The Future Of Out-Of-Home Advertising
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With Social Media, Online and Mobile marketing dominating the headlines, does anyone still care about the lowly billboard?

In it’s current iteration, the short answer is no. Out of Home is in serious need of some disruption. The World’s oldest advertising medium has remained largely unchanged since billboards first became available for rent over 140 years ago.

With only about 3% of the overall advertising budget, it may be difficult to see why we should try to save the billboards, transit shelters, bus ads and indoor posters that line our paths from extinction. So, humor me while I explain why I think this is a worthwhile task. You see; I believe that Out of Home advertising is just now becoming truly relevant, after decades of underachieving.

The problem with Out of Home Advertising is not the medium at all, it’s that the medium has not been able to properly capitalize on its prime real estate. Retailers pay exorbitant amounts of money to secure the highest traffic locations for their stores, simply so that their products will be in the path of consumer traffic. The Out of Home companies have owned this precious real estate all along; it’s just that the ability to buy the product directly from those ads was never a possibility, until now.

Smartphones have unwittingly given Out of Home a second life. By simply enabling transit shelters, street furniture and indoor advertisements to take advantage of existing mobile technology such as QR codes and NFC (Near Field Communications) every single one of those ad displays could become an interactive advertisement or even a powerful new point of purchase.

QR codes are already here and the mass adoption of NFC enabled phones is closer than you may think. Virtually every new smartphone (including the iPhone5) is rumoured to be including the technology as a standard feature. Within the next 12 months you could potentially be able to buy concert tickets for your favorite band, directly from the ad that’s promoting them.

Out of Home has the golden opportunity to shrink the sales funnel and provide brands with not only awareness, but also commitment and purchase, all at once. Out of Home operators, get ready, 2012 is going to be your year.
By Jerrid Grimm - VP, Client Services at Newad