Out-of-home audience numbers on the rise after COVID-related low-point

After hitting rock bottom in April, things are picking up and the numbers tell a tale of city and country according to figures from QMS Media

Out-of-home advertising (OOH) hit its lowest point in early April, but is picking up again ahead of formal easing of COVID-19-related restrictions, according to data compiled by QMS.  

“The assumption that numbers are down is fair enough, but thinking this translates to a complete cut in traffic and therefore the destruction of reach is inaccurate,” said QMS general manager strategy, Christian Zavecz. 

The first week of April saw numbers bottom out as COVID-19 had its greatest effect on OOH audiences. The weekly total average reach dropped by 54 per cent, while total contacts fell by 67 per cent. But three weeks is a long time in the Covid crisis and, since then, audience numbers are on an upward trajectory with the latest data up until 3 May showing an increase in reach of 26 per cent and contacts by 18 per cent since the lowest point in early 6 April.

However, QMS said not all types of sites have been affected equally. In line with mass closure of offices and across-the-board working from home, the CBD has been the worst hit with an average drop in total contacts of 71 per cent year-on-year for the month of April.

While suburban numbers were down 41 per cent, and regional, down 34 per cent, these sites are back “but demonstrate how the way we are now moving has changed,” said Zavecz. 

Across the country, the numbers also vary with some states, such as Western Australia, down 39 per cent and Queensland down 45 per cent. These were not as hard hit as Victoria, which has recorded a fall of 58 per cent.

“Understanding how each state’s enforcement of restrictions and its effect on OOH audiences allows accurate forecasting for how they will bounce back through the recovery period," Zavecz said.

QMS is keen to monitor reach being less affected than total contacts, in line with pandemic restrictions seeing people not moving with the same regularity.

“We anticipate that as we emerge from our isolation and feel able to be out and about again enjoying our mobile lives, this will be matched by renewed attention to OOH messages,” Zavecz added.

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