Looking Back, To See What’s Ahead

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A Perspective on Advertising

Who can believe we’re there already, recapping the year that was 2021. After a rather tumultuous 12 months, for me what stood out across 2021 was how strongly the industry bounced back. Driven by the continued excellent application of data and collaboration across the business, we found our feet. What we experienced this year was a huge collaborative effort to combine data and research, proving to advertisers the positive behavioural shifts that we’ve experienced since March 2020.

From Talon’s Ada Audience Dashboard, JCDecaux’s mobility & sentiment tracker, to TFL & National rail sharing passenger numbers – the concerted effort from all stakeholders has resulted in a better than ever understanding of new audience behaviours. Crucially, enabling us to effectively activate OOH campaigns to around these new consumer journeys.

This new approach delivered highly targeted plans and gave our clients the confidence and reassurance they needed to use OOH once again. Prior to the pandemic, OOH ad spend was growing year on year and digital revenue growing in share of spend each year too. In 2021, OOH revenue for July to September has increased 63% year-on-year, with digital OOH and classic revenues increasing by 69% and 53% respectively. Digital’s share of revenue was 64%, making it the highest it has been since Q2 2020 and significantly higher than its pre-pandemic share of 53% in Q1 2020.

The latest forecasts from AA/WARC also predict that OOH revenue is set to grow 27.7% in 2022. This growth is driven by a combination of factors, digital OOH’s ever-expanding capabilities are obviously a huge element, but advertisers are also embracing OOH as a trusted broadcast medium.

A study we conducted last year showed that trust in OOH actually grew by 14% during the pandemic and we also know that there’s an average +26% uplift in brand trust when OOH is part of the media mix. For me, it comes as no surprise that OOH is set to keep growing. Some of the stand out campaigns from this year that really epitomise this growth, and make me proud of where OOH is heading are:

Traditionally Google focused their OOH on digital formats, which would give them high coverage within city centres. However, due to the changing travel behaviours that have now become established as a result of COVID-19, such as hybrid working, they have adapted their OOH strategy. They have become more local to match the new movement patterns.

Using Ada footfall data, TFL and National Rail data, Talon demonstrated how people were moving around across the country, identifying the areas where highest volumes were. As a result, Google have now incorporated a higher proportion of traditional (paper) OOH within their OOH strategy in order to reach people who are not commuting into cities as much as they used to.

We also worked with Redbull for their January Strava Challenge campaign, using our proprietary Ada dashboard to understand how London traffic levels were performing (lower than the rest of the UK). To ensure that the campaign was successful, we identified the D6s in Central London with lower audience levels, and redistributed these elsewhere in the UK so that the campaign was focussed on residential/suburban areas, ultimately hitting more of our target audience.

What clients and campaigns like these have done is prove the strength of OOH as a media channel. It makes me incredibly proud to work for an industry that despite incredible hurdles, we have faced the challenge head on, adapting and refining our approach in order to deliver the value and results for our clients expect from OOH.


So, when it comes to looking ahead and what to expect as we move into 2022, what I know for sure is that at Talon, we’ve proven how perfectly placed our data and ad tech solutions are to face any challenge head on. We’ll continue to guide our clients through the changes that the year ahead will bring.

As we’ve seen from projected ad spend, confidence and demand for OOH is high – in this buoyant marketplace advertisers are naturally going to look for ways that they can increase cut through. One trend that we saw this year was surging demand for creative OOH solutions. Talon’s Creative Solutions team have been inundated with requests for ‘media first’ ideas that excite and engage consumers. In particular, the team secured and delivered more bespoke, interactive brand experiences than ever before. New and innovative OOH placements will complement national reach campaigns, and become ever more integral to creating truly memorable and unique advertising campaigns that engage consumers in a meaningful way.

Another trend that will continue into the new year will be demand for OOH outstripping supply across the most sought-after broadcast formats. And the result of this will be more clients moving to long term investment strategies, with programmatic OOH playing a more prominent role in tactical and responsive campaign strategies, cementing OOH firmly as the broadcast channel leading the charge in 2022 and into 2023.

And I for one, can’t wait to see what we can achieve.

By Helen Saffer, Group Client Services Director