Featured image by Steven London from Pixabay 

Out-of-home advertising was a powerful tool for small businesses and larger brands alike for decades. However, thanks to Covid-19, outdoor advertising has lost its effectiveness, at least for the time being, and is not advertisers’ first choice for now.

For all businesses, but especially for smaller ones, 2020 has presented unprecedented difficulties. Now, due to uncertain circumstances, there are obstacles for business owners at every turn. However, surviving these challenges is possible for business owners who adapt to the situation and harness the resources they have.

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For example, take Front Signs. They recently expanded their portfolio to include custom sneeze guards. In other words, they adapted to changing conditions by introducing a B2B solution for protecting the public in crowded areas during the pandemic.

These sorts of safety solutions build a positive image for the brand. Moreover, while providing a public service, Front Signs gets to survive as a business even though their staple product, out-of-home advertising, has taken a nosedive.

What Are the Trends in Out-of-Home Advertising During and After the Pandemic?

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, life simply isn’t the same. There have been changes that have affected every segment of society. The outdoor advertising industry is no exception. In fact, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum, outdoor advertising has seen a 19% decline this year.

The Reasons behind the Slowdown in Outdoor Advertising in 2020

In 2020, billboards and the like are simply not the right marketing channel for reaching customers. Stringent guidelines are in place, urging people to stay at home, and most comply. And while people are not venturing out, they are not seeing outdoor advertising.

Therefore, advertisers aren’t choosing to spend money at the moment on out-of-home advertising. They understand it is not a wise decision because of the pandemic. Some important reasons behind their thinking are:

1. The Target Audience Has Changed

Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, most people are spending their time at home. Since outdoor advertising chiefly targets people as they commute to work or visit movie theaters, malls, transit stations, and the like, most outdoor signs and billboards no longer achieve an optimal return on the advertiser’s investment.

2. Customer Behavior Has Changed

Customers’ behavior and shopping patterns have also changed. During the pandemic, most people have chosen to stay home, in order to remain safe from the Coronavirus.

Therefore, when they need or want to go shopping, they spend their time on the Internet. There, they shop for groceries, home essentials, and other items they need. This makes television and the Internet a more powerful channel for advertisers than outdoor advertising.

3. Out-of-Home Advertising Is Irrelevant to Customers’ Mindset

Another reason behind the slowdown in outdoor advertising is the change in customers’ mindset. Convenience, comfort, and safety are more important for customers now. They don’t want to expose themselves to the possibility of becoming infected with the Coronavirus. Therefore, they consider going outdoors potentially risky, as they fear it could jeopardize their health.

4. There Are New Safety and Health Issues

Safety and health have become high priorities for most people everywhere. To be sure, there are those who refuse to acknowledge the dangers. However, in efforts to ensure every citizen remains safe, most governments are implementing preventive measures and safety guidelines for people to follow.

Staying at home is the most critical of these guidelines. This factor makes outdoor advertising during this time irrelevant and impractical.

5. Outdoor Advertising Has Lost Its Clout

Outdoor advertising is not effective right now. Some marketers continue to choose outdoor advertising, but they don’t get the same results they got before. That’s why most advertisers consider out-of-home advertising right now a waste of time and money.

What Are Some Alternatives to Out-of-Home Advertising?

The need of the hour for businesses is adaption and innovation. Although outdoor advertising doesn’t offer the same results it offered before the pandemic, it can still be a good way to get your message out, even as the pandemic continues. Moreover, out-of-home advertising may regain some measure of effectiveness once the pandemic has passed.

Therefore, along with a reduced presence in out-of-home advertising, you can also endeavor to develop an online presence. There, you can target customers who spend time on various online platforms. Additionally, television and radio ads can be a good alternative, while relatively expensive.

Undeniably, to survive as a business, you must build trust, connect with customers, and be innovative in your business practices, regardless of the advertising channels you choose to use.

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Digital Marketing Takes Center Stage

So although out-of-home advertising is a great marketing channel under many circumstances, it is not the best one at the moment. Marketers are acting upon the need of the hour and choosing the most suitable channel for their goals.

The potential of any marketing channel to generate desired results depends largely on how many members of its target audience see the advertisement or sign. Therefore, during the time of Covid, when most people are sticking to social platforms, TV, and online streaming platforms, outdoor advertising makes little sense. For this reason, many advertisers now target digital channels instead.

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Diversify Your Advertising Strategies

Many small businesses were dependent on out-of-home advertising before the Covid-19 outbreak. They relied on it to bring them customers and generate revenue. Therefore, when outdoor advertising became ineffective, these companies were the ones most affected.

These are the business owners who must acknowledge that putting all their advertising eggs into one basket was not the wisest thing to do. However, they can diversify their marketing strategy now. This will allow them to reach their customers effectively and decrease their dependence on a single advertising channel.