The biggest spenders on out-of-home advertising slots in urban India right now are OTT digital platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon video, according to industry observers.

The fact that these young digital players have overtaken real-estate brands in the use of OOH, one of the oldest advertising mediums, may be surprising, but there are clear advantages experts have pointed out.

OOH allows for both creativity and big impact: Netflix, for example, recently promoted its horror show “Ghoul” by using images of bloody handprints on the walls of washrooms to frighten people.

“It (outdoor advertising) gives us the required impact and hence helps build the right imagery,” Manish Aggarwal, business head at Zee5 India, told afaqs!.

Striking campaigns are not only helping drive word of mouth, he reported. “With drive time increasing in metros and people spending more time commuting by road, outdoor becomes an important medium for OTT as it's all about consumption on-the-go.”

OOH in India is broadly split into two locations – airports and non-airports, according to KPMG – with airports make up 30% of total revenue. The industry as a whole was worth some Rs 3,200 crore (US$14.5m) in 2018 and is expected to expand by over 9% by 2023.

WARC data shows that OOH accounted for 5.6% of total investment in advertising in 2018, and is forecast to contribute the same proportion of adspend in 2019.

Sanjeev Gupta, managing director of Global Advertising, says the attraction of OOH is its cost-effectiveness and superior return on investment.

He compared the cost and effectiveness results of a single front page on the Times of India with outdoor. “We can offer a month-long campaign for that much and which is certain to yield a higher return on investment,” he claimed.

However, measuring effectiveness and ROI has traditionally been a challenge. “We calculate ROI in various ways and one is by tracking online searches,” Gupta explained.

“If we have a hoarding in X location, we geo-target it to see the search activity (how many people Googled the show being advertised) in that location.”

Another method is to measure the amount of press coverage a hoarding gets; and ROI can also be directly measured by the number of subscribers and downloads a platform receives during or soon after an outdoor campaign.

Sourced from Afaqs!; additional content by WARC staff