Out-of-Home Ad Spend Rebounds in 2021, Up 17% Y-O-Y

April 29, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Cross-Media & Traditional | Out-of-Home

After a miserable 2020 in which out-of-home (OOH) ad spend plummeted by 29%, 2021 represented a step in the right direction, with ad spend growing by 16.7%, according to the latest figures from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA).

The year ended on a solid note as Q4 spending grew by 37.4% year-over-year, consistent with the increases experienced in Q3 (38%) and Q2 (37.9%). As such, Q1’s decrease of 31% dragged the average growth for the year down, which would have otherwise been more than 35%.

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) led the way again, with a 49.6% year-over-year increase in Q4 and a 22.7% rise for the year.

Although OOH ad spend is on the rise, it’s yet to reach pre-pandemic levels: the $7.1 billion total for 2021 still trails 2019’s figure ($8.6 billion) by some margin. Still, forecasts paint a healthy picture for OOH ad spend. The Winterberry Group expects traditional outdoor ad spend to grow by 15% this year (a higher level than the 9% it registered last year), although its forecast growth for digital OOH ad spend is lower this year (14.4%) than the estimated increase in 2020 (19.9%).

Meanwhile, PwC expects that by 2025, OOH ($12.1 billion, excluding cinema advertising) will have overtaken both newspaper ($11.9 billion) and consumer magazine ($11.6 billion) advertising.

Tech and DTC Brands Among Top Spenders

As in the past couple of years, Tech brands made up a chunk of the top OOH advertisers in the US last year. Apple remained in the #2 spot, while Amazon also stayed pat at #4. Google moved up 4 spots to rank in the top 10 for OOH advertising spend, at number 8. All told, 28 of the top 100 spenders were either technology or direct-to-consumer brands, according to the report.

McDonald’s topped the advertiser list for the second consecutive year after spending the previous 7 years in the #2 spot.

Some 28 of the top 100 OOH advertisers more than doubled their spend year-over-year in 2021, with some notable names on this list including DoorDash, DuckDuckGo, Uber, Expensify, and GrubHub.

1 in 10 OOH Ad Dollars Spent by Retailers

Each of the top 10 industry categories in terms of spend hiked their OOH expenditures in 2021. The category that accounted for the largest share of total spend was Miscellaneous Services & Amusement (25.7%) with some $1.5 billion in spending. It was followed by Retail (10.2% share), Media & Advertising (7.8%), Insurance & Real Estate (7.3%), and Restaurants (6.9%).

Among the top 10 spending categories Media & Advertising had the largest increase in spend (21.3%), a year after having had the biggest cut in spending.

The figures can be viewed in more detail here.

About the Data: Revenue estimates include digital and static billboard, street furniture, transit and alternative OOH (which includes digital place-based video and cinema advertising).


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