Industry snapshot: Wissam Traboulsi, BSA

Wissam Traboulsi, CEO, BSA

Has the pandemic fundamentally changed OOH?

Absolutely; it has changed marketing in general. From social media, digital advertising, SEO and paid media to video marketing, the pandemic necessitated a rapid digital transformation in many companies and surviving this phase meant holding on to existing customers and building brand value that connects with customers.

Covid has changed OOH in multiple ways. Businesses struggled to promote and distribute goods and services in new and effective ways, whether through shifting to streaming video, online shopping, or even curbside pickup. However, the pandemic has also pushed marketers to reach a new level of creativity and to find sustainable and effective solutions. They must now look for innovative solutions to help consolidate in order to move quicker with less.

How are client demands changing?

Driven by fear and uncertainty, the pandemic has led to an unprecedented consumption shock across all parts of the world that changed long-standing consumer habits. During the first wave, consumer spending collapsed in most countries and consumers were forced to change behaviour. Companies had to transform business models, governments had to adjust regulations.

Customers are not only looking for sustainable, safe and eco-friendly products, but also for a better digital engagement and improved customer service and experience. Companies that adapt to these changing needs will recover more quickly and be better positioned than their competitors. In the next normal, companies will need to be more proactive and aware as well as able to anticipate customer expectations and needs.

Where should OOH sit in the marketing funnel?

Out-of-home advertising remains a key component as a first and key step in the marketing funnel.

Having said that, outdoor advertising is not just a vehicle for raising awareness, it can also drive purchase consideration and intent, and be used to communicate brand positioning. With the use of technology and data, OOH advertising has become more measurable, evolving from an upper-funnel tactic to a mid-funnel, performance-based strategy.

Key messaging, appropriate tactics and effective OOH media choices can also affect the importance of OOH in the funnel. By segmenting OOH exposure, marketers extend the impact of their out-of-home ad and retarget the audience exposed to the ad on digital platforms to drive awareness and sales.

What role should technology play in OOH?

Digital out-of-home and programmatic digital OOH have changed the face of outdoor advertising. In 2020, we saw an immense uptake in the use of DOOH during the pandemic, and in the coming years, the boom in over-the-top media service platforms will also play a much larger part in OOH.

Digital OOH can control the programmatic process, granting more flexibility in the full process – from planning to the display of ads at a specific moment, in a desired context, to a desired audience. In addition, with the development of beacon adoption, real-time OOH trading and hyper-targeting, OOH will also be a core part of social and mobile strategies.