Outlook - Programmatic and digital drive OOH into 2024

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 14 December 2023
This first appeared in print in our February 2019 issue

The out-of-home (OOH) industry of Australia could easily claim to be one of the big winners of 2023.

The latest figures from the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) showed the industry increased net media revenue by 14.6% to $283.3 million in the September quarter.

Digital OOH (DOOH) revenue accounts for 68.5% of total net media revenue year-to-date, an increase over the recorded 57.9% for the same period last year, while year-to-date net media revenue increased 12.8% from the same time in 2022 and is $826.9 million.

These increases in net media revenue followed similar gains in both the June quarter and the March quarter.

oOh! sees strong signs heading into next year

The annual Outfronts of oOh! saw the company unveil everything from a data-led campaign planning and performance suite to plans to lead the out-of-home industry to a more sustainable future.

Media agencies responded positively, focusing on the opportunities that the new premium Sydney network presents for advertisers and the rise of retail media.

Back in August, oOh! reported a 7% jump in revenue to $296.6 million for the half year to June as statutory net profit after tax was up 6% to $6.4 million.

Cathy O'Connor

Cathy O'Connor (pictured right), CEO of oOh!media, said that by any measure, 2023 has been a standout year for OOH, as taking ad spend alone, OOH has consistently outperformed the broader media market according to SMI data. 

“While other traditional media including television has seen ongoing declines in ad revenues, OOH recorded increases, and in all but two months since January, those rises have been double digits,” she said.

“In a fragmented media market, Out of Home remains an aggregator of audiences and the disruption caused by the pandemic is firmly in the rearview mirror. 

“The sector continues to drive innovation, investment in continued digitisation, while delivering enhanced measurement and attribution and meaningful initiatives that deliver sustainable growth.”

It’s a sentiment media agencies agree with - Lucy Formosa Morgan, MD of Magna, said that OOH has had a strong year being a beneficiary of spend moving out of TV, plus increasing advertiser support for programmatic DOOH (which she anticipates will grow considerably in 2024) due to impressive campaign results proving the efficacy of targeting high value audiences.  

Similarly, Andrew Murray, head of trading at UM Australia, said outdoor continued its march back to a strong position off the back of strong growth in digital outdoor led formats such as large format, retail and street furniture. 

“We have also seen increased demand in more traditional formats such as transit as more Australians return to their offices across the country,” he said.

2024 will see the introduction of the biggest evolution in OOH audience measurement with the launch of MOVE 2.0.

This will bring significant new metrics for agencies and advertisers, including regional audiences with over 100,000 signs measured across the country, place-based audience measurement across all formats, and audience data for 365 days a year, including seasonal fluctuations. 

Andrew Murray

Murray (pictured right) said the impending launch of MOVE 2.0 will help deepen the way UM plans Outdoor for its clients. 

“The ability to plan based on improved target audience groups, the refreshed calibration of people/traffic movement statistics and the latest measurement of the impact of digital outdoor panels will be well received by agencies on behalf of their clients,” he told AdNews.

O’Connor said that for oOh!, 2024 promises to be another big year as it focuses on the launch of its fully digital Premium Sydney network, bringing together the major tender wins of Sydney Metro, the exclusive Martin Place precinct and Woollahra Council. 

“This unlocks unparalleled premium locations, reaching affluent audiences in parts of the city previously unobtainable to Out of Home advertisers,” she said.

“The 100% digital network will be featured in the heart of the Sydney CBD’s civic, fashion and business districts and eastern suburbs, and complement oOh!’s exclusive small format coverage of sought after audiences within Mosman and Hunters Hill councils.

“The boom in retail media opens up new avenues to connect with consumers at the critical point of purchase in physical retail environments. Leveraging oOh!’s extensive experience in retail, our retail media business, reooh, empowers retailers to establish and manage in-store retail media networks. This not only drives incremental revenues for retailers and brand advertisers but also enhances the overall retail experience for customers.”

For marketers under pressure to account for every dollar they spend, demands for greater media attribution is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity. 

O’Connor said that oOh! is delivering the most extensive, data-led campaign planning and performance suite in Australian OOH, giving advertisers and agencies behaviour-based data across 800 buyergraphic segments mapped to every one of its 35,000 sites, and through oOh! Outcomes measurement of shifts in sales and purchase based outcomes via exclusive transactional data sets. 

“OOH is and remains a strong media channel for brands to connect with audiences at scale at a time when fragmentation continues to impact other traditional media channels,” she told AdNews

oOh! last week launched seven new sites at premium sites across major arterials in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“The creativity of OOH is unlimited”

After expanding their presence in New Zealand in February, onboarding JCDecaux New Zealand, Vast Billboards, and Mediaworks, Veridooh – whose patented technology, SmartCreative, independently tracks, measures, and verifies 100% of OOH campaigns – set their sights on the UK.

In the course of under nine months, the partnered with iQOOH, Mass Media Outdoor, Smart Outdoor and Mall Media & More, with Veridooh cofounder Mo Moubayed telling AdNews in July that the decision to expand into the UK was driven by the demand for independent verification in the market.

Jeremy Yang and Mo Moubayed

Veridooh cofounder Jeremy Yang (pictured right with Moubayed) said the resilience of OOH has definitely been a stand out story for the advertising industry this year. 

“From our conversations with clients, the factors driving this growth in OOH are the same reasons why the sector has been so strong recently; its rapid digitisation has meant greater flexibility and control for advertisers. Evolving technology means advertisers are using new OOH formats in fresh and innovative ways,” he said.

“For example, Meta’s Reality Labs recently rolled out an immersive halloween OOH campaign for its Meta Quest 3 launch - proving that even big tech knows the power of OOH. The ‘Expand your World’ campaign is an immersive mixed reality experience that lets people step inside ‘thrillboards’ located around London. 

“The creativity of OOH is truly unlimited and brands and media owners are working together to execute fantastic campaigns such as this that demonstrate that.

Yang said that across the wider advertising sector, there are some indications that the market is short for this time of the year, but going back to the macroeconomic conditions, that probably isn’t too surprising. 

“Advertisers are being cautious with their ad dollars as consumer spending is under pressure which means they are investing over shorter periods of time and in proven media, such as OOH,” he told AdNews.

“However, within the OOH sector itself I think it’s more balanced. This time of the year brands are working extra hard to get their Christmas campaigns out over shorter periods but we’re still seeing many brands invest in OOH over longer periods of time.”

Looking ahead to 2024, he said that a challenge and opportunity for the entire industry is ensuring media buyers and marketers know exactly how valuable OOH assets are. 

“That means constantly being in front of agencies and brands showcasing the latest technology, verification and measurement data, improved buying processes, and more,” Yang said.

“Given that OOH is a constantly evolving beast, that’s a big job. The sector has been doing a great job at educating the market to date - the key is keeping it up into the new year.

“To follow on from that, OOH needs to make sure it doesn’t rest on its laurels. With the rise of AI, the metaverse, and other technologies, I think there’s so much opportunity there for the industry to take advantage of these tools to make OOH even stronger and dynamic.”

Programmatic to play a bigger role in 2024?

In a sign of its growing importance, oOh! appointed Georgie Fox head of digital sales to lead a newly created programmatic sales team just over a month ago.

Back in September, sustainable DOOH and electric vehicle charging network JOLT appointed Sam Hannaford in the newly created role of programmatic director.

Scentre Group’s in-house media and advertising division BrandSpace refined its exclusive Screen network with 100% of Scentre Group’s digital out of home network available for programmatic transactions as of September.

Steve O’Connor, CEO at JCDecaux Australia and New Zealand, expects to see programmatic grow in 2024. 

"We have invested in our programmatic capabilities and are now reaping the rewards," he said.

"Programmatic trading not only enhances the agility of campaigns but also enables advertisers to allocate budgets more efficiently. By embracing automation, we empower brands to stay relevant in a fast-paced, ever-changing market."

Taylor FieldingTaylor Fielding (pictured right), MD at TFM Digital said programmatic OOH is going to be big in 2024 as year-on-year digitalisation of OOH sites has increased by 15.9%.

“This has translated to a 125% increase in spending on Programmatic OOH formats over the same time period,” he said.

“What we’re seeing in the franchise sector, with our agency’s billings for DOOH, is an increase of 92% quarter-on-quarter. It's expected during the next 12 months to see doubling or even triple-figure growth in the programmatic space, with more sites and greater planning capability within OMA’s MOVE 2 as it continues to evolve.”

Fielding said that more digital sites allow for reduced barriers to entry and better options for localised and franchised businesses. 

“We’ve seen a lot more uptake over these past six months, and more options will bring more brands to the table,” he told AdNews.

Keren Homan, head of platform strategy at Yahoo Australia, said that there are a lot of reasons for the huge growth being seen (11% up in H1 2023), from the big improvements OOH vendors have made in their sites and the number of placements not on offer to wider market factors such as the decline in linear TV audiences, which mean more advertisers are looking at outdoor as the mass-market element of their campaigns. 

“The rise of programmatic digital out of home (pDOOH) has seen an awful lot of new sites and placements come online in the last year, with more offices and retail screens being opened up as retail media burgeons as a category, and improvements in street furniture have also opened up new opportunities,” she said.

“This has brought in new advertisers to the category for the first time, which has contributed to this overall growth. They’ve been attracted by factors like lower price of entry and the ability of these digital formats to do a great job in the mid-funnel area of the consumer journey, as opposed to OOH’s traditional top-of-funnel appeal.”

Homan said this is driven by things like the ability to use data to better target campaigns around a range of factors and using OOH to tactically drive people to stores - for example, a QSR chain advertising lunch deals between 11am - 2pm near its restaurants. 

“Football Australia did this brilliantly during the FIFA Women’s World Cup to highlight key games and drive people into stadiums,” she told AdNews.

“The data piece is also incredibly important as it allows pDOOH to be planned and bought alongside other digital channels more efficiently, which means we can really see the role it’s playing in a campaign. That’s hugely appealing to advertisers for obvious reasons.”

Homan said she expects to see similar if not greater growth in 2024 for DOOH, and pDOOH in particular, due to four key areas – measurement; greater targeting, standardisations and flexibility; OOH as a linear TV substitute and dynamic creative.

“The rise of pDOOH means there’s a lot more measurement rigour around buys than there has been traditionally in OOH, and in times of tighter budgets it’s vital to be able to point to the return on that investment,” she said.

“Important partnerships like oOh! Media’s recent tie-up with Flybuys are going to allow greater accountability and outcomes based solutions, which is gold for marketers who need to understand effectiveness.

Keren Homan

Homan (pictured right) said that pDOOH in particular gives advertisers greater control and flexibility in campaign execution, which works great with omnichannel campaigns as it allows for precise trigger-based audience targeting at the right place and the right time.

“The introduction of Move 2.0 by the industry in 2024, which includes trading on a CPM level for both direct and programmatic, will be a game-changer and will continue to drive standardisations within the channel,” she said.

“Dynamic creative is a huge opportunity for advertisers to add real context and personalisation in this mass-media channel. This approach not only boosts engagement but also allows real-time data analysis, enabling campaigns to adapt on the fly. 

“AI will obviously allow us to make this much more detailed, personal and real-time based on certain triggers. However, there’s also a warning here - a lot of briefs we get where people think they need AI actually don’t, there are already a lot of data-based solutions that can solve for these opportunities.”

In terms of challenges, however, Homan said that there needs to be increased collaboration across the industry and Yahoo would like to see the mooted trading platform across the top vendors come to life this year. 

“It’ll also be important to continue to increase dialogue between the work being done with direct buys for clients and the pDOOH buys so we can better align strategies and measure outcomes across campaigns,” she told AdNews.

“Supply is also an area where there’s constant improvement, but the more consistent and dedicated supply of inventory there is for the pDOOH space the faster it will develop and bring in more new advertisers. 

“Finally the media agencies themselves need to decide how they’re going to handle pDOOH. It’s complex, does it sit in the OOH team, the screens team or the digital team? Having people dedicated to understanding and harnessing this channel will be important to get more clients humming with pDOOH.”

Digital seeing increased ad spend

Digital outdoor media company VMO unveiled a fresh identity and brand positioning, Outdoor Done Differently, to celebrate its 20th birthday in May, before launching Dynamic Creative for OOH around a month later, providing brands with the ability to dynamically optimise creative that can be personalised to the individual screen.

In September, the company launched its office media network across Australia, with 100 locations in the ground and growing to 300 by the end of 2024. The network will see screens deployed throughout Stockland, Centuria, Centennial Property Group, and Abacus Property commercial portfolios.

Paul Butler

Paul Butler (pictured right), MD of VMO, said that while looking at the broader media industry in 2023, the overall growth is subdued – mainly as the market continues to shake out the impacts of COVID-19 with changes in audience viewing, and inflationary impacts on the broader economy through supply chains - but, looking at the outdoor industry, a different story presents itself.

“What sets this sector apart is its resilience,” he said. 

“Outdoor has been the strongest performing sector to date and is back in strong growth mode; shown in the impressive SMI results with solid +14% growth between January to August. 

“There has also been a shift in the perception of DOOH, which is evident with Digital revenue now accounting for nearly 70% of all Outdoor spend. It has transcended its traditional role and emerged as a premium solution, highly regarded by advertisers for its exceptional creative impact, unparalleled flexibility, swift delivery, and operational efficiency. 

“It’s a strategic choice with a compelling combination of innovation and effectiveness for brands.”

Butler said that in 2023, VMO also saw more of the major agency holding groups investing in programmatic buying within the outdoor space as the market capitalises on the clear tactical advantages gained as part of overall campaign strategy. The improvements of the MOVE 1.5 impression multiplier alongside the advancements in DCO have also significantly removed the barrier to entry. 

“Dominations are also back in a big way,” he said.

“We’ve seen a big spike in demand from big brands who are looking to create maximum impact across our premium iconic locations such as World Square, Manly Wharf, and Chatswood Interchange, to name a few. 

Unsurprisingly, Butler called out the launch of MOVE 2.0 as a highlight for 2024, with the latest OMA research demonstrating the perception of the channel is high, with Outdoor ranked the number 1 channel for driving top-of-the-funnel awareness and desirability, particularly amongst harder-to-reach younger consumers; all of which bodes well for the continued growth of the sector into the future. 

“With opportunities come challenges, and we expect the broader media market to be similar to 2023, with fragmentation expected to continue across many channels resulting in more complex campaign attribution and buying,” he told AdNews.

“Amid the challenges faced by the broader media industry, Outdoor stands out. Although the market is short; there is a silver lining. We’re seeing healthy ad volumes pre-Christmas, promising a positive wrap-up to what has been a transformative year for the outdoor industry.”

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus