Tech companies flock to out-of-home during comeback year



Out-of-home (OOH) advertising isn’t just for the burger chain at the next highway stop. Tech companies are joining in on a medium that saw a boom year in 2021. And the increased interest in OOH, by tech and other categories, is largely because of the ability to integrate the channel into an omnichannel strategy for marketers.

The numbers. OOH ad revenue climbed 16.7% last year, taking the yearly U.S. total to $7.1 billion overall, according to a report from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the trade association for the industry.

Momentum gained throughout the year as vaccines rolled out and people traveled for holidays. Fourth quarter growth was $37.4%.

The leading segment of OOH was digital. With flashy video displays and tech-forward distribution and standardization, digital shot up 22.7% over 2020, and 49.6% in 4Q.

The tech companies. The OAAA reports that 28% of the top OOH advertisers were tech companies or D2C brands. Some of the biggies included Apple, Samsung, T-Mobile, Doordash, Uber and Facebook (remember, it was 2021).

And here are the top 10 OOH advertisers across all categories, in order of spend:

  • McDonald’s
  • Apple
  • Geico
  • Amazon
  • American Express
  • Coca-Cola
  • Allstate
  • Google
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • HBO

Why we care. At a virtual event last year put on by the OAAA, which as a trade association, supports all outdoor and out-of-home media in the U.S., the case was made for e-commerce and other cross-screen strategies that catch consumers while they’re out in the world and close to a sale. Sure, you use your phone to order an Uber. But that’s because the bus line was too long, and on the bus shelter was an Uber ad. The large number of tech companies using OOH signals that the digital transformation in advertising is keeping up with mobile-first, on-the-go lives.

Read next: DOOH advertisers seek hyper-local, contextual targeting

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.


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