With voters increasingly sophisticated when it comes to blocking ads online or avoiding them altogether on TV, advertisers have followed them outside the home.
Campaigns and groups are increasingly turning to options like digital billboards, gas station digital ads, printed bus ads and even spots that roll in front of a captive theater audience before a movie.
Out of home (OOH) advertising revenue hit $2.49 billion in the second quarter — rising 4.7 percent over 2017. That’s according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). The industry trade group reported this week that revenues in the sector are up 3.6 percent year-to-date. The group’s report includes some major brand advertisers in its top-10 spenders on OOH, including tech giants like Facebook, Apple and Netflix.
Driving much of that growth is digital out of-home (DOHH), which is where political advertisers see the most potential. The past two years has seen a sharp increase in the number of static billboards turning digital, particularly in high traffic spots like malls, airports and subways.
The expectation among digital strategists is that DOOH targeting options will increase in sophistication quickly. Consultants also told C&E that anecdotally, they’re seeing the growth in spending from campaign industry marketers.
What’s driving the budget migration? According to Sue Zoldak, who runs the self-named advertising, public affairs and advocacy shop, it’s stemming from the old adage: “All politics is local.”
“Transit tolls, local tax or wage issues, and corporate tax incentives are among the campaigns where there is interest in outdoor advertising,” Zoldak noted.
Out-of-home alone isn’t a solid marketing strategy, but coupled with digital and social, print and radio, it can help bolster an advertising effort.
“We apply both traditional OOH – such as billboards – along with cutting edge tactics such as serving mobile ads geo-fenced on top of a local transit map or driving a digital billboard truck around targeted offices such as those belonging to a federal agency or state legislature,” she said. “Executing a multi-channel approach provides an impact that is more than the sum of its parts.”
Writing in C&E earlier this year, veteran GOP media consultant Tom Edmonds emphasized the impact more localized campaigns will have on overall political spend in 2018, boosting channels like radio, direct mail, and the sort of inventory that’s pushing out of home advertising higher.
“No less than three times more money will be spent on candidates for state senate, state house, governors and other state offices than all the U.S Senate and House races combined,” Edmonds wrote. “Add to that thousands of local elections like municipal government, judicial and school boards, and it becomes the clear majority of all political media expenditures.
“The media mix for local campaigns is very different than strategies for federal candidates. Despite all the claims about pin-point targeting, you still need to reach likely voters. And LVs still consume local media.”