Surprising Resurgences: Out-of-Home and QR Codes

Who could have imagined a few years ago that Out-of-Home and the once-maligned QR Code would rise again as viable marketing tools post-pandemic. Increased vaccine rates helped much of the world reopen and begin to venture out of their homes, we adapted to fewer “hands on” information sources, and marketers shifted how they reach key audiences. The move to even more digital accelerated.But, as we practiced shelter-in-place, online ordering or work-from-home from 2020 to early 2022, the future of OOH ads (billboards, posters, and place-based media) didn’t look good. People went out less often, and when they did, they were mostly anxious and distracted. It was hardly an optimal time to market to them via out-of-home.

The 2020 State of the Industry Advertising Trends predicted a 27% drop in ad spending compared with 2019. Advertisers rushed to amend contracts to pause or postpone advertising campaigns or change messaging. But that was not the end of the story. The world opened for business again in 2022, and ad spending rebounded. OOH saw a revival, thanks almost entirely to the post-modern twist of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH).

DOOH ads work best running in tandem with other digital marketing campaigns, from paid social media to streaming. For example, you can maximize content effectiveness by creating OTT/CTV tied to a Digital Out-of-Home advertising campaign, so that when a consumer sees the ad on their commute to work, or while walking to dinner, they’re more likely to engage.

Another reason for the post-pandemic rise of OOH is the ability for mobile integrations with digital versions. Re-enter QR Codes.

QR codes have been around for nearly 30 years, and when scanned direct the user to a specific link. But the original QR codes seldom worked. The reliability and popularity of QR codes recently skyrocketed given the native capability of smartphones. With just the click of a button, users now access hyperlinks instantly using the camera of their smartphone to access menus, find locations, get directions and check event schedules.

QR codes are growing and they’re growing fast. Since 2018, the number of QR code interactions has grown 94%, with half of the restaurants in the US using them as well as a growing number of retailers, hotels and airports.

Tracking trends like these and applying them to our client campaigns is a strength of Brkthru. We’re on it 24/7, because we know today’s world of marketing and digital media moves fast. Reach out to us at to learn more. 

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