Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Five trends that will define Out-of-Home in 2023

by Kate Tovey, Director of Customer Engagement, JCDecaux UK

Following a difficult couple of years, the out-of-home (OOH) advertising industry once again thrived in 2022 as audiences returned to cities, airports, railways, and shops. However, 2022 was not a carbon copy of previous years. At JCDecaux UK, we saw more programmatic campaigns, a greater use of data, and an emphatic focus on diversity and sustainability. These trends will shape the evolution of OOH in 2023 in many ways. 

Programmatic shakes off its ‘nascent’ status and DOOH becomes more connected

In 2022, we saw more than 230 brands invest in programmatic DOOH (prDOOH) campaigns in the UK activated by 21 DSPs with almost 2,000 different creatives used and spend has more than doubled. These figures show that prDOOH is out of the nascent stage of development and has earned a place in the mainstream marketing mix. 

As adoption accelerates in 2023, we will see all forms of DOOH becoming more connected to the wider online advertising ecosystem. This proliferation will result in greater awareness among digital and traditional buyers and an increase in the number of hybrid teams that are actively involved in the planning and buying of online and offline advertising. 

More strategic use of data

Programmatic capabilities have also been instrumental in shaping new data-driven strategies. The use of trigger-based targeting in prDOOH has opened marketers’ eyes to the power of using data to predict future behaviour rather than basing future plans on previous behaviours or trends. 

At the heart of this trend will be a test and learn approach as advertisers look to find cost-effective ways to trial new strategies before making long-term commitments. We’ll also see a more collaborative approach with media owners, agencies, brands, and data companies forming close partnerships to prove value for all players and leverage their collective knowledge. 

The more strategic use of data and an increase in the number of test and learn campaigns will also influence developments in measurement. Today, advertisers use a multitude of metrics to assess the performance of OOH – from impressions and reach, to brand awareness, to online and offline sales. The challenge has been establishing which of those metrics are the most appropriate indicators of success. 

In 2023, buyers will start to consolidate measurement and focus on a smaller number of metrics selected strategically based on campaign goals rather than legacy KPI reporting. 

Increased digitisation and a focus on quality

In response to demand for digital, the OOH industry continues to reinvent itself and in 2023 we will see more innovation in formats to meet the needs of today’s young digital brands that are yet to embrace OOH. This trend has already kicked in with examples including TikTok, owned virtual reality company, PICO, using our Digital Spectacular at Westfield London to promote their new all-in-one headset, shown below. 

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More screens will result in a rise in the number of available impressions which, in turn, will cause media buyers to enter a new optimisation phase whereby the quality of screens is baked into the value equation alongside cost. 

Media for good

Sustainability, diversity, equality, and inclusion will continue to take centre stage in advertisers’ minds across all channels. In OOH specifically, there will be more emphasis on the work that media owners do to improve the local environment and community in which their screens are located. 

Unlike other digital channels, DOOH and prDOOH offer unique opportunities to deliver value though ‘media for good’ which will be a learning curve for those new to the OOH industry as they seek to go beyond calculating the carbon footprint of campaigns. For example, all our screens are powered by green energy; we are reducing our impacts and around 50% of our revenues go back into the community as we develop products that enhance lives in cities – including our lifesaving defibrillators that have over 300 activations so far.

The creative reset

The rise of prDOOH, more integration with other channels, more strategic use of data, increased digitisation, and a continued focus on media for good – the areas that will shape 2023 – will collectively result in a creative re-set as digitally-minded brands seek to capitalise on untapped opportunities. 

Brands that embrace this creative re-set will turn to creative testing solutions to better understand why certain ads work better than others. Early trends we’ve spotted using our in-house creative testing tools have highlighted the potential benefits of simpler visual paths, more local relevance, and more subtle use of people and faces that works with, not against, branding. 

In prDOOH there will also be a big increase in the use of dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) as brands look to maximise relevance. 

And finally, when thinking about what excites me about 2023, it’s not any of these things…it’s the combination of them and powerful ways in which I know advertisers will execute unique campaigns that create true differentiation for the OOH channel in all its guises!