Out-of-Home Ad Spending Increases in Second Quarter, but Doesn't Gain Share

Industry's New 'Eyes On' Currency Has Yet to Steal Dollars From Other Media

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Marketers put more money behind outdoor advertising in the second quarter, but it's not clear whether the medium is gaining market share.

Out-of -home ad spending continued its upward climb in the second quarter, rising 4.5% compared to the year-earlier second quarter to $1.9 billion, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. But the industry's growth isn't moving in the direction some ad buyers and sellers would like.

As the industry continues to adopt its new currency, the Traffic Audit Bureau's Eyes On, many executives are hoping to see an impact in out of home's share of spending compared to other media in addition to endemic increases.

"While the industry is doing really well and it's encouraging to see new advertisers come on board, if you look at the overall breakdown of how that might look in terms of market share, even the significant increase in new advertisers hasn't made a dent," said David Payne, CEO-Americas for WPP's Kinetic Worldwide, the largest global out-of -home buying agency.

Indeed, a lot of people have been trying out the medium lately -- 12,000 new marketers spent on out-of -home during the second quarter, with 9,100 spending during the first half of 2011 that didn't use the medium during the previous year. "As people become more connected while on the go, media buyers are realizing the value of the out-of -home medium and its role as a vital strategic element in successful media plans," OAAA President-CEO Nancy Fletcher said in a statement.

But many longtime marketers have been asking their out-of -home media partners to help make their dollars work harder, particularly as Eyes On continues to become embraced by the entire industry. At the OAAA's National Convention in April, Kerri Farrell, media director for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, pushed for standardization of the new metrics much like Nielsen's commercial ratings for TV.

"We can't even touch broadcast without those tools," Ms. Farrell said. "With digital we can track the return on our engagement and even the cost per click. If Eyes On isn't giving you what you need, go ahead and commission some research. Disney is huge on research -- we have two different dedicated teams. It is something that 's important in trying to determine who do we go to and what do we do next."

Kinetic's Mr. Payne said the third and fourth quarters look promising in terms of continued new and return spending, but Eyes On's impact may not be fully seen until 2012.

"It hasn't got the traction it needs to just yet -- roadshows are going on at the agencies, we're now actively using it but it's going to take a while," he said. "The effect isn't going to be dramatic or overnight, it's going to take a while. But it's certainly going to help."

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