OAAA CEO Anna Bager on the Pace of OOH Innovation

OAAA CEO Anna Bager on the Pace of OOH Innovation

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Advertising Week 2023 in New York, and one of the sessions held on Oct. 17 focused on the advantages and the challenges involved in  OOH (out-of-home) advertising. “What Keeps You Up at Night? A Wake-Up Call for Brands Facing Fraud and Fatigue,” (available on replay) saw Anna Bager, President and CEO of the OAAA (Out of Home Advertising Association of America) on a panel about the topic. She was joined by Dan Levi, CMO of Clear Channel; Charles Manning, founder and CEO of Kochava; and Puja Vohra, EVP, Consumer Marketing at Paramount + Showtime. Bager has helmed the OAAA since 2019 and sat down with StreetFight to talk about the ad channel.

What would you list as the three biggest changes in the OOH space in the 4+ years you’ve been CEO of the OAAA?

COVID, obviously. And the increased capabilities and sophistication in the medium when it comes to the ability to drive interactivity and performance using data. Plus, the incredible innovation in creativity, with immersive experiences and 3D anamorphic billboards, for example, which have been a game changer for our industry.

What was a clever, creative OOH campaign you saw this year?

“Barbie” stands out to me as an excellent example. From 3D anamorphic activations to decked-out bus stops, “Barbie” embraced the playfulness and ubiquity of OOH. The studio recognized the power of OOH’s reach, flexibility, and creativity to quickly drive excitement for the movie’s release.

What keeps OAAA members up at night?

Keeping up with the pace of innovation that’s happening in our industry and telegraphing it to [media] buyers. Thankfully, fraud is not as much of a concern. It’s much harder to do in our space and much easier to identify.

Describe the “fatigue” topic of the Advertising Week panel you were on. What does that look like?

Digital fatigue continues to push consumers away from their digital devices and back into the real world and IRL experiences. Almost 80% of adults report they are annoyed by ads that disrupt their viewing, reading and listening experiences. The beauty of OOH is that the ad is the content experience and complements the consumer’s experience.

 What are the top advantages for brands who put media dollars in OOH/DOOH compared to other channels?

You can’t skip it, you can’t block it, and it’s brand safe. OOH also produces higher consumer ad recall than TV, podcasts and radio, print, and online advertising, according to analysis from Solomon Partners. It drives online activation more efficiently than TV, digital display and video, radio, and print, per Comscore. With mobile now representing over 60% of total ad spend, OOH’s unique ability to drive mobile activation is extremely valuable. Over three in four consumers report taking an action on their mobile device after OOH ad exposure. Over half reported those actions were search, and over 40% shared their actions were online purchases.  No other medium offers that effectiveness at a better value.

 How has the OAAA changed since its founding in 1891?

The association was formed as the Associated Bill Posters’ Association of the U.S. and Canada in Chicago to promote greater understanding of the poster medium. The name was changed to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) in 1925 and changed again to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America in 2019 to reflect the expanded role and scope of the entire OOH industry.

We’re still here to protect, unite, promote, and advance the OOH industry – yet much of the technology, terminology, and member organizations have evolved over the years. We’ve expanded beyond posters to represent more than 800 members, including leading media companies, advertisers, agencies, ad-tech providers, and suppliers.

What would surprise the association’s founders the most about today’s OOH media landscape?

Likely how much the medium has changed. It includes everything from wall murals to bus shelters, vehicle wraps to taxi tops, screens in elevators, at gas pumps, and in malls. They would be most surprised by how technology has evolved and grown our medium, with the digital explosion being the most significant.

What has the OAAA achieved in terms of innovations in data, privacy, and measurement?

We are actively working to improve OOH measurement and make sure it’s comparable to other media. In the past three years, we’ve released data privacy principles to set foundational standards that uphold consumer privacy and data usage. As for measurement, we’ve released measurement guidelines and work closely with other trade groups such as MRC, 4As, and IAB Tech Lab to implement OOH and audience measurement standards to future proof OOH within the omnichannel marketing mix.

What innovations can we expect in OOH as a media channel?

Digital will continue to be the most significant driver for OOH growth – by 2027 it is projected to be almost half of total OOH spend. AI will certainly be driving wider use of contextual OOH advertising, especially in the programmatic area. This will translate to even greater OOH relevancy with consumers. Innovation will also continue to fragment the audiences of our media competitors, while OOH will continue to thrive as the only true mass medium available to brands to rapidly reach enormous audiences.

Kathleen Sampey