Why I Joined OAAA

Consider This

By Anna Bager
President and CEO

Today is my first day as the new President & CEO of OAAA, and I am super excited to take on this new role.

During my first 90 days, I’ll work with CEO Emeritus Nancy Fletcher and the OAAA staff to get up to speed as quickly as possible about the important work we do to support the OOH industry. In the coming weeks, I’ll be traveling around the country on a nationwide listening tour – meeting OAAA members, agencies, advertisers, suppliers, and government officials. I am 100 percent committed to listen first and then to lead. The most important priority in my first 90 days will be to hear the vision and perspectives of the entire OOH ecosystem.

When I was first contacted about the CEO job, I was immediately interested. As the former executive vice president at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), I spent over eight years working with a wide range of media owners to support and promote online, mobile, video, audio, social, and even digital OOH advertising. From where I was sitting, I knew that OOH advertising was “hot.” Not hot in a trendy sort of way. Hot in a “systematic shift in the way advertisers see OOH” sort of way.

Evidence of this systematic shift is everywhere. In the first half of 2019, OOH spending grew by 7 percent, putting it on track to nearly double last year’s growth rate. This is a big deal for the medium and for our members, since every point of market share equals about $2 billion in revenue.

Perhaps even more telling is how many of the largest digital brands have embraced OOH. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Samsung believe enough in the power of OOH to consistently rank in the Top 10 OOH advertisers. And some of these brands, namely Google and Facebook, are even getting into the business themselves. There is no better indicator of OOH’s attractiveness than this.

As I begin my journey in OOH, I want to share some of the most important reasons why I decided to join OAAA:


I’ve been there.

The similarities between digital advertising when I first joined IAB and OOH advertising today are striking. Over the past eight years, digital has grown at a blistering 15-20 percent annual pace, but like OOH, it has experienced growing pains – especially around data, standards, programmatic, and privacy. I know how to run a media trade association, and I’ve learned a thing or two I think I can bring to OOH as it continues to expand. I’m looking forward to applying some of the same best practices I learned from digital to OOH.

[one_half]OOH is undervalued.

I am convinced OOH is undervalued. As OOH continues to digitize its inventory, launch advanced measurement and attribution tools, and develop programmatic platforms, OOH has a compelling story to tell. OOH can literally be the glue that holds a media plan together, making it work harder and more effectively at one of the lowest CPMs in advertising. How many CMOs know that OOH drives three times more digital and social activations per dollar than any other media? How many know that OOH is the most socially shared ad medium? As more advertising and media professionals hear OOH’s story, it is poised to make a major leap forward.

Other media face headwinds.

Even though TV and online still dominate national ad budgets, they face many challenges, from fragmenting audiences to questionable effectiveness. Increasingly, OOH is seen as the solution. According to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), only 25 percent of digital ads are seen by real people, while US advertisers lose $12 billion a year to fraudulent bots, poor viewability, persistent ad blocking and skipping, and questionable brand safety. OOH is one of the last real-world ad media that efficiently and effectively reach real people with zero bot fraud, no ad blocking or skipping, and virtually complete brand safety. There is a big opportunity to educate the market further about these important advantages.

OOH’s creative power is unmatched.

As consumers get bombarded every day with thousands of messages across hundreds of ad formats on multiple devices, the only truly differentiating thing becomes the quality of the message and how it breaks through the clutter. On that front, nothing beats the big, bold storytelling power of OOH. No wonder there are more OOH entries at the Cannes Lions Awards than for any other ad format. Creatives love to design and write for OOH. If you believe great advertising is driven by great creative – and that great creative drives sales – then you have to be in OOH. And now, I am. [/one_half] [one_half_last]

OOH is only going to get better.

OOH is on trend with the consumers of tomorrow. According to AdAge, digital ad burnout is accelerating among young people in their teens and twenties, and OOH has become the most trusted form of advertising among Generation Z – people born between 1995 and 2012. Nearly 85 percent of Gen Z consumers say they pay more attention to OOH than to any other advertising. I hope to still be leading OAAA when Generation Z hits their prime spending years. For the OOH industry, this is a generation worth investing in.

OOH gives back.

Finally, OOH truly gives back. Every year, OAAA members donate over $500 million in free ad space for public service advertisements. Through OAAA partnerships with the FBI, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for AMBER Alerts, and FEMA, the industry has helped catch bad guys, find missing children, and communicate vital information to the public in emergencies and natural disasters. OOH invests in the public good and in the communities it serves. With OOH, it is still possible to make money and do good at the same time. Sign me up for that.

Succeeding Nancy Fletcher is an honor, and we already agree on one of her most important principles: industry unity. The OOH industry is much stronger together than apart. We must remain unified and speak with one consistent voice. We are all OOH. Whether it’s static, digital, or place-based OOH advertising, we are all one industry.

As the leader of the national trade association representing the entire OOH industry, I’m committed to making OAAA as inclusive as possible by creating a value proposition that everyone can get behind. 

Please feel free to reach me at [email protected] with questions, comments, and your vision for the OOH industry.

I am ready. Let’s get to work!