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Market Voice 26 Oct 2021 - 3 min read

Out of home and into the streets: Australia’s re-opening is a once in a lifetime opportunity; don’t waste it

By Tim Murphy - Chief Sales Officer, oOh!media | Partner Content

As Australia emerges from Covid isolation, there has never been a more critical moment for the out of home sector and the brands it serves.

With Victoria and NSW now out of lockdown and vaccine rates among the highest in the world, Australians are truly embracing the chance to get out of the home. That presents a huge opportunity for brands, says oOh!media Chief Sales Officer Tim Murphy, and the smart advertisers are already exploring smarter ways to reach big audiences and realize great outcomes.

As Australia emerges from Covid isolation, there has never been a more critical moment for the out of home sector and the brands it serves. Lockdowns have hit hard, but after 15 years selling out of home I have never been as enthusiastic about the pending calendar year. Here’s why:

We’re allowed out

We’re allowed out of the house – and even the country – and the rebound is on. At the end of all previous lockdowns in Australia we have seen a rapid return in confidence and spending – and our data from overseas markets that have eased restrictions absolutely underlines this.

Plus, now we have vaccines – and a plan – so brands can reconnect to audiences with much greater confidence that they will not have to chop and change their campaigns.

There’s nothing like out of home’s ability to quickly reach audiences on the move at scale. And new data and targeting techniques mean that the future of campaign planning is audience-led, giving advertisers much sharper tools to drive growth in 2022.

Our Smart Reach tool utilises category buying behaviours of Australians based on aggregated transactional and movement data and maps it to our 35,000 assets down to a product level, forming the basis of our Better Ways to Buyapproach to buying Out of Home. Our campaign results so far have been fantastic. Given the volume of ad budgets that are already starting to shift, we predict audience-led campaigns will become more prominent relative to traditional location and asset-based strategies over the year ahead.

We will continue to update the market on these audience movements through our Audience Intelligence Hub, and Pulse Reports, and continue to sharpen how we share data so it’s foolproof and accountable, whatever the buying method.

As of last week, the hub showed Australian audiences are already back 89 per cent to the same time in October 2020. Watch it grow week on week.

Yes, we are dynamic

First there were the bushfires, and then the pandemic, where out of home has played a critical role in communicating up to the minute health warnings and social guidance. It was encouraging that so many of our partners explored intelligent use of dynamic digital content over those periods to ensure effective and reliable messaging that made people’s lives safer. We also leveraged dynamic capability in our recent ‘Getting back outdoors, it’s worth a shot’ vaccination campaign, using government data to highlight state and territory vaccination rates, as well as creative tailored to local suburbs.

Those campaigns illustrate how we literally move the needle for advertisers that think strategically about how to best optimise their impact and spend through relatively small – but crucial – creative tweaks.

Our 2022 pipeline suggests the industry is significantly raising its game with more dynamic campaigns not just for public safety but for brand building growth.

What about classic?

We talk about the power digital a lot these days.  As a business we will continue to invest in the growth of our digital inventory, which today sits at over 50,000 faces, leading the market. But classic inventory – static billboards – delivers an uninterrupted, unchanging message for an established duration. It is the ultimate share of voice, proven to work for well over a century.

Our ROI study with Analytic Partners revealed that when classic and digital formats are combined, campaigns perform 43 per cent better. In short, classic is crucial to achieving smart reach and genuine scale.

Additionally, recent OMA research found that both classic and digital locations deliver comparable impact to a 15 second TV ad or 30 second radio ad. With the upcoming launch of MOVE 1.5, the results augur well as brands aim to ensure maximum return on every dollar.

So while 2022 will definitely see greater penetration of digital, dynamic and programmatic out of home, most brands are set to blend traditional and new formats as they aim to re-engage audiences and kick-start new growth.

Privacy compliance guaranteed

We all know the marketing industry is grappling with stricter online privacy regulations, and out of home will pick up some of the slack. Targeting tricky buyergraphics if Google ultimately culls cookies means marketers must explore new methods, not just replicating how we’ve always done it in slightly different ways. The out of home industry is becoming great at pinpointing audiences based on actual location and transactional behaviour, and for brands looking for answers, this could at least partially fill the vacuum left by online privacy restriction as the world – and regulators – move away from one-to-one targeting.

Audiences genuinely guaranteed

All clients deserve to receive an accurate receipt of their contracted and delivered activity. We genuinely want campaigns to realize their objectives, so in 2018 we engaged verification partner Seedooh to provide clients with accurate, independent and automated reporting of campaigns across our 35,000 locations. Since then, agencies have enlisted various suppliers to verify campaign delivery, and we absolutely welcome this – full transparency can only bring greater trust in the results we commit to achieving.

Providing clients with the certainty that campaigns are being delivered as contracted is the cornerstone of good customer experience. Solid progress with industry associations and verification providers is now being made. We’re excited to see this, but even more enthused about landing a sustainable and workable solution for all stakeholders. It can only generate even stronger results.

Real connections matter

We are an industry supercharged by creativity, collaboration and connection. Our relationships and rapport are central to great outcomes. Through Covid our ability to brainstorm and solve problems together has been disrupted – but only physically. Now we can reconnect with each other, I think we are going to see the best of both worlds.

Brands will need to do just the same – to reestablish and reaffirm connections with Australians that are relishing a return to normal life, and spend their hard earned cash on those that best reflect their values and capture their attention in the right place at the right time, with the right message.

After two tough years, 2022 will be a year of renewed confidence, fresh activity, increased spending and a greater focus on people and human connections.

With huge brand and consumer demand now unlocked, the out of home industry is primed to showcase a flood of new content and our collective digital investments to help advertisers regain lost ground.

Most importantly, we are going to get out and about and have some fun together as Australia, collectively, gets out of home.


Mi3 Special Report: Australia Post-Cookies, Post-Privacy

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