As India reopened and we moved into ‘the new normal’ after lockdowns, out-of-home advertising gradually returned to pre-pandemic levels. Malls, movies, airports, and metro railways reclaimed their place in the marketer’s armoury as people moved out and about, to enjoy leisure activities such as entertainment, dining out, shopping, and travel.

As a result, the outdoor advertising industry is finally on the mend. In the first four months of 2022, India’s OOH (out-of-home) segment made significant progress, with citizens and vehicular traffic returning to the roadways. Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of BARC and current Managing Partner at Thoth Advisors notes the return of OOH advertising and opportunities it offers to desired audience.

According to a recent Pitch-Madison analysis, OOH advertising had a strong 3,495 crore billings in 2019, followed by a drop to 1,292 crore in 2020, and a semblance of recovery in 2021, at 2,178 crore. Notably, this sum might reach 2,955 crore towards the end of CY22.

“Fintech, e-commerce, OTT, real estate, and hyperlocal services firms are currently the biggest spenders in OOH advertising,” informs Partho Dasgupta BARC ’s former CEO. Mr. Partho Dasgupta also adds, “Auto-industry, mobile handsets, consumer durables, IPL teams, and tech enterprises are among the other industries eyeing in this space. Other factors driving the growth of this sector are increased consolidation among media owners and growing use of relatively more premium characteristics of digital OOH.”

Subsequently, as leisure and business travel have returned, India’s air traffic has increased. It increased by 52 per cent in June 2021 as compared to 2020. Domestic passenger footfall at Mumbai Airport increased by 60 per cent in July compared to June 2021, and it is continuously increasing by 50 per cent every month at Mumbai Metro since May 2021. Also, the Delhi Metro’s Pink Line, which stretches for 59 kilometres is now fully operational, with all necessary COVID-19 guidelines in place to ensure passenger safety.

In line with this growth, the OOH industry must invest in technology. The digital transformation is essential for the sector to generate significant ROI (return of investment), leverage digitisation and provide data-led insights. These information will enable businesses to develop responsive and region-specific campaigns that will increase their audience reach, and engagement. Partho Dasgupta, the former CEO of BARC says, “We can reimagine OOH by technology perspective, enabling data-led information. While OOH remains a one-to-many broadcast medium, digital and online advertising has evolved over time to become hyper personal, attribute-driven, and measurable.”

In conclusion, given the increasing number of Indians travelling, now is the best moment for marketers to start getting in front of their target audiences with correct solutions developed through research and measurement solutions. And, OOH might make use of modern technology to reassure advertisers and attract additional advertising to the industry.