Out-of-home ads making a comeback in the US

The news: Out of home advertising is seeing a rebound in the US, with assistance from an unlikely source: social media.

  • TikTok users report frequently seeing out of home ads in their feeds the most (82%), followed closely by Instagram (81%) and Facebook (80%), per a September study by The Harris Poll.

Who's investing in OOH: US brand Listerine, looking to get more people to see the health benefits of using mouthwash, is devoting more ad spending to formats that include out-of-home (OOH) advertising, per Digiday.

  • Its OOH ads featured at food and drug retailers include in-store signage and kiosks, shelf trays, and display pallets.

The mouthwash maker, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, is one of a number of brands increasing use of out-of-home ads as the pandemic ends. Our research finds that the out-of-home category is rebounding, with spending on these ads expected to rise to $7.93 billion this year. While that’s up 12% from 2021, it trails the pre-pandemic level of $8.65 billion in 2019. Total OOH ad spending isn’t projected to top 2019 levels until 2026.

Digital footprints: Though OOH is still primarily a traditional medium, with billboards accounting for about 75% of total category ad spending, digital formats such as in-office video screens and electronic displays are making inroads. By 2026, the share of overall OOH ad spend devoted to digital will come to 41.3%, up from one-third this year.

Media, finance make gains: Leading OOH ad spenders in this year’s first half included financial and media, both of which had a more than 50% increase from a year earlier.

  • Other categories one industry observer identified that have made significant increases in OOH ad spending include cannabis, sports betting, fintech, and politics, with US midterm elections this year giving a noticeable boost to the advertising industry overall.

Go further: For more information on the changes afoot in the out-of-home ad market, read our report: US Out-of-Home Ad Spending 2022.