll see that out-of-home advertising is not only poised to diversify and grow significantly in 2022 but also to rapidly transform the entire advertising ecosystem (in a good way!). If you’ve only dabbled in OOH ads in the past, this should give you plenty of reasons to double down on your investment.

So, drum roll, please: Here are our top 10 OOH predictions for 2022...

Prediction #1: TV, social advertising will face some big headwinds

Let’s kick things off with a prediction that, funny enough, doesn’t really have much to do with out-of-home advertising. At least, not directly. That being said, the major headwinds that are already hitting TV and social advertising are important to call out because they will create another opportunity for out-of-home to fill the void. Why? Unlike these channels, out-of-home advertising still offers the kind of reach, cost efficiency, and attribution sophistication that brands demand from their advertising dollars today.

Now, as far as TV and social go, here are a few thoughts for you to chew on...

Social Advertising: Government regulators, in the U.S. and around the world, have been playing hardball with the biggest social media players recently—and, in most cases, for good reason. But this also happens to coincide with much of the tech world starting to talk about Web3. If you don’t know what that is, here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

“Web3, also known as Web 3.0, is an idea for a new iteration of the World Wide Web that incorporates decentralization based on blockchains. Some technologists and journalists have contrasted it with Web 2.0, wherein they say data and content are centralized in a small group of companies sometimes referred to as ‘Big Tech’.”

Moving towards a Web3 world can and will have many implications—with the social media advertising ecosystem being one of the first things to get put on the chopping block (or, at the very least, lose its dominance), in lieu of other monetization efforts and revenue streams that more directly reward users and creators. YouTube’s new ‘Super Thanks’ tipping feature and Twitter’s ‘Super Follows’ product are great examples of this.

The most important thing to take away from this, however, is that the impending decentralization of the digital world, of which social media plays a big part, could potentially make it less reliant on traditional advertising dollars overall. And, therefore, brands will need other ways to get their messages out to consumers.

TV Advertising: Although more people have spent time plopped down in front of their TVs during the COVID-19 pandemic, that hasn’t slowed down cord-cutting. In fact, the consumer audiences that brands want to reach and engage the most—primarily those in the 18-to-29 age range—represent the groups cutting the cord the fastest. And let’s be honest, the more that set-top boxes continue to drop like flies, the less desirable broadcast TV advertising will become to brands over time. TV just won’t have the same reach and relevance that it once had before consumers started shifting their attention in greater numbers to other digital entertainment channels.

Prediction #2: Media mix diversification will be critical

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world—including consumer behavior—in profound ways. As people have gone in and out of lockdowns or other restrictions over the past two years, they’ve relied heavily on the digital world to keep them connected and entertained. But everything has a saturation point. In fact, recent research by Ernst & Young shows that 47% of consumers are experiencing some sort of digital fatigueand actively seeking out ways to untether themselves from their various connected devices.

This tendency towards digital fatigue also comes on the heels of the following:

  • The cost of digital advertising is at an all-time high
  • Many digital attribution models have been found to be ineffective
  • The death of the third-party cookie is right around the corner

While all of this may spell doom and gloom for digital advertising, it creates an opportunity for marketers to diversify their media mix and rethink their approach to out-of-home advertising. In fact, some have even started to test OOH priming as a potential workaround for the future cookie-less online ads world. And knowing that many consumers are now looking for alternative (read = non-digital) ways to engage with brands, it’s critical for brands to follow suit.

This basically means that out-of-home advertising is poised to fill a massive void—while still offering marketers the benefits of greater contextual relevance (in terms of creative, messaging, and location), higher brand recall, and the lowest CPMs of any traditional medium today.

Prediction #3: Maintaining top-of-mind awareness is more important than ever

With the cost of goods rising and supply chain challenges weighing heavily on consumer sentiment, McKinsey has found that customer loyalty is waning in a big way. In some cases, even a brand’s most loyal customers are switching from their once-preferred brands and retailers in search of others that can get them their goods faster. And while out-of-home advertising, on its own, can’t fix these broader infrastructural issues, it is truly effective at reinforcing top-of-mind awareness that can help keep your customers from deflecting.  

Prediction #4: Real-time ad optimization will be an absolute priority

Measurement and optimization are the watchwords of advertising today—and more marketers are (finally) catching on. In fact, there’s never been a time when the need for creative flexibility has ever been more important. Fortunately, the continued growth, sophistication, and prevalence of programmatic digital OOH (DOOH) will play a big role in changing marketers’ perceptions about the out-of-home space as a whole. If you haven’t run any DOOH media buys in the past, here’s why this is important. Programmatic DOOH lets marketers adjust their out-of-home strategies, optimize creative and messaging, and pause campaigns in real-time—typically, with only a single click or two—in order to boost performance and get the best possible results out of every dollar spent.

Prediction #5: Changes in local signage laws could have an industry-wide impact

There is a case being argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court where the plaintiff is claiming that Austin’s local signage regulations around digital billboards are in violation of the first amendment (aka, free speech). The issue here is that while digital billboards can be used by businesses to promote their products and services on-premises, they can’t be used off-site. Only static (or analog) billboards are currently allowed for this purpose. What the plaintiff is trying to do is transform a large number of the city’s static billboards into digital billboards.

Now, why does this matter? First of all, any first amendment issues related to advertising tend to send far-reaching ripples throughout the entire industry. The ruling on this case could impact the future growth and broader availability of programmatic DOOH inventory. As noted above, with marketers making measurement and optimization a top priority, this could give them yet another reason to start shifting even more marketing dollars to the out-of-home space.

Prediction #6: Secondary OOH markets will be in the spotlight

With the COVID-19 pandemic being a major catalyst for the great urban migration—where many people left the U.S.’s biggest and most expensive cities in search of a better overall quality of life—these big population shifts have given marketers a new reason to start advertising in secondary markets like Austin, Boise, Charlotte, Nashville, and Phoenix.

We’ve seen this play out first-hand based in the media buys happening on AdQuick’s platform. In fact, interest in OOH ads in some of these secondary markets spiked so quickly that we started to see some pretty significant (and unprecedented) inventory shortages. Therefore, not only do we see these markets being more of a focus in the year ahead, but we also anticipate available inventory becoming even more competitive. Fortunately, this will also give rise to new OOH ad units and broader innovation around out-of-home advertising in these markets.

Prediction #7: CPG brands will become OOH advertising’s biggest customers

We already know that CPG brands are some of the world’s biggest advertisers. Because of this, they tend to be some of the world’s savviest marketers, too, having leaned into the benefits of targeting, measurement, and optimization well before it was “cool.” And now, thanks to our new innovations around purchase-based targeting and measurement in out-of-home advertising, we have a solid hunch that CPG brands will start to double-down on OOH ads like never before.

Prediction #8: Access to real-time inventory data will be a game-changer

Buying OOH ad inventory in the past was not always easy. Not only was it a highly manual process but it also required both local market knowledge (of available ad inventory) and 1:1 relationship-building with media owners. Fortunately, solutions like AdQuick have made the former headaches of buying OOH media a thing of the past. And with the expansion of real-time inventory availability data, brands now have a more agile and transparent way to execute effective OOH ad campaigns at scale. This new ease of planning and buying OOH media has made, on its own, the entire out-of-home ecosystem feel more attractive and accessible.

Prediction #9: Political advertising is going to surge

You might have heard that there’s this little thing called the mid-term elections coming up in November, which basically means you should prepare yourself for an onslaught of political ads from here on out. What will be different in this election cycle, however, is that Facebook just released stricter rules around political advertising that will no longer permit political groups to target their campaigns to consumers based on their assumed political affiliation (which is determined, roughly, as a byproduct of the content they consume and/or the interactions they have on Facebook or Instagram). This alone will cause political advertisers to look beyond social media advertising to get their messages out to the right voters.

One area in the out-of-home space where we specifically see growth is around mobile digital billboards. Why? These tend to be a great way to broadcast controversial messages—you know, the kinds of things that politicians or political groups like to say—without being bogged down by local regulations (see Prediction #5 above) or requiring prior approval by media owners. In short, new regulations in other advertising channels will require political campaigns to find new ways of getting their messages across. Mobile DOOH billboards are one way to do just that.

Prediction #10: In-airport advertising is about to have a renaissance

With air travel getting closer and closer to pre-pandemic levels with each passing day—in spite of new variants throwing occasional curveballs into the mix—demand for in-airport OOH ad inventory is going to go through the roof. Based on our own data, OOH ad requests including in-airport inventory grew 60% from 2020 to 2021. That is while there has still been a tremendous amount of uncertainty swirling in the air, including ongoing border closures. So we can only assume that, as restrictions continue to ease and more people start traveling once again, demand for in-airport OOH ads is going to grow as we’ve never seen before.

An area where we anticipate a lot of growth is around programmatic DOOH, as these ad units provide marketers with greater flexibility to target campaigns with precision, measure effectiveness, and optimize creative in real-time. This is a stark contrast to static OOH ads that, while still very effective and immersive, typically require longer lead times (sometimes 4-6 weeks) to take creative development, production, and installation into account. Programmatic DOOH ad units, on the other hand, can go live within a matter of days and be adjusted non-stop throughout the entire duration of a campaign. This is key for brands looking to resonate with consumers by tying creative and messaging to the latest travel and lifestyle trends.

Finally, we’re also seeing a big shift in who brands are trying to reach at airports today. In the past, a lot of in-airport out-of-home advertising was focused specifically on business travelers. However, with business travel taking a back seat over the last couple of years, brands now see a new opportunity to use in-airport OOH ads to reach younger, more affluent travelers—those who fit the “digital nomad” mold—with consumer-focused, lifestyle messaging. And although business travel will likely begin to tick up in the coming year or two, our hunch is that this tilt towards B2C advertising in airports is likely to stay—and probably continue to grow.

Have you planned your OOH campaigns for 2022 yet?

If this hasn’t given you enough reason to start making out-of-home advertising a much bigger piece of your media mix pie, then we don’t know what will. What we do know, however, is that all signs are pointing to out-of-home as the advertising channel with the greatest amount of potential, upside, and growth as we head into the new year. So if you’re ready to ride the OOH wave while ad inventory is still ripe for the taking—because, trust us, it will go fast—the team at AdQuick can help get your first (and successful) campaigns of the new year off the ground.

To learn more about how AdQuick can help you diversify your media mix with OOH advertising, be sure to schedule a demo today.


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