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What to expect from OOH in 2023:
Be Bold, Be Good, Be Smart.

Livia Brown

Owner & Founder what3things and editor-in chief

what3things and
Livia Brown

Livia Brown

March 30 . 5 min read . Opinion

What to expect from OOH in 2023:

Be Bold, Be Good, Be Smart.

As the media landscape shifts and adjusts to the latest developments, new technologies, new brand requirements and changing consumer behaviors it is important to evaluate where OOH (Out of Home) fits within the marketing mix and what role OOH plays in relation to the ever-changing media landscape.

Here is my opinion of what lies ahead in 2023 from an OOH perspective.

1. Be Bold.
Creativity, the catapult from OOH (offline) to online

(Credit: Shukhrat Umarov)



We saw brands both locally and globally stretch their creative muscles in the OOH space in 2022 resulting in memorable campaigns, engaging messaging and the inevitable (but at times illusive), merging of the online and offline media channels through sharable stories found in OOH. We saw OOH go beyond the billboard to enjoy a second life online, where creative was thoughtful, intentional, memorable, and funny.

In 2022, we saw simple messaging driving engagement, as well as new format types and complex creative executions, such as 3D anamorphic/DeepScreen/Deep Motion winning in digital OOH and 3D moulds and site extensions winning in the competitive township wall mural space.

Focus on adapting creative messaging for the OOH channel and don’t underestimate the impact of a humorous message. Humor has proven to drive good results in OOH when it comes to brand and message recall and in a climate where there is a recession looming, supply chain pressures and financial instability, a good laugh can go a long way. Don’t underestimate the value of tailored messaging to certain locations or occasions, contextually relevant messages resonate more with audiences and encourage talkability and shareability.

‘Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted’ (Albert Einstein) and this is also true of measurement in OOH. As critical as measurement metrics are in OOH (mentioned in trend number 2), there is life beyond what can be measured in certain instances, such as high impact large formats to build brands, ambient activations, and special builds to mention a few. Know when to step back from stringent measurement metrics and when to lean into creativity to create impact to truly stretch OOH muscles. Vision, commitment, and flexibility in media strategies is required to do this effectively.

In 2023, bring your OOH campaigns to life through creative messaging with care and intention.

2.Be Good.
Brilliant OOH basics build trust.

(Credit: Shukhrat Umarov)

We should see OOH and media budgets appear stable into 2023, but all media channels are going to need to work harder to ensure investment and support. Trust, and specifically trusted relationships, becomes a corner stone to drive business growth.


There are currently over 260 OOH media owners and around 14 000 roadside billboard sites in South Africa, there is an abundance of inventory and partners to work with and as the landscape sees more growth, we need to ensure that OOH basics and fundamentals remain in place.

If you do not already have a strategy or plan around the following critical fundamentals, you might be playing catch up leading into 2023:

Measurement, this is a deal breaker! I am amazed that in 2023 this must be said, but simply put, all OOH formats coming to market must have some form of audience measurement to be considered for media plans. Be this ROAD 2.0 / OMC (Outdoor Measurement Council) data, Lightstone (vehicle tracking and audience demographics) data, Mobile data, Pedestrian counts, Passenger figures, Ticket sales, Footfall figures or simple Traffic counts.

Verification and Reporting, as budgets are stretched further and critical assessment of every media channel is required, it is essential that OOH steps up in terms of verification and reporting. Proof of flighting reports and images need to be improved. Digital OOH offers more reporting metrics such as number of flightings, times of flighting, impressions served and so forth and verification metrics for digital OOH, through partners like Seedooh are working to provide transparency and align OOH campaign metrics to other media channels, such as digital, to make it easier for clients to see the value of their investments across the media plan.

Flexibility, supply chain issues across the globe are going to mean that media flexibility is top of mind and digital OOH offers this seamlessly through quick creative changes, but traditional/static OOH media owners need to think about what capabilities and facilities need to be implemented to best support their clients.


Across the board sustainability and carbon footprint reporting are a reoccurring trend and in the OOH landscape it is critical that proper attention is given to the efforts, we as an industry, are making in this space.

Ensure that your clients and agency partners are aware of what sustainability policies you have within your company. Inform your clients about the formal processes towards energy saving, solar powered digital OOH and illumination of traditional/static billboard sites or simple recycling and upcycling of billboard faces, this information is also valuable to include as part of post campaign reporting metrics. 

Good work

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to make OOH other things, in its foundation OOH is a one to many, broadcast media channel. To enable growth for brands in OOH, it requires bringing a brand to as many people, as often as possible.

The shifting media landscape of TV and in some cases social and digital channel budgets means that we could see a change in media budgets, and we should be asking ourselves, “how can OOH best position itself for the potential reallocation of media budgets?”.

Trust, reporting and transparency are fundamentals that all need to be cemented in place before shifts from other channels will be anticipated and brands are willing to move budgets with confidence.

3. Be Smart.
Data beats intuition.

(Credit: ThisIsEngineering)

The days of selecting OOH sites based on, “gut feel”, “I just like the site” and “the CEO passes this site on the way to and from work, so we have to book it” are long gone or at least they should be.

For OOH to compete effectively against other media channels and really drive additional spend we need to get real about data and how critical data is when it comes to building strong OOH strategies.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and geospatial tools are empowering OOH experts with data to inform planning. Various data sources such as, demographic, audience and interest data are all geocoded and being used in combination to create powerful targeting conversation that empower strategists.

I do not think that we have seen the full power of geotargeting audiences yet, there is a lot of opportunity to use Digital OOH, Programmatic Digital OOH and geotargeted mobile to create tactical engagements with consumers where messaging is targeted towards audiences in a specific location at a specific time of day.

We have all seen the evolution of e-commerce and how the retail environment is changing, and we should be asking ourselves, “what role OOH can play to be a part of these changes?” How can OOH play a role in the purchase funnel, specifically in relation to purchases made on mobile whilst out and about and how should we be positioning OOH as a virtual shopfront in key dwell time environments like malls, airports, and commuter nodes.

The door is wide open for brands to win in OOH and Digital OOH through maximizing the audience data available and investing the time to execute intentionally to targeted audiences.


Livia is passionate about working with people and driving business results through doing things differently. She has experience in the media industry and until recently was the General Manager for Posterscope South Africa, the largest Specialist Out of Home media agency in South Africa, part of the dentsu media group. Livia drove the agency to success through putting her team first and knowing the importance of early adoption and introduction to industry leading data, tech and tools and a “if it doesn’t exist, I will build it” attitude. 

Livia is an industry leader in the Out of Home media space and has marketing expertise that comes from over 10 years of working on major brands in the following industries: FMCG, Quick Service Restaurants, Airlines, Banking, Alcohol and Insurance.