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COVID-19 vaccine could lead to a surge in OOH advertising

COVID-19 vaccine could lead to a surge in OOH advertising

Next year will be one of tremendous growth for the OOH space

The world is holding its collective breath for a COVID-19 vaccine. As soon as one is available, both consumer behavior and advertising spending will change. Brands will invest in out-of-home to reach consumers eager to leave their homes and take a break from screens. The spending increase will happen quickly, like a light switch turning on. This could be a great thing for OOH media providers — or incredibly challenging.

In the early months of the pandemic, demand for public transit dropped an average of 75% nationwide. Obviously, the OOH industry took a huge hit. Outfront Media reported a 50% decline in Q2 revenue, compared to 2019. Clear Channel Outdoor said Q2 revenue fell by nearly 55%, while JCDecaux, the world’s biggest OOH advertising group, reported a 66% drop, as reported in The New York Times. To cope with the drop, OOH companies renegotiated rental deals with transport hubs, reduced salaries and hours, and, in some cases, laid off or furloughed employees.

The good news is things are changing and 2021 should be one of tremendous growth. The OOH space needs to shift its mindset quickly and prepare to meet potentially unprecedented demand.

The case for an OOH surge

There is already a strong case for OOH’s value. People are getting outside as much as possible. Many schools are open. Businesses have reopened, too. For better or worse, people are tired of COVID-19-related restrictions. They miss their old lives, and they are eager to get outside and to have in-person experiences.


Of obvious note to marketers: the holiday shopping season is starting earlier this year. Granted, people will do a greater portion of their shopping online, but retail experts believe there is pent up demand for safe in-store experiences, too. At a time when people are craving physical experiences, investing in OOH makes sense. With the right creative, brands can create memorable, powerful advertising campaigns that aren’t lost in the digital stratosphere. Or they can use OOH in tandem with digital marketing.