COVID-19’s Impact On Out-of-Home Advertising


Through stay-at-home orders and increased screen-time, the environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was not always ideal for the efficacy of Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising. Many brands were hesitant to advertise outside when everyone was staying inside. Yet, on the other hand, people also socialized at a distance from outside. Many also felt inclined to pay attention to their surroundings more when spending time outdoors after being indoors for most of the day. Taking all of this into account, today we will be analyzing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Out-of-Home advertising industry, and how it will soon rebound.

During the Pandemic

According to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America, the advertising revenue for outdoor advertising decreased 30.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year. As unfortunate as it is, this did not come as a surprise considering the situation created by the pandemic.  

However, OOH advertising didn’t halt completely during the pandemic. The clientele merely changed. Brands with streaming services or food delivery services still utilized outdoor tactics. The pandemic only increasing the use of those services by many. The stay-at-home orders also didn’t keep everybody in their homes 24/7. Instead, many needed to leave their homes for groceries, household items, etc. As a result, many brands adjusted their OOH advertising during the height of quarantine. The goal was to reach people closer to their homes, instead of at distances where it would only reach those traveling. 

Future of Out-of-Home Advertising

Even before the pandemic, the OOH advertising industry was regularly evolving. The pandemic has only expedited some of the changes that were going to happen eventually. One of these changes has been an increase in the demand for digital OOH advertising, such as digital billboards. The digital format facilitates changes and updates in campaign messages. It also allows more companies to utilize one singular out-of-home space. 

In regards to outdoor advertising on and near college campuses this fall, the future looks pretty prosperous. With other advertisment mediums, such as social media and television, becoming oversaturated, OOH is expecting for more growth. Especially seeing as college students have become so used to seeing these mobile advertisements. They will be more receptive than ever this fall semester to outdoor tactics, after not having been on campus or having connected with many of their friends in person since before the pandemic. 

Even though OOH was impacted negatively throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. With an OOH network extending across 300+ universities, enrolling over 4 million students, we are prepared to help with your OOH needs. Consider Out-of-Home advertising’s rebound potential and different digital opportunities in your upcoming fall campaigns.

Ready to Get Started?

Download our back-to-school spending survey