Americans are Noticing More Out-Of-Home Ads Since the Lockdowns, Study Finds

A majority of people also report having a greater appreciation of their surroundings when outside

By Ethan Jakob Craft | Ad Age

With most stay-at-home orders in the United States now lifted, Americans are taking an increased notice of out-of-home advertising and engaging with their surroundings more as they venture back outdoors, according to a new study from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America and The Harris Poll.

The new poll found 45% of Americans report noticing billboards, outdoor video screens, posters and other forms of OOH advertising more now than before the pandemic began, which should come as a sigh of relief for OOH marketers following the category’s grim outlook earlier this year.

Consumers in urban cities with populations of more than 1 million people—areas that were likely to be impacted most by lockdown mandates this summer—reported the highest increase at 69%, while rural Americans were the least likely to notice more OOH, at 30%. Across the board, 7 in 10 respondents said they now have a greater appreciation of their surroundings when outdoors.

“After the challenges of lockdown, we are all enjoying time in our neighborhoods and beyond—with a greater appreciation for everything we experience outside of our homes,” says OAAA president and CEO Anna Bager. “This research has confirmed that OOH has the power to influence consumers as never before.”

COVID-19 has also made consumers more receptive to trying new brands, the poll found, with 43% of respondents saying they use a mix of both new and familiar brands since the onset of the pandemic. An additional 24% report using previously unfamiliar brands almost exclusively, with half opting to stick with their new choices post-pandemic.

The poll also asked Americans about their travel plans for the upcoming holiday season and found that while the coronavirus has forced 80% of people to alter their plans, 67% still intend to travel somewhere this winter. In fact, 4 in 10 respondents say they plan to travel the same distance or further than they did last year.