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The 2023 OOH Trends: The Year Ahead In OOH

Sally Stewart

Head of GroupM OOH SSA

Sally Steward

Sally Steward

March 30 . 5 min read . Opinion

Credit: Roadside digital screen, Gauteng, South Africa, Relativ Media



This year is certainly off to a booming start, December holidays are a distant memory and timelines are out the window, again. Isn’t that great news! We are lucky enough to see new clients entering the OOH market, dormant accounts dipping their toes again and OOH being the ‘IT ‘ girl this season.

We have seen a strong recovery in our market and a surge of infrastructural development with new technology hitting our screens every day, so what’s the next big thing? Well, I don’t think it’s one big change but the adoption of changes that have already been implemented that can now be fine-tuned and propel us into the new age of Hyper Location OOH Marketing – Yes, that’s my most loved Buzzword for this year.

  1. OOH in the Metaverse – A unique and exciting consideration to take things to the next level, although the user base in the Metaverse may not be as high as the volumes driving on highways, targeting the early adopter, and driving relevancy will certainly influence ad-recall and assist in user generated content creation. Many are still unsure of the future of this platform, fame or fad; however, I do feel it can assist brands to connect in a very bespoke way. Watch this space.
  2. Mobile OOH – GroupM OOH proudly utilises Mobile Out of Home to assist us in driving extended reach in our OOH campaigns, optimizing budgets, and driving user engagement. Through a clear understanding of right person, right time – OOH is now as targeted as inputting your audience metrics, affinities and call to actions as any other platform. It will take time to integrate this seamlessly into our traditional landscape, but it’s all systems go. Mobile attribution in OOH will be the next key to unlock the integration puzzle and I predict this will soon become an expectation, not the ad-on.
  3. Go Green or Go Home – GroupM announced in the latter part of 2022 that they will be implementing a global framework for measuring ad-based carbon emissions. Media owners in South Africa may at this time be more focused on how to secure their panels from theft or by-pass load-shedding impacts on their digital screens, but the future waits for no one and I would love to see more media owners sharing their commitments to going green and assisting our industry in decreasing carbon emissions.
  4. pDOOH – It is great to see that the adoption of programmatic has really infiltrated the narrative of not just DOOH but also forming Digital extensions to the more traditional programmatic opportunities available. Trigger based messaging is driving relevancy and assisting in targeting the right market at the right time, this will continue to strengthen and lead performance driven results in OOH.
  5. Contextual Relevancy – I think it has finally hit home. No more print ads on a billboard. No more one message for all. OOH creative is being carefully curated to start a conversation with the person receiving the message, that requires careful planning, communication between agency partners and well selected media that start a conversation and at times even lead to social engagements. Localised messaging, vernacular considerations and bold statements are all the buzz right now if you want your message to stand out.


Hyper Location in OOH is the coming together of Mobile OOH, well selected OOH media, carefully curated messages and retargeting audiences to achieve a bespoke message that merges the impact of a one to many and the relevancy of a one-one mechanism. Location and audience have always been the underpinning arm of a well curated OOH strategy with a touch of a wow factor for talkability and with these integrated approaches merging the lines so definably set in the past, the year looks to be very exciting and full of opportunity.

Sally Stewart has 16 years of media experience across various sectors and is currently the Head of OOH, GroupM SSA.

Sally is a passionate and driven professional skilled in leading sales and media teams to achieve multi million rand targets, exceed business objectives and grow client portfolios into successful and long lasting relationships.

Sally is passionate about the integration of media across channels and loves to do the un-doable to curate a path for the unknown. With a serious case of the travel bug, in her spare time Sally can be found planning her next adventure.