Does OOH still work in a pandemic?

[18 December]

What. A. Year.

2020 has put us all through our paces, professionally and personally. There have been challenges that we never dreamt of facing, and as a business that relies on people being out of their homes, a clear instruction to stay at home left us scratching our heads over how things would work out.

Out of Home campaigns during a lockdown seemed counter-intuitive, but the clients who put their faith in us were rewarded. Audiences were minimised, but with our in-depth knowledge of the OOH inventory, and our quick adaptation to deliver the audience insights we could share, delivered strong campaigns in locations that remained busy. As restrictions eased, our mapping tools showcased the panels close to stores which saw queues of shoppers waiting to enter.

Fast forward to the present moment, and we’ve had several mini-lockdowns, some more extreme than others, which have had limited impact on people movement. As a result the Covid-19 virus continues to spread and further, enhanced restrictions are expected to come into force after Christmas.

Ad metrics up despite Covid

For those brands who took our advice to continue advertising, even when it seemed like a risky strategy, they were rewarded. Recently published research from PML Group, Going Local, looked at the aggregated research results of 400 campaigns, active in some form from March 2020. Across all key metrics, including recall, relevance, understanding and call to action campaigns have performed better in 2020 than in the same period in 2019.

The reason for this uplift is due to the greater sense of community, and awareness of our local environment. 72% of adults agreed that they were paying more attention to what’s happening in their community now, rising to 84% of 45-54 year olds. Working from home, reliance on local convenience stores and more time to explore our close surroundings has fostered a greater sense of community than ever before.

Similar findings were also reported across the UK, with campaigns showing +51% increase in ad recall, +16% purchase intent and +3% consideration.

While the future remains somewhat uncertain, vaccinations are taking place daily, and we believe that while another full lockdown may be challenging, we’re more aware and less anxious about life during it. Out of Home delivers campaigns in niche and broadcast locations, with effective community placement and message delivery.

Delivering data and ideas

Our Now Near Next series distilled as much information as we could find, helping to inform and educate clients about the audience behaviours, movements and their sentiments on a range of topics. These articles, have formed a significant part of our marketing output for 2020, and they’re all available to access on our website. Going into 2021 with restrictions in place is undoubtedly a setback, however we’re armed with data and information we didn’t have in March, and of course we will continue to deliver Now Near Next.

Add some creativity into our data offering, and there are even more strengths in Out of Home. From innovative and unique ways to deliver messaging to audiences, the skills to deliver covid-friendly audience engagements and the strong content generated via OOH specials allows our innovation team to shine.

So many people have mentioned writing off the year completely, but we’ve learnt and adapted more this year than ever. Our teams, our industry and our OOH has shown incredible resilience. There is no doubt that whatever the future holds, Outdoor will be ready to deliver trusted messaging to audiences, right across Northern Ireland.

It turns out even a global health crisis can’t dampen the benefits delivered by Out of Home. Bring on 2021!