2021: Upcoming Out-Of-Home Trends

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We don’t have to wait for December to make 2021 predictions on OOH trends. In fact, we didn’t. But it’s always good to come back to those predictions at the actual year’s end, gauge if predictions solidify and are likely to emerge in 2021.

Firstly, the way advertising content is created as well as delivered is going to be a bit different due to the impact of COVID-19 on 2020. Then we have features which are bound to emerge sooner or later, such as programmatic outdoor advertising. The question is merely if 2021 will be the year for that. Overall, most agree that 2021 will be a year of healing. There is unlikely to be any controversial or shocking OOH trends. After all, nobody is keen on taking great risks with unstable ground at their feet. Keep reading to see what else the year ahead has in store for our industry!

A change in messaging

As COVID-19 spread, advertising of all sorts adapted to and with it. In a similar way most ads which act as PSAs for drinking and driving, or smoking, COVID-19 ads were very much based on emotion. That type of messaging has arisen and proven to be more effective in 2020. Thus, under the given circumstances, it is likely we will see that particular ingredient show up more often in all types of advertising, not just outdoors.

When it comes to the tools used for messaging, there is a slight shift happening there as well. Studies from all around the world have confirmed people appreciate the outdoors more and with it the outdoor signage. This is an indicator that all types of outdoor messaging, including traditional signage, as well as digital, are on the rise. Additionally people have become more open to different approaches, such as audio. After all, appreciating the physical world makes sense! Especially after the global population forced itself to do nearly everything online for a year.

An almost certain rise of programmatic OOH

We’ve mentioned programmatic outdoor advertising in the past as one of the OOH trends that will come out pretty much through natural progression. As the feature of programmatic ads online has done so well and is by now accepted as the norm, it only stands to reason that it will spread to other realms of advertising. 

Each day we see more and more articles and discussions on how it will OOH recover in 2021. Industry experts anticipate 2021 to standardize programmatic DOOH. Still, keep in mind the many challenges in the way. 

“Standardizing the way DOOH inventory is termed and categorized is a significant step forward for efficiency in our industry and can greatly facilitate buying and expand opportunities for all stakeholders. Of equal importance is the Out-of-Home industry’s collective commitment to developing the best possible experience for advertisers and our entire channel," said Anna Bager, President and CEO of OAAA.

The ad ecosystem will grow more complex

2020 undoubtedly saw the greatest use of internet bandwidth in recorded history. Online marketing has skyrocketed and all consumer audiences have gotten accustomed to it. With that said, outdoor advertising, including other types of “offline” advertising will need to elevate their efforts. This, of course, doesn’t mean abandoning ship and shifting fully to online. It means that the interconnectivity of, say, social media and physical advertising will be a more fruitful investment.

An illustration of a labyrinth

As a result, the overall advertising scheme will become more complex. Digital signage users will likely step up with linking their online presence with their outdoor ads. Consequently, digital signage software will face a greater challenge in ensuring linking can be done with ease

The rise of TikTok

Like it or not, TikTok is here to stay, at the very least for another year. With the massive potential for anyone to go viral, much in the same way Vine did in the past, you would be wise to look into incorporating it in your marketing efforts, should it fit your brand and business plans.

The reason we mention TikTok in a digital signage context is because it’s yet another social media platform which can be tied into your digital signage campaigns. Businesses that use the hottest social media platforms would likely want to notify their customers of that. The best way to do it is directly in-store with digital signage!

Smartphone display with apps, with highlight on TikTok as an app

In conclusion, with all these points in mind, we can make a smaller and less groundbreaking prediction. Digital signage software will face a tougher job in satisfying the expectations of users given the rise of uses and complexity of content. But then, of course, we anticipate and will ensure a job done with success!

To see what else awaits us in 2021, be sure to check out our previous article on this topic!

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    Aks has been a writer in the digital signage world for over 5 years, bringing you the best of cases and news this industry has to show. Thoughts or suggestions on topics you'd like to see? Drop him an email at aks@onsign.tv.