Outlook 2023 - Outdoor media sector optimistic

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 21 December 2022
Joe Yates via Unsplash.

The out-of-home (OOH) sector in Australia is optimistic about the prospects for 2023, with developments in digital OOH, the continued return of people to CBDs, the rise of sustainability and why effectiveness is key.

The industry sees 2023 as the year of outdoor. 

SMI (Standard Media Index) numbers for October showed outdoor ad spend up 51% year-on-year to be back above the $100 million mark. 

Tim Murphy, chief sales officer at oOh!media: “With fewer disruptions and no lockdowns, we’ve seen a strong uplift in audiences returning to outdoor environments throughout 2022. This has resulted in a positive year with greater confidence in the out-of-home sector. 

“While there is positivity in spending in the lead-up to Christmas, there is also a cautionary narrative of inflation and aggressive interest rate rises that we are watching very closely and may impact consumer confidence in 2023.

“Despite future challenges, audiences will continue to move about and this is being recognised by new and existing clients. Major advertisers understanding the importance of planning for seasonal events, briefing us earlier than ever before. We’ve seen a significant surge of briefs over November and December and as a result our pipeline for Q1 2023 is as healthy as it has ever been. There is also a noticeable appetite for brands to explore and plan for long-term activity with OOH driving demand across all networks, including Airports and Office towers.

“As an industry, we will continue to invest in building our digital offerings. This will make it easier for clients to plan and buy through standardisation of measurement, terminology, specifications, and delivery. Client results from our Brand Buyer Tracking is proof that OOH drives incredible outcomes for clients across all categories and customer segments. If we can make it a more frictionless process to buy, then the sector’s growth rate will continue to climb with pace and scale.

“Creativity will also be the key to attracting attention and making brands unmissable. We are excited to have the ability to provide our clients with more insights to boost engagement with our creative effectiveness tool, POLYGRAPH.

“While smart brands and media organisations are backing OOH’s capabilities, intelligence and innovation, they are also looking to us as the leader in OOH to be more sustainable and inclusive. Our ESG team will be working more in this space with our employees and clients to find more sustainable ways of working in 2023.”

John O'Neill, CEO at QMS: From eyeballs to influence (quality reach)

"While reach will continue to be an important metric of any campaign, 2023 will bring a greater focus on the quality of reach.

"At the forefront of this will be the inclusion of attention alongside traditional metrics for media planning and buying, aided by the uniformity of the attention model across all major media channels, including OOH. 

"Understanding the influence of OOH activity on campaign effectiveness and business performance will see the continued rise of measurement solutions including attribution (footfall and online), creative performance, brand health and campaign evaluation.

  1. From top of funnel to full funnel (omni-channel connection)

"Out of home has always been a powerful one-to-many medium, predominantly used to drive awareness. However, with the right planning and activation, digital OOH (DOOH) can also have a significant impact right through the sales funnel.

"Greater digitisation, programmatic expansion and increased data integration have seen the channel evolve into something more sophisticated, with capabilities that extend its strategic relevance more than ever before.

"Next year will see a greater opportunity for DOOH right across the sales funnel from awareness to advocacy, creating additional opportunities for DOOH as a connected part of an omni-channel solution for brands.

  1. From fun to fundamental (creative led campaigns)

"Where once we spoke about creativity in OOH as something that was a one-off stunt or a cheeky headline, creativity is now so entrenched into the strategic planning, design and execution of DOOH that it has gone from a “nice to have” to a “must have”, or as we like to say from fun to fundamental in driving creative cut through and campaign success. 

"The rise in DOOH technological capabilities and an abundance of research highlighting the rising importance of creativity as a driver of effectiveness have combined to create a tipping point, which we expect will result in a greater investment of time and resources into the development and execution of DOOH creative in 2023. This will include 3D, contextual and dynamic creative as brands strive for cut through and impact.

  1. From hygiene factor to smart business (ESG priorities)

"No longer hygiene factors, the impact the OOH industry has on people and the planet is now a critical business priority for all participants. Investing in responsible innovation that reduces our environmental impact for a more sustainable future – and cultivating authentic diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging programs where everyone feels welcomed and valued – will continue to be areas of focus and momentum."

Paul Butler, managing director at VMO: "We are very optimistic about the future of OOH with audiences returning en masse to all our environments. We see 2023 as a pivotal year in the growth of the VMO business as we continue to invest in high quality, high-impact digital screen formats.

"The implementation of MOVE 1.5 measurement across all major Outdoor providers sets a strong foundation for further industry collaboration as we move closer to the launch of MOVE 2.0 in 2024. With MOVE 2.0 for the first time, the industry will have standardised measurement across all formats and metro/regional markets.

"Improved insight into Outdoors unique ability to reach mass audiences and target harder to reach demographics will no doubt increase the sectors attractiveness to advertisers.

"We’re seeing a strong client appetite for programmatic campaign flexibility. In 2023 we’ll see more clients invest a proportion of their budgets in programmatic as part of their overall campaign mix.  There will be a greater focus on effectiveness research to better understand how this investment supports brand/performance metrics and overall business outcomes.

"VMO will continue to drive sector innovation offering new technologies such as Header Bidding and Dynamic Creative Optimisation.  These tools offer advertisers greater control over their campaigns and therefore more reasons to consider OOH solutions."

Brad Palmer, national programmatic director at JCDecaux: "For 2023 at JCDecaux we are excited about the opportunity programmatic trading presents for the ad industry. With more industry collaboration, it can reach its potential in Australia and align with other, international markets such as Germany, UK, and US where the average Programmatic DOOH revenue is between 10-20 percent and where DOOH plays a more prominent role in omnichannel strategies.

"Currently Australia is trading three percent of the DOOH revenue as programmatic and we want to see that grow next year alongside the planning of DOOH in a true omichannel way and not in silo from other channels. Australia has experienced growth in the last couple of years in Programmatic DOOH, with new and existing advertisers testing the medium due to its flexibility and innovative uses of data.

"With the application of data to Programmatic DOOH campaigns such as JCDecaux’s Adobe DMP, this allows DOOH audiences to be shared to DSPs such as Yahoo who are enriching the omnichannel strategy across video, display, native and audio. This unique DMP connection is giving JCDecaux’s advertisers the ability to leverage data from public screens and bring it into the trackable private screens."

Josh Fitzgerald, national sales director at Revolution360: "2023 will be the year that brands pivot to giving out-of-home the share of marketing spend that it deserves. The way brands can achieve mass reach is evolving rapidly and prioritising an unfair share of spend towards screens is a thing of the past. The viewing environment is simply too fragmented and CPMs are too expensive to justify allocating the same level of spend that it’s commanded as previous years, especially if you’re targeting the under 40s.

"Out-of-home remains one of the few media channels with increasing audiences and with more sophisticated ways of understanding those audiences, and it can demonstrate the efficiency in which brands can talk to their target market. Whilst there’s been a shift towards digital campaigns and programmatic offerings in recent times, share of time and brand presence will be themes of growing importance in the short-term future.

"The global macro-economic environment in the next two years will be testing for brands and the media industry alike - the smart marketers will continue to invest in their brand regardless of any economic downturn.

"The big winners will be those who provide brands the opportunity to stand out from their competitors backed by audience data while validating their share of the marketing budget."

Mo Moubayed, cofounder at Veridooh: “Out-of-home has proven the unique value it provides as one of the few one-to-many advertising mediums that can reach people in outdoor spaces. Marketers, and audiences, appreciate this more post-COVID so it’s not surprising that OOH has recovered so quickly and this recovery will continue in 2023.

"In addition to that, next year we will see further growth in the sector come from brands either investing in OOH for the first time or returning after a long hiatus. There are a few factors leading to this. Most importantly, media owners have been upgrading their assets, whether that be providing screens in more locations or adopting new technologies for better targeting and verification.

"This means greater flexibility and accountability in OOH which is attracting ad dollars. For example, brands that have traditionally been thought of as online brands have released massive OOH campaigns, such as Whatsapp with its 3D billboard and Airbnb’s big OOH push. In 2023, more D2C brands will follow suit and make a splash with big OOH campaigns. I’m excited to see what creativity this will bring to the sector. 

"The other main trend that will continue over the next 12 months is more brands using OOH for good. For years, consumers have been demanding brands reflect their values, whether it’s relating to topics such as environmental issues, domestic violence, or the gender pay gap.

"OOH is the perfect medium for marketers to raise these issues and get people talking. A recent campaign from the Big Issue in the UK used billboards to let audiences know when a street vendor was within range of a digital screen. As a result, magazine sales increased by 400%. This shows that OOH can be part of the solution and provide real value to communities. Next year, we face a range of challenges, such as cost-of-living pressures, climate change, and gender equality. Expect to see more brands use OOH in creative ways to join the conversation.”

Charmaine Moldrich, CEO at OMA (Outdoor Media Association): "You’ve no doubt seen the predictions from my colleagues that 2023 will be the year of outdoor— deduced from very real research and data that shows people are out and about more, travelling more, and even noticing and enjoying their surroundings more in our post-pandemic world.

"While all of this is true, the growth of the channel and the ‘Year of Outdoor’ will come from two very defined streams that the industry has invested a lot in and spent many years planning: measurement and programmatic buying. They are linked and they are our sweet spot. 

"The journey began with this year’s roll out of MOVE 1.5 and the Neuro Impact Factor which took Out of Home measurement beyond attention to measuring impact. While attention is the new buzz word in advertising measurement, it is something the OOH industry have been reporting for years.

"When we launched MOVE in 2010 we introduced LTS or Likelihood to See – which is another way of saying we only report the people who are paying attention. What MOVE 1.5 has added is an attention metric for digital signs as well as qualitative metric based on neuroscience, showing the impact of campaigns of both classic and digital signs. 

"It's a world first and one we are all learning about. The Neuro Impact Factor is applied on Classic and DOOH to maximise the entire toolkit: reach, frequency and impact. Everyone now has a better understanding of how the different formats work with each other and the role creative plays in delivering a better return on investment.  

"This ground-breaking new metric will showcase how brand activations come to life in 2023, proving the true effectiveness of the channel. 

"We have also opened our measurement to provide a standard industry programmatic measure – the Impression Multiplier – which will be in market in the early part of 2023. The Impression Multiplier gives the audience of a single ad play, and will make it easier to report on campaigns.

"With the release of this metric, Programmatic is poised to grow rapidly; delivering highly visible campaigns at scale and targeting contextually in the real world. Programmatic will open a whole new distribution channel for us, with different clients and different campaigns that may have been bought using online screens in the past. 

"And, not wanting to stand still, we continue to develop the jewel in our crown: MOVE 2.0, our $17 million investment to give buyers more accurate and granular audiences for both Classic and Digital signs. MOVE 2.0 will for the first time provide measurement in rural and regional Australia giving buyers a nationwide measurement for over 100,000 signs. It’s a world-class system that is being built with full transparency in collaboration with the MFA and the AANA. As we did when we launched MOVE in 2010. There’s little doubt that MOVE 2.0 will be a game changer for the industry.

"There is an African Proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” And in 2023 I encourage everyone to collaborate, experiment, push your creativity, and let’s go far together."

Kirsty Dollisson, managing director at TorchMedia: "The Out-of-Home industry is primed for a stellar year in 2023. 2022 has been an exhausting but rewarding year of recovery - laying the foundations for growth with considerable time and effort invested in major collaborative projects such as MOVE 2.0 and industry sustainability. This spirit will continue to drive the OOH industry forward, working collaboratively to meet the needs of agencies and advertisers into the future. The industry has grown with many new members, and unlike other channels, our audiences are growing. 

"Looking to 2023, we expect to see the industry surpass 2019 investment levels, driven by audiences returning across all environments. There are many important and exciting events scheduled for next year such as Sydney World Pride, Vivid Sydney, SXSW (South by Southwest) and the FIFA Women’s World Cup which will help to drive growth, with people engaging not just on their daily commute, but while out and about exploring their cities.

"Transit Media is set for a big year in 2023, with public transport patronage back to steady levels regardless of hybrid working models. The latest Sydney University Transport Opinions Survey (September 2022) showed that working from home has dropped from 43% of all works hours in March 2022 to 26% in September 2022.

"Large scale investment into projects such as the Sydney Metro, Brisbane Cross River Rail and the Metro Tunnel in Melbourne will continue to bolster the transit media segment, with more accessible and inclusive public transport options leading to increasingly diverse audiences for advertisers to reach.

"There is no doubt the pandemic has driven a shift in travel behaviour. There has been significant growth in leisure travel and people commuting into the CBD on weekends across the Eastern Seaboard. Interestingly, weekend travel now over indexes pre-Covid levels as people reengage with their cities, attending live events, exhibitions and eating out in restaurants and pubs.  TorchMedia is excited to be bringing our latest research piece to market in early 2023 to support these trends, highlighting the attitudes and behaviours of transit commuters.

"Our outlook for 2023 is extremely positive for the Out-of-Home industry and the Transit Media segment specifically. Having embraced these post-Covid changes to travel behaviour, we are excited to help new and existing clients engage with our valuable transit audiences and deliver effective results for all campaigns."


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