2022 DOOH Year in Review
Adam Malone, Co-Founder & President at Screenverse
2022 comes as another reminder that the only constant is change.
We created Screenverse against the backdrop of a global pandemic. Three years hence, we find ourselves bracing for a global recession. And yet, our ambition for the industry, our partners, and our future couldn’t be higher.
Screenverse has been humbled to contribute to the renaissance that the out of home industry is experiencing. 2022 was another record year for us, and the future of digital advertising in the physical world has just begun.
We intend to lead the charge in 2023 and beyond. We intend to ELEVATE!
But first, how’d we do in 2022?
In the first half of 2022, as an industry, we adapted to change and responded through innovation and perseverance. Advertisers took notice, and the market achieved 1st half revenues that were on par with record-breaking, pre-pandemic highs.
The back half of 2022 was more challenged as advertisers reduced their budgets amid fears of recession, inflation, and a weakening US consumer.
From June, data from the Standard Media Index showed the US ad market in significant decline, signaling recession-like conditions for media owners and agencies.
In the broader advertising ecosystem, we’ve also seen these pressures reflected in massive shifts in spend by channel.
Online consumer banner blindness, shifts within social media usage and effectiveness, and threats to the digital advertising industry with the impending “cookie-pocalypse” have left brands reeling to attract the interest of prospective consumers, at reasonable rates.
On the whole, 2022 was a mixed bag for OOH media – there were certainly bright spots and also notable challenges.
We will explore three of the leading trends we saw in 2022:
- DOOH is the growth engine for OOH ↑
- Retail Media is a quiet juggernaut ↑
- OOH Supply is facing major challenges ↓
DOOH is the Growth Engine for OOH
Against that challenging backdrop, the DOOH portion of OOH – fueled by investments in new inventory and the adoption of programmatic (pDOOH) – continued to forge ahead.
In a recent Mediapost article, Patrick Quinn (PQ Media) extolled the rapid growth of DOOH in the US and world-wide, and he predicts that DOOH will continue to be the growth engine for OOH.
“We expect the digital out-of-home media industry to continue its double-digit growth in 2023, powered by a number of positive developments fueling innovation, creativity and further expansion,” says PQ founder and CEO Patrick Quinn, adding that “increased and improved programmatic advertising, smart technology marketing, better ROI measurements, and successful efforts by DOOH industry executives and trade organizations at pitching the convincing story” are accelerating its growth.
Jeremy Male – CEO of OOH leader, OUTFRONT – said in an earnings call that digital billboards are his best investment. He shared that although the cost to build a digital billboard is 2x that of a static billboard, he can expect 4x the revenue based on the amount of inventory he has available, the power and flexibility of the media, and the number of clients he can service.
Retail Media is a Quiet Juggernaut
There is no fear of making bold assertions on our part. The market for retail media is quite young. In light of the growing popularity (and revenues) of retail media advertising, it is impossible to dismiss the voices of major players.
It is already four times larger than all of US OOH, and The Financial Times adds “Retailers’ advertising revenues are already almost twice as vast as those of radio and print combined together”.
Brands have been seen shifting ad dollars from social media and other online platforms over to retailers. The ability retailers own to leverage their first-party data they have on their consumers and show relevant ads based on their individual shopping history have propelled retailers to be a sought after channel for brands globally.
But it’s not just digital – retailers have been investing in advertising technology to leverage their physical space to boost their ad sales as well.
The opportunity that digital ad placements in the physical world presents to brands, now more than ever, can be seen as a huge contributing factor to the renaissance of DOOH.
OOH Supply is Facing Major Challenges
On the supply-side, the back-half of 2022 offered a stark wake-up call to even the most financially stable and well-run OOH operators.
Although the leading OOH media owners were likely able to eke out modest revenue and earnings growth in 2022, none were spared completely from the overall market sell-offs we saw in the back half of the year. Lamar – the best performing of the “Big 3” saw their stock price off 10% on the year, while Outfront declined 25%. Clear Channel was down nearly 60%.
Experts predict this difficult capital market will continue in 2023, as investors have pivoted swiftly to rewarding companies with proven business models and cash flows, rather than those growing at breakneck speeds while burning through cash.
This is troubling news for some of the up-and-coming DOOH players as well.
Volta, a DOOH company that initially emerged as a stand-out amongst the competition offering ad-based EV charging in high-traffic areas like malls, supermarkets, banks, and pharmacies. Once a VC darling, raising hundreds of millions and achieving unicorn status ($1B+ enterprise value), Volta recently announced the sale of the company to Shell Oil.
The all-cash sale price ($169m) was less than 1/13th of the value of Volta’s all-time high ($2.2B in February, 2021), and less than 50% of the value of the assets (chargers + screens) currently in the ground.
No word yet whether Shell will be getting into the DOOH business – either directly or through partnership.
I don’t mean to harp on Volta, and they are certainly not alone; there are at least a half-dozen private companies in the DOOH and ad-tech space that have been running low-margin or negative margin businesses that will have to revolutionize their business models or be forced to slash costs considerably, sell, or go into bankruptcy protection.
The silver lining is that as in any down-cycle, there will be tremendous innovation and new companies forming to fill gaps and build something new and different. I remind my team at least once a month – “Great fortunes are built in down markets and harvested in up-markets.”
“Great fortunes are built in down markets and harvested in up-markets”
The constellation of our ad inventory has grown to be both vast and wildly effective at driving lift in awareness, intent, and purchases (and we’ve got the data to prove it!).
Since we’re one of the largest digital screen networks in the real world, we’ve taken great effort in selecting network partners that can help us meet the promise of reaching our target audiences at every moment of their day.
These touch points include:
Our footprint has grown vastly, giving us the ability to build awareness with consumers across 50 states as well as increase consideration and conversion intent with pinpoint accuracy using demographic, DMA, geofencing, retargeting strategies and more.
As of December 2022, we proudly now can serve over 3.5+ Billion total impressions across 62,000+ screens nationally through our exclusive partnerships. And those numbers grow every day as our partners invest in more and better screens.
Partnering with Smartify and Corner Media has allowed us to tap into a one-of-a-kind inventory that reaches both pedestrians and drivers in major cities through in-window displays and digital urban panels. Thanks to Pursuant Health, we can communicate with customers in-store at the largest retailer in the world, Walmart. Touchtunes, a wildly popular digital jukebox found in thousands of bars, restaurants and more, allows us to take advantage of in-person social interaction in the decision-making process for consumers. We’ve seen the platform grow thanks to its interactive ad experiences, high exposure, targetability, and a slew of studies showing the power to drive trial, intent, and loyalty.
KeyMe‘s network of over 2700+ ad-activated kiosks in critical business settings such as retail, supermarkets, and pharmacies has placed it at the top of the media hierarchy for companies seeking targeted reach, at scale, steps from the point of purchase. Healthcare-related companies and brands targeting new movers or multicultural audiences have a great opportunity to grow in these high-traffic areas. theBulletin has experienced explosive growth through 2022 by reaching affluent consumers through inventory in the lobbies of upscale residences and office buildings in metro areas.
SPIN Hubs’ scooter charging stations with digital kiosks in major cities offer inventory on city streets, at transit hubs, in rail stations, and at bus stops. EOS Linx allows us to reach eco-conscious, affluent consumers at gas stations, retail locations, hospitality venues, and high-traffic city centers. Enlighten, recently acquired by Weedmaps, is the largest in-store dispensary TV network in the US, reaching engaged cannabis and CBD consumers, a perfect fit for brands looking to reach high-income millennials.
Our own networks include:
Screenverse City Network: 300+ Outdoor Urban Panels in major cities across the US.
Screenverse Health: a content-rich, health-focused network reaching consumers across pharmacies, grocery stores, clinics, and doctor’s offices with 3,000+ Audio-Enabled Digital Screens.
Screenverse Billboards: We will be announcing something major in the coming weeks!
DOOH should be considered a core part of any digital media mix. All of our inventory can be bought both programmatically and direct, allowing us to be as agile as any form of digital advertising and is the core part of our 2022 growth.
We knew that in order to take our partners to new heights we needed to invest in exceptional talent.
- We beefed up our tech team by adding Barry Mattern and Karen Brand.
- We brought in a top sales talent in Adam Biancosino.
- An SVP of Programmatic Partnerships – Edric Chan.
- An SVP of Marketing – Jess Reilly.
- & our first Customer Success Manager – Sean McKinney.
[We are hiring for multiple positions in sales, sales planning, engineering, marketing, and research — please reach out to us at email@example.com for more information!]
- We grew our Team => 6 new teammates (18 total)
- We added new Partners and Inventory => 3 Partners and 5,500 Screens (62k total)
- We grew Sales and Revenue => +97% YOY (David still wont let me say!)
- We were Profitable again this year and achieved our EBITDA goal (See you in Jamaica Screenverse team!)
- We have achieved 105% CAGR since founding
The Blueprint for OOH 2.0
OOH 2.0 is the future of advertising. It’s the seamless integration of the power of OOH with the precision of digital. OOH has always been about reach, presence, and impact in the physical world, but now it’s time to take it to the next level. Digital media came to be synonymous with targetability, click-to-action, and measurement. The mature digital ecosystem of the last decade has been incredibly easy for advertisers of all sizes and sophistication to access, while OOH can be cumbersome and slow.
We intend to revolutionize the industry by embracing the tools and tactics that have made digital the dominant force in advertising.
With our focus on these key areas, we’ll unlock billions of additional advertising budgets in the coming years:
- OOH is already great, and we’re making it even better. Our sales narrative focuses on delivering digital advertising to audiences in the physical world. OOH is inherently brand safe, compliant with all privacy laws and consumer expectations, is fully viewable, and fraud-free. OOH is everywhere and now we are making it easy for advertisers to access it.
- Advertisers want options and the ability to run omni-channel campaigns, so we’ve adopted audience-based planning, CPM pricing, and attribution. Advertisers demand standard ad units and we are delivering that with our large networks and businesses built around a small set of standard ad units – 16:9, 9:16 | :08, :15, :30 :60 | Full motion, Static | Audio, No Audio.
- OOH 2.0 is technology enabled and all our media is managed in the cloud, fully programmatic enabled, and near-real time. We’re investing in ML and AI to optimize yield across all channels and give advertisers the best possible experience.
This is the future of advertising and we’re proud to be leading the way.
“We know who we are now. We are the blueprint for OOH 2.0”
All ad-supported media will face headwinds in 2023, and we are unlikely to be totally spared.
However, from an OOH standpoint, the shock won’t be nearly as destructive as what we experienced during COVID, when audiences and budgets vanished overnight. We had to adjust more swiftly and completely than any other major media format, and I believe that this will actually help us weather the current storm more successfully than most.
While brand marketers most likely will not wake up tomorrow with the epiphany that OOH is a high-value alternative to their Youtube pre-roll budgets – we must tell our story as an industry every day and back it up with data! We are in a fantastic position to ride the growth in innovation in our sector, and unlock new budgets and advertisers who believe in OOH 2.0.
My advice to OOH operators, agencies, and clients is to navigate and ELEVATE.