The Resurgence of Out-of-Home Advertising

This blog will breakdown the state of Out-of-Home Advertising, the industries that will benefit the most from this surge, and some creative tips on how to produce engaging OOH ads.

As increased vaccine rates have helped much of the world reopen and begin to venture out of their homes, marketers are seeing a shift in how businesses reach new audiences. While consumers acclimate to the new normalcy outside the confines of the house, they are becoming more comfortable and aware of their surroundings. This is a perfect opportunity for out-of-home (OOH) advertising. OOH marketing describes any place-based media (physical or digital) that people see while out and about. 

Go-to examples of OOH advertising include billboards, posters, and digital place-based media. As the world opens for business again, this type of media is seeing a revival, but with a postmodern twist. Could now be the best time to upgrade your business’s ad strategy?

Out-of-Home Advertising in the Era of COVID-19

As dozens of countries ordered shelter in place or mandatory quarantine, the future of OOH ads didn’t look good. Not only did people go out much less often but, when they did, they were mostly anxious and distracted, meaning that it was hardly an optimal time to market to them.

With such a bleak outlook, the industry foresaw changes abound. In fact, the 2020 State of the Industry Advertising Trends predicted a 27% loss in ad spending compared with 2019. In extenuating circumstances, advertisers rushed to amend their contracts to stop or postpone advertising campaigns. But that was not the end of the story.

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The Resurgence of Out-Of-Home Advertising 

“Out of home will be a happy place” said DPAA CEO Barry Frey. After two years of the ebb and flow of shutdowns, isolations, and quarantines, OOH ad strategies must focus on mood-boosting ads that reflect the joy of finally leaving home. Not everything has returned to how it was before 2020, though. The resurgence of OOH marketing in 2021 accompanies the continuation of some trends from the previous year.

The Rise of Content

Content consumption roughly doubled all over the world in 2020, with video leading the charge. YouTube reaped the benefits of increased interest, with 43% of users watching more content. TikTok, meanwhile, had the highest growth in the 18- to 24-year-old demographic.

What does this mean for ads as the pandemic continues? OOH advertisements will need to run in tandem with other video marketing campaigns, from social media to streaming. For example, you can maximize your content’s effectiveness by creating OTT/CTV Video ads tied to an Out-of-Home advertising campaign, so that when a consumer sees the ad on their commute to work, or while walking to dinner, they’re more likely to engage with it.

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Mobile use

A Chinese study taken during the pandemic showed that children and adolescents significantly increased their mobile use over 2020. The advertising industry knows that this increase has been mirrored among adults and will continue to play an ever bigger role in OOH advertising. Brands will be using mobile devices in OOH more than ever before — to increase not only efficacy but also engagement. 

Spotify ad that utilizes a story to engage consumers on their mobile devices
This Spotify OOH ad utilizes storytelling concepts in an Out-of-Home setting to engage consumers on their mobile devices.

How Brands Are Stepping Up Their Out-Of-Home Advertising Strategies

To attract and keep consumers’ attention after a year of voracious content consumption, ads are now more embedded into the streaming content you love than ever before. Not only is the content appearing between between videos, but through in-video product placements or during pauses in streaming content, like you would see on YouTube or Hulu. The guidelines you use for creating this kind of engaging video content for streaming and social media can be easily applicable to Out-of-Home advertising campaigns.

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For consumers, product-focused ads are no longer memorable, and this trend has accelerated after a year of online content consumption. Expect to see more OOH ads that rely on storytelling trends, like freshly popular memes, that appeal to audiences who crave this kind of content.

Example of QuickFrame OOH ad for Tubi
Example of QuickFrame OOH ad for Tubi

Mobile Integrations

We’ve established that users are spending more time on their mobile devices than ever before. As they transition back to outside life, brands will push consumers to keep their phones just as active. We predict that we’ll see more ads like this wildly popular Burger King campaign from 2019 titled “Burn the Ad”. This Out-of-Home advertising campaign enticed users to use augmented reality to “burn” competitor OOH ads using their phones. In exchange, users got a free burger.  

This OOH ad from Burger King uses augmented reality to blur the lines between digital and traditional advertising, creating a uniquely engaging experience.

Out-Of-Home Advertising Opportunities for Top Industries in 2021

Although some trends — such as mobile use — are following consumers from their living rooms out into the world, major shifts are happening in shopping behaviors. For instance, items that were almost forgotten during 2020 (like high heels, makeup, and travel gear) are preparing to bounce back as people feel safe to get back outside. Here are two of the top industries in which new opportunities are emerging.


After a few weeks of at-home Zoom meetings, make-up was dying off, and faces were bare. Meanwhile, skincare began its 2020 boom. Vogue recruited pop culture icons to share their routines, and fans tuned in by the millions. 

So what happens now, as we gradually return to face-to-face meetings? The beauty industry is set to orchestrate a comeback, offering a “natural look” that is accomplished with beauty products, now advertised OOH in locations like public transit systems, billboards on commuting routes, and department stores. 


A revival of outdoor wear is in the works, and the fashion industry stands to benefit. As sweatpants go in the drawer, and hard pants come back out, OOH advertisements are featuring new trends and classic staples — especially those offering comfort. Starting in 2021, we’ll see more OOH video ads offering comfortable fashion as we return to our normal working and social lives.

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How to Create Effective Out-Of-Home Marketing Videos 

Of course, OOH ads don’t work like, say, YouTube ads. They must be created for a specific purpose and with certain parameters in mind. Limitation fosters creativity, though, so there’s no need to worry: To create OOH video ads that fully exploit the opportunities that 2021 offers, just follow a few simple steps.

  1. Have a great hook. Grab the viewer’s attention right away to keep them watching.
  2. Keep it short. Ads under 10 seconds long will get your message across from beginning to end.
  3. K‌eep copy concise. Your video should be about visuals and require minimal reading.
  4. Apply simple motion graphics and cinemagraphs instead of an elaborate narrative. OOH video ads don’t have sound, so avoid dialogue or captions.

Finally, take elements from whatever is currently trending and workshop them into your message or even its delivery. You’ll find that, when you tap into what people already know, you can introduce new products and services more easily.

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Out-Of-Home Advertising: The Takeaway

When you see the journey that OOH advertising has undergone in the past couple of years, from a bleak outlook to a rebirth, it’s easy to feel inspired and motivated to get involved. The new storytelling, mobile, and tech trends you have read about, which are currently at the forefront of OOH media, make for countless ad opportunities. With services like QuickFrame, creating OOH video ads for your business is fast and affordable and delivers the results you want

Learn More: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

It’s not too good to be true. It’s just how we do business.

QUICKFRAME CAN HELP YOU MAKE OOH ADS: Find out more about our streamlined solution to video marketing.

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