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‘Strong national industry bodies, common currency, sustainability, coordinated adtech vital for OOH growth’

By Rajiv Raghunath - March 13, 2024

WOO President Tom Goddard highlighted the key factors driving OOH growth across global markets, and the challenges to be overcome, in his address at the 1st in-person WOO Africa Forum organised in Cape Town, South Africa

A continent of superlatives. That is how Tom Goddard, President, World Out of Home Organization (WOO) described Africa as he set the context for knowledge sessions in the 1st in-person WOO Africa Forum organised in Cape Town, South Africa on March 11-13. As the 2nd largest continent with 54 countries, following 2,000 languages, and having a 1.2 billion population of whom 50% are under the age of 20, Africa’s demographic and economic profile portends a great future for OOH business in the region.


Tom informed that WOO will be inducting Jacque du Preez of Provantage on its Board in June this year, in place of Dave Roberts who is stepping down. “And because of the growing importance of OOH in Africa, our Board is looking for a second board member from one of the other major African markets and that search process has now begun,” he said.


Referring to WOO’s growing membership across world markets, Tom said the reason “for our growth is down largely to our laser focus on six key activities that our members tell us are the ones that matter most” – measurement & data; sustainability; adtech; best practice and common standards; supporting OOH trade associations; and networking and sharing.


Tom Goddard

Speaking on the imperative of sustainability, Tom said, “Major brands and media agencies have set firm goals to get to carbon neutral by 2030, and not only do they expect media suppliers to follow suit, but many have stated they will only buy media from Ad Net Zero rated suppliers. That’s why WOO has set up a special task force and a dedicated website to help members achieve this goal.”

Stating that global OOH market bounced back up to pre-Pandemic levels in 2022 with revenues of $36 billion, representing 5% of total ad spend, Tom said that Africa has done well to clock a much higher share of adex at around 16% and with a positive upward trend line.

Speaking about OOH growth prospects across global markets, Tom said the key growth drivers are:

  • Digital transformation, which improves presentation standards, delivers 100% illumination, and reduces lead times to hours instead of weeks.
  • Media ownership consolidation which is continuing at pace. Stats clearly show consolidated OOH markets win a larger share of adex.
  • Measurement, that builds trust, improves buyer confidence, facilitates favourable comparison with other media, and encourages common trading currency.
  • Automation which improves efficiency and enables programmatic trading
  • Delivering value for money, with comparatively lower CPM vis-a-vis other media channels.

Tom pointed out that while online takes a staggering 60% of global adex, there are clear challenges facing Big Tech. User fatigue is becoming a real problem “Brand safety, fraud, and fake news are adding to online woes. This creates great opportunities for OOH to step in,” he said, while adding that great creative executions have returned to OOH with major brands upping their investment in OOH 

“And as an industry we’re working much closer than ever with cities to enhance the lifestyle of citizens around the world by providing them with numerous free civic amenity benefits like free high-speed Wi-Fi,  public transport updates, defibrillators and public bike schemes. A recent UK study has also shown the significant amount of money OOH returns to local authorities,” cited Tom, as he also said: “As a medium we can increasingly play a role in driving environment friendly and sustainable advertising.”

In his closing note, Tom asserted that while the stars are aligned for OOH growth, industry initiatives for development and adoption of OOH measurement metrics are going rather slow in many markets around the globe that includes “large swathes od Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.”

He added that while adtech could be a game changer, there is a plethora of adtech platforms that makes the buying process complex and expensive. Similarly, lack of common standards, and a common language is holding back OOH growth.

Looking ahead, Tom called for:

  • More consolidation
  • More coordinated adtech strategies
  • More measurement and data across all markets
  • More collaboration on standards and language
  • Strong national trade bodies.

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