OOH Will See Record Political Ad Spending in 2024 Street Fight

OOH Will See Record Political Ad Spending in 2024

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Alright, we survived Super Tuesday and its political ads, but the OOH ad-media beatings won’t stop until the election is finally over. And even then, we can’t be sure.

From now until November, U.S. voters must endure messages around choosing a president, 33 senate races, representatives for all 435 seats of the House, and 14 gubernatorial races.

Just when you think it’s safe to go out for a walk or shopping, prepare to be bombarded with political ads in OOH channels. According to a study from the Out of Home Association of America (OAAA), political ad-spending will break records in the channel, because it is so effective at reaching, informing, and influencing voters.

In 2014, OOH spending for political ads was $13M, and rose to $28M in 2022, according to the Vivvix, which expects it to surpass the latter number this year.

Voter trust of messages on the channel and ROAS for campaigns seem to figure into that increase, according to an online voter survey the OAAA conducted February 23-25, 2024, among a sample of 1,616 likely 2024 voters aged 18-64.

The data were weighted to approximate a target sample of likely voters aged 18-64 based on age, gender, race, Hispanic/non-Hispanic, education, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Generations were calculated as: Gen Zers, born between 1997-2012; Millennials, born between 1981-1996; Gen Xers, born between 1965-1980; and Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964.

Steve Nicklin, SVP Marketing and Analytics at the OAAA, provided some context.

Why do you think voters trust OOH for political ads? Do they consider them more informative?

The survey showed 53% of respondents considered OOH ads more informative than most competitive channels – only broadcast TV (54%) and newspaper online/print (60%) ranked higher.  OOH ads also drive online activation more efficiently per ad dollar spent than all competitive media, including digital. Whether through search, website addresses, or tap or scan technology, OOH makes it easy for consumers to connect with detailed resources about campaigns, candidates, or issues.

Why do you think OOH is so impactful on voters whether it be candidates or just getting people to the polls?

OOH offers massive reach and intercepts most consumers several times a day, so it simultaneously builds frequency. Respondents stated it helps remind them of the value of and need to vote and helps increase their awareness on issues.

Is the fact that the channel isn’t exactly “interruptive” another factor in its receptiveness?

Yes, 34% of respondents said the ads don’t interrupt their listening, reading, or viewing experience like most other political ads. Another 28% say the ads are readily visible, and 25% say the ads are easily shared on social media.

Which voter segment consumes the most news?

Baby Boomers are the age group most likely to be consuming news several times a day (30%), according to the survey.

How effective is OOH in reaching younger voters like GenZ who live on social media? What can OOH do as a channel to reach these younger voters?

Years of OAAA research have consistently shown OOH over indexes with younger voters in general. The same phenomenon was seen in this survey: Younger likely voters (GenZers 57%, Millennials 60%) are especially likely to consume information through an OOH ad at least weekly versus 53% of adults 18 – 64.  And 68% of adults 18 – 64 reported having seen OOH political ads, but 75% of GenZ and 72% of Millennials reported having seen them.

The survey shows that nearly a third (29%) of those who have seen get-out-the-vote campaigns saw it in an OOH ad. Do you consider that high or low for the channel.

We don’t have a OOH GOTV benchmark to use for comparison, but the value of OOH is that it doesn’t require turning on or tuning in, nor can it be blocked. Printed OOH political ads are on 24/7, while digital OOH political ads offer flexibility and immediacy for campaigns to rapidly change messaging or geographic targeting. No matter what a campaign needs, OOH can deliver.

At which physical locations do political OOH ads have the most impact? In malls, stores, shopping centers? Along highways? On mass transit?

All offer advantages depending on the KPIs of the campaign, but collectively they all offer the same OOH value proposition – massive reach with the ad channel that scores highest in consumer favorability and generates the highest levels of ad recall.

Kathleen Sampey