Almost half of the world’s population has been taken over by the social media frenzy. Savvy marketers in recent times are investing heavily in digital marketing. Despite the popularity of social media advertisements,OOH advertisements are considered crucial in the Indian marketing industry. Millennials glued to their mobile screens may be a common sight but there still remains a major crowd who spends their time outside, observing, at times brooding over the myriads of hoardings and festoons that adorn the roadsides, vehicles and bus stop shelters.


Several market researches show that the Outdoor Advertising Industry in India grew at a rate of 6% back in 2017. This year the growth rate was estimated to be 20-25% while the market was supposed to be nearly Rs. 3,500 crore. Such major spike in the growth rate was expected since the Loksabha Elections were held earlier this year. Political parties invested almost Rs. 400 crore for the OOH campaigns and it turned out to be successful as these campaigns provided them wide visibility.These campaigns are impactful since no barrier exists between the voter and the advertisement and the larger than life billboards are almost impossible to avoid. According to reports BJP had spent almost 500crores on advertisements this year while Congress invested 50-60 crore for their campaigns. These election campaigns are said to have boosted the OOH industry by 3-4%.

As the cricket frenzy began in March this year, brands started coming up with incredibly catchy taglines along with creative and innovative campaign ideas amongst which OOH was obviously an important medium. Life sized hoardings with taglines that read “GAME BANAYEGA NAME” surely became a huge hit during the 12th season of IPL. These campaigns successfully increased visibility of the teams as well as created a loud buzz among the cricket fanatics. In fact this year’s OOH campaigns were created with better marketing tactics. The CEO of The Social Street suggested that nearly 25% of the total annual profit came from these 45 days of election and IPL campaigns.


  • The contribution of outdoor media in Indian advertising industry is almost 5.8% (according to an article in The Hindu Business Line).
  • WAARC reports that several reputed brands are investing nearly 13% of their total marketing budget for OOH campaigns.
  • Government and non-profit campaigns contributed 26% of their budget in outdoor marketing.
  • Nearly 50-60% of the space in airports across India has been reserved for Digital Outdoor Advertising.

    Religious events like KumbhMela record millions of footfalls. They become major space for brands to grab eyeballs. Durga Puja, considered as one of the biggest festivals around the world,is a time when the entire city of Kolkata gets decorated with various forms of outdoor marketing—from hoardings to overhead gates and massive cut-outs. Ask any Bengali and they will confirm that Kolkata during the pujas cannot be visualized without the numerous billboards and festoons that adorn the city. With the cultural sentiments in mind, marketers every year unfailingly come up with ingenious and sophisticated OOH campaigns. Every big and small brandinvests generously during this 5 day long mega event which in turn gives them massive profit. Thus OOH marketing with a festive twist is highly impactful marketing strategy in India.

    New advertising mediums like mall kiosks and transit advertising is helping the outdoor medium flourish.


    While the word advertising instantly creates the picture of a huge and beautiful billboard in our mind, Outdoor marketing also includes buses, taxis, railways and subways. These are transit mediums where advertisements are placed inside and outside the public vehicles. Commuters cannot avoid these advertisements even if they want to. Also this medium too reaches out to a large number of audiences.


    Digital OOH (DOOH) is huge in countries like US and China. In fact marketing experts believe that India too is going to experience a DOOH explosion in the next five years. According to WAARC reports 60,000 digital screens have already been installed across India within the last three years. These digital boards according to Pratap Bose (Chairman and Founding Partner of The Social Street) “allows control on content.” Moreover Digital OOH saves time and money to the marketers as it is comparatively easier to change content on the digital screens.

    According to a very recent KPMG report titled “India’s Future: Mass of Niches” nearly 30 percent of the total OOH revenue is contributed by the Digital Outdoor advertisements. The report also shows that India contributes only 3%. Therefore, despite all the efforts India is still at the beginner’s level when it comes to digital OOH advertising.

    But some experts like RachanaLokhande (Co-CEO, Kinetic India) believe that metros will undergo a massive inflow of Digital OOH by 2021. She also thinks that transit as a medium will grow nearly 25% while Ketan Lakhani opines that DOOH as a whole will grow around 40-45% in the next five years. Since government has permitted the installation of digital signages and both the infrastructure and customer technologies are developing, there is no doubt that this medium will experience a rapid growth in the coming years. Ashish Pherwani (India M&E Advisory Leader at Consulting Firm EY) said, “We believe factors such as an increase in airports and travelers, upcoming retail spaces, technology advancement with increased penetration of AR and VR technologies and ease of their deployment, targeted campaigns and offers through integration with social media and mobile, plus accurate measurability of Digital OOH, will aid its rapid growth going forward.”


    Outdoor advertising plays a huge role in Indian advertising industry. Market researches show that most of the purchase decisions are made by customers when they are outside.

    • Since this form of advertising does not provide the audience with any choice other than noticing the big and beautiful structures, it created a higher impact for a longer period.
    • There are still a huge number of people in India who does not have access to smartphones and televisions. Outdoor is of utmost importance for marketers to reach out this part of the population.
    • Outdoors have high reach. If the right locations are selected, it can influence the purchase decisions of a large number of people.
    • Outdoor provides ROI which is often higher than digital and any other marketing mediums.
    • To Wrap Up

      An in-depth analysis of the marketing industry revealed that outdoor advertising in India is not properly organised. This might be harmful for the growth of the industry. Also the industry is in a transition period as marketers across the country are starting to concentrate more and more on the DOOH campaigns. But experts like Fabian Trevor Cowan and Suresh Balachandran thinks that the development of digital outdoor advertising in India is lagging behind big time. The only hope is the privatisation of the railways and airports, which will create space for numerous digital screens for the development of DOOH.

      Therefore it can be said that in this age that is dominated by technology and digitization OOH industry in India is doing its bit meticulously and successfully.

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