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Playing the aces: Using OOH to help your brand grow in 2024



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March 27, 2024 | 6 min read

Luke Willbourn (Talon's managing director, UK), shares how OOH's aces can ensure you have the winning hand for your media plan.

"Out of home (OOH) is having a moment right now"— words said to me by a brand- marketer a few months ago. And yes, it's great to hear. It's a testament to the behind-the-scenes work the industry has put in for the past decade to get us to this point. 

With pioneers putting the first digital out of home (DOOH) screens in the ground over a decade ago, DOOH will account for 66% of UK OOH billings this year (Outsmart). Total OOH revenue in the UK last year grew almost 10% to £1.3bn, according to figures from Outsmart and PwC, amounting to 99.6% of the pre-pandemic market. It is the return to pre-Covid growth numbers for our industry (moving beyond the stay-at-home orders that severely impacted OOH in 2020 and 2021).

More than a moment

But this isn't a "moment" for OOH; it's a tipping point. With OOH back to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, OOH will play a bigger part in media plans in future years. And yes, I may be biased — having built my career in OOH — but I'm lucky to work in a channel that delivers. However, what still holds us back is often outdated perceptions. We need to educate on the new OOH. Educate on what OOH delivers to digital native planners, habitual buyers, and to you reading this.

In 2024, OOH delivers across four main factors. At Talon, we call these the ACES. We play these four ace cards to make sure your media plan delivers.

Audience. Creative. Effective. Sustainable.

OOH's aces

There's a whole lot more that goes into each of these ACES, but (to save this from becoming a book instead of an article) for now, I'll give you a taster of what OOH brings to the table.

Audience OOH

To compete in the digital world, OOH needed to transform, and that's the journey we've been on at Talon and in the wider industry. We've harnessed all the benefits of our traditional medium—brand safety, scalable, high impact, and audience volume—while also offering the benefits of online—flexibility, reactivity, and rich targeting capabilities. We use technology (through our DMP Ada) to understand how audiences move and behave in their daily lives.

OOH delivers audiences on both a targeted and broad reach spectrum. 38% of UK advertisers are harnessing the best of both, using direct and programmatic OOH (prOOH) buying methods. Whether you're looking to target a niche audience or get your brand seen by as many as possible through a blend of classic billboards and digital screens – OOH will help you do it.

Creative OOH

Beyond banners and digital screens; OOH can become a real-world canvas for brands who grab the opportunity to build real-life connections. Taking those conversations online adds even more value, with creative OOH executions transformed into content and earned media that lives beyond the campaign across social media.

Creative OOH helps maximise engagement. Research from System1 shows that impactful and unusual OOH can create up to 7x higher brand recall compared to standard media. Talon's effectiveness team found that contextual campaigns get attention with a 32% increase in brain response when displaying the most relevant content at the most relevant moment. From murals to projections, special builds, digital dynamic copy, Augmented Reality, and interactive campaigns, the opportunities to make an impact and extend your brand campaign are endless.

Effective OOH

OOH delivers effective outcomes for advertisers. What does effectiveness mean to us at Talon? Our head of effectiveness, Emily Alcorn, defines it as “the degree to which something has been successful.” As an offline media channel without cookies and device-level tracking, we've had to work smarter to understand OOH effectiveness and its role in the wider media mix. But, as an industry, we've done it, and an evidence-based economy runs through OOH in 2024.

Zooming in on OOH campaign effectiveness - at Talon, we measure effectiveness from short-term to long-term depending on the campaign objectives using multiple methods. These include brand performance, creative testing, footfall, sales uplift, and web analysis. We've run over 500 campaign effectiveness studies to date, and the combined data has formed benchmarks that help us create actionable insights for future planning strategies. We use them to inform long- and short-term planning for our clients, improving their OOH performance.

Sustainable OOH

OOH has a great sustainability story to tell. As a channel, OOH gives back – with 46% of UK OOH revenue reinvested into public services, infrastructure, communities, and employees, demonstrating its tangible contributions to supporting society. OOH also provides public services, with initiatives like mobile charging stations, air pollution monitoring, public WiFi and defibrillators, showcasing its role in creating a more sustainable and connected world. 

Environmentally, OOH is one of only two channels on track to meet the emissions reduction required to align with science targets. A report published by KMPG states that OOH has the lowest carbon impact per impression as it communicates on a one-to-many level - rather than operating on a one-to-one or one-to-few model like other channels.

Sustainability is embedded into Talon's purpose to 'deliver greater value for our clients whilst inspiring people and caring for our planet', and it is at the centre of our business strategy with a group sustainability manager in role to support our sustainability journey and our clients.

You can do more than ever before with OOH

At Talon, we've got numerous case studies of brands that have used OOH to achieve their goals: 3x ROI, who have integrated first party data to reach more of their target audiences as they move through their days from home to work to play - without a cookie in sight, who have driven families into stores with footfall uplifts of over 20% and who have encouraged hard to reach populations to take action on their health changing hundreds of thousands of lives. You can do more than ever with out of home, and the ACES shine a light on the many industry developments we're proud of.

If you're not including OOH on your media plan because it's "not measurable," or because you "don't have enough budget for a nationwide campaign," you could be missing out. I'd love to meet you and explain how OOH can help you reach your goals.

Beyond a 'moment,' OOH in 2024 will ensure you have the winning hand for your media plan. You just need to play your cards right.

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