Bombora Report: OOH Spending Surged in Q1

Bombora Report: OOH Spending Surged in Q1

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During flush times, brand marketers spend generously on advertising, and their agency partners have the luxury of asking themselves how to do more (ads) with more (money). With all the layoffs in the tech and entertainment industries these past few months, how to do more with less becomes the main question. Bombora seeks to provide answers, or at least guidance, to that question in its recently released, first-ever Marketing Pulse for Q1 2023 report.

A B2B data and analytics company, Bombora specializes in the application of “intent data,” which tells clients when potential buyers of their products or services are actively researching online for a solution. A portion of that data is informed by the web content those potential customers consume.

According to the report, “Marketing Tools” is the top trending topic for the quarter, with a weekly average of 114,500 companies spiking in such searches, representing a 20% increase from the Q4 2022 weekly average.

Marketers are also looking for additional and innovative ways to appeal to customers and potential customers. The report showed that the term “marketing tips” was also up compared to last year as marketers look for better ways to appeal to customers.

Meanwhile, businesses actively researching the inflation-adjusted market value of goods and services has increased over 22% from last year, with more than 45,000 companies currently showing increased research activity.

Jeff Marcoux, CMO of Bombora, said the company’s intent data “does an incredible job of showing what people are doing, but understanding why people feel a certain way is always a bit more complicated.”

He said the report is interlaced with recent findings to validate the analysis. He cited reporting by Harvard Business Review showing that the World Uncertainty Index has been on a steady rise since the war in Ukraine began.

“From our data, we’re seeing signals such as decreases in research around economic growth and market expansion, which often coincide with periods of economic uncertainty,” Marcoux said. “But we’ve also evaluated data that shows a decrease in optimism about the economy amongst CMOs, an increase in layoffs and hiring freezes, marketing budget cuts, and a reduction in consumer spending. When we evaluate these signals holistically, we’re not just seeing feelings; we’re seeing businesses taking tangible financial action to address economic conditions.”

Other key findings in the study include:

  • Prioritizing customer relationships. Economic uncertainty has marketers shifting strategy, with a 56.7% decrease in “market expansion” and an increase in several signals tied to customer relationships. Chief among these is “loyalty liability,” the topic with the second-most growth this quarter, with an average of nearly 80,000 companies spiking each week.
  • Out-of-home makes a comeback. Bombora’s Intent data showed a Q1 spike in businesses researching “out of home,” with a weekly average of 37,815 spiking businesses, exceeding 2022’s weekly average by 42%.
  • AI draws curiosity. Generative AI has been a buzzworthy topic in marketing circles since late 2022. According to Bombora’s Intent data, research around these types of chat tools has increased by more than 13% since Q4 2022.

“Out-of-home took a massive hit during the pandemic,” Marcoux explained about the rise in that channel’s spending. “People weren’t commuting or taking public transportation, as COVID kept people at home. But now that restrictions are lifting, people are doing more and returning to the office. There is a natural resurgence for OOH.”

Marcoux sees another shift happening. Media spends are moving away from platforms typically thought of as “mass awareness channels,” namely linear TV. “The reality is that consumer behaviors are shifting,” he said. “As viewers move away from linear TV, we’re seeing marketers explore other high-impact channels—like out-of-home—to grow awareness.”

Compared to last quarter, the search term “marketing resource management” grew the most, rising a whopping 1035%, the report said. Companies of all sizes and within almost every industry researched the topic. That data point from Bombora’s intent data reflected the extent of the economic uncertainty marketers are dealing with in 2023.

Bombora will release its Q2 Marketing Pulse report in July. Its clients include B2B marketers such as Adobe, Cloudera, Snowflake, SAP, and LinkedIn.

Bombora culled data from its Data Co-Op of more than 5,000 B2B websites to illustrate how interests are evolving over time and explore how marketers can best elevate their business through these uncertain and rapidly changing times. Bombora measures “Intent”—i.e., whether a company is actively researching a particular topic, thus signaling interest and intent to buy—through its proprietary Company Surge® Score. With visibility into what topics marketers are researching over time, Company Surge® data provides deep insight into what is happening in the marketing space, including what is top of mind for marketers, what topics are trending up and down, differences by company size and industry, and much more. The Q1 Marketing Pulse evaluated data from January 1 to March 6, 2023.

Kathleen Sampey