For OOH Advertisers, The Sky Is No Limit

At SXSW, Paramount+ caused a big commotion when it deployed 400 LED-equipped drones to form an out-of-home (OOH) ad – a massive QR code suspended in midair – to promote its Halo series. But a new ad format is making it clear that not even the sky is the limit for OOH advertisers.

Now, running digital OOH ads in the freezer aisle is an option thanks to a startup called Cooler Screens, whose interactive technology has been transforming clear freezer doors of major retailers like Walgreens and CVS into opaque digital displays that showcase product inventory and promos.

Using a system of motion sensors and cameras, the screens display exactly what’s inside the freezers as well as product prices, deals, nutritional information and paid ads.

All for the purpose of streamlining the store shopping experience and enabling brands to connect with consumers at point-of-sale. The Cooler Screens’ targeted digital ads deliver at the “moment of truth,” right as consumers decide which product to pull out of the fridge, Cooler Screens chief executive Arsen Avakian said.

The Chicago-based startup has nearly 10,000 screens in stores, which are viewed by about 90 million consumers monthly, according to the company. Avakian told CNN he developed the concept after watching in-store customers use their phones to search for product information and reviews.

Companies pay Cooler Screens to run screen ads and retailers receive a cut. Walgreens started testing the screens in 2018 and has since expanded the pilot to several thousand locations nationwide, reports CNN. Other major retailers including Kroger, CVS, GetGo and Chevron are launching their own tests.

The screens irked some Walgreens customers. One Twitter user vented, “@Walgreens NOBODY needs TV screen replacing doors in your cooler aisles…. Stop,” while another lamented the screens, saying they “made me watch an ad before it allowed me to know which door held the frozen pizzas.”

Still, the DOOH concept has piqued the interest of Nestle, Coke, Pepsi and Kraft Heinz, and has raised over $100 million from backers like Verizon and Microsoft. In June 2020, Verizon and Cooler Screens inked a long-term agreement that would see Verizon Business powering the screens’ digital media and merchandising platform.

Verizon said it would be the primary supplier of DOOH ads in top Walgreen store locations in the US including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle, reaching over 75 million shoppers monthly within a year, according to a press release.

Like the massive QR code Paramount+ launched in the sky, the Cooler Screens might be perceived as intrusive by shoppers. But Avakian sees it as an expected growing pain. In response, he said the company plans to educate customers about the digital displays and launch features like voice recognition so shoppers can ask about prices or item locations.

The company also wants to bring its digital displays to a range of retailers including those in beauty, consumer electronics and home improvement.

Projected to reach $27 billion by 2025, DOOH advertising is a booming market and an appealing marketing tactic because it allows advertisers to track ad performance in real-time. They can test, modify and update creative mid-campaign based on metrics, making DOOH a cost-effective way to reach consumers in high-traffic areas.

The tech-fueled, visually dynamic format has proven especially useful for the industry after the pandemic devastated the OOH media segment, spending on which dropped by 29.7 percent in 2020.

New Study Sheds Light On Summer Travel, Commuting And Automotive OOH

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Americans are ready to get out and about, a welcome light at the end of the tunnel for out-of-home (OOH) advertisers. “OOH Consumer Insights and Intent – Q1 2022,” a new report from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) and The Harris Poll, reveals people’s sentiment toward summer travel, commuting, different modes of transportation, seasonal shopping and more.

Whether consumers are on the road, on public transit or flying, all modes of transportation will be seeing an uptick and OOH advertising will be an excellent way to gain mindshare and drive action, said John Gerzema, chief executive officer of The Harris Poll.


First up, 85 percent of Americans are planning summer travel with personal cars as their top pick for transportation. After cars, their preferred methods are by airplane, train, bus and subway—in that order.

Roughly half of Americans and baby boomers intend on taking more vacation time this summer than they did last summer, specifically two weeks or more.

International travel is still at the bottom of the list with 49 percent reporting it not at all likely. Traveling to a different city and vacationing at a resort, beach or elsewhere are very likely for 40 percent and 30 percent of respondents, respectively.

Younger generations plan on staying local while suburbanites intend on traveling the farthest. Most will be staying at a hotel while very few intend on staying in a cabin or taking a cruise.

Assuming there are no local public health restrictions, 42 percent of respondents report being very likely to visit a beach or lake while 25 percent report being very likely to visit a national or state park. Trade shows, live theater performances and sporting events were the least popular choices.

When asked how many days they plan to vacation this summer, most respondents chose one week, though more baby boomers than the other generations chose to take more than two weeks off.

Americans are more comfortable now with all modes of transportation including commercial flights, trains, rideshares, taxis and the subway than they were in May 2020 and April 2021.

Most, especially millennials and individuals living in urban ecosystems, are generally comfortable traveling via any mode of transportation, even with the pandemic underway. Sixty-nine percent feel safe flying, 62 percent feel safe using rideshare services and 61 percent feel safe riding in taxis.

Seasonal Shopping

Among the 42 percent of respondents who find advertisements useful when deciding which product to purchase for an upcoming holiday or event like Mother’s Day or a wedding, about half were men, slightly more than half lived in cities with 1 million or more residents and slightly less than half were millennials.

The Harris Poll did a deep dive on the topic by asking consumers about OOH advertisements (i.e., billboard, outdoor video screen, poster, signage) for different events and holidays including Mother’s and Father’s Day, weddings and graduations. 

On Mother’s Day, 39 percent responded being very much or somewhat influenced by ads while 43 percent responded being not at all influenced. On Father’s Day, 33 percent responded being very much or somewhat influenced by ads while 48 percent responded being not at all influenced. About half of all respondents reported their wedding and graduation gift purchase decisions as being not at all influenced by OOH advertisements.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift decisions centered around flowers and gift cards for mothers and gift cards and tools for fathers. Mothers were least likely to be gifted home furnishings, exercise equipment and special event tickets. Fathers were least likely to be gifted special event tickets, jewelry and exercise equipment.

As for wedding and graduation gifts, slightly less than one-third of respondents named gift cards as their top choice with home electronics being particularly unpopular for both occasions.

Work Commute

The report found 80 percent of workers anticipate commuting to and working from the office by spring 2022, up from 71 percent who anticipated the same in winter 2021.

Respondents were asked about their 2021 and 2022 work situations divided by season. In winter 2021, 45 percent commuted daily, 26 percent commuted to work and worked from home and 28 percent worked from home daily.

In fall 2021, more Americans commuted daily (60 percent) while the portion that worked from home remained about the same. In spring 2022, more Americans commuted daily (63 percent) as the portion with mixed schedules increased to 17 percent and those that worked from home fell to 20 percent. Summer 2022 anticipates more workers commuting (64 percent) and balancing between commuting and working from home (20 percent).

This spring, 76 percent of suburban, 91 percent of rural, 78 percent of urban 1 million+ and 84 percent of urban (<1 million) workers expect to commute part of the time. Each of these cohorts—except those living in an urban environment with 1 million residents or more—anticipates increasing the amount of time they spend commuting part of the time in summer 2022.

In spring 2022, 84 percent of Gen Z, 81 percent of millennials, 79 percent of Gen X and 78 percent of baby boomer workers expect to commute part of the time. Each of these cohorts besides Gen Z anticipates increasing the amount of time they spend commuting part of the time come summer.

OOH Relevance

Gen Z, millennials and individuals living in cities with 1 million or more residents noticed OOH advertisements at the highest rates compared to pre-pandemic levels. The survey shows that 43 percent of all respondents noticed more OOH while 46 percent did not—almost identical to January 2021 figures.

The Harris Poll inquired about annoyances, personal security and other concerns and found that 78 percent of respondents are strongly or somewhat annoyed by interrupting ads while viewing, listening or reading. 

While shopping online, 72 percent reported being concerned about their personal security and data. That figure drops to 67 percent when respondents are on mobile or desktop devices for any purpose. 

Sixty-eight percent of respondents actually ignore digital ads because of how much time they spend looking at screens. And at this stage of the pandemic, less than half of respondents are making attempts to spend less time looking at screens (phone, computer and TV).

Automotive OOH Ads

Slightly less than half of the respondents reported not recently seeing an OOH advertisement for an automotive brand or dealership. Of the 38 percent who did recall seeing one, most lived in a city with 1 million or more residents, 40 percent lived in rural areas, 38 percent lived in cities with less than 1 million residents and 33 percent lived in the suburbs.

Additionally, 50 percent were Gen Z, 49 percent were millennials, 40 percent were Gen X and 24 percent were baby boomers or older. Men (49 percent) were more able to recall a recent automotive OOH ad than were women (29 percent).

Digging deeper, the survey showed that the most interesting types of messages on automotive OOH ads were a new model release (45 percent), fuel economy (37 percent) and limited-time offers on pricing (36 percent). Leasing information was the least interesting type of message as noted by consumers.

Forty-three percent of respondents engaged with an automotive OOH ad, whether that was by visiting the brand’s or dealer’s website or conducting research online (38 percent), discussing information with family or friends (30 percent) or visiting a showroom (23 percent). Only 19 percent of respondents engaged with an automotive OOH ad by purchasing a vehicle while 17 percent leased.

This report’s findings are based on a Harris Poll survey conducted online from February 9 to 14, 2022 among 1,000 US adults 18 and over.

EMarketer: US Digital Ad Spending By Industry 2021

In 2021, eMarketer expected digital ad buyers in the US would spend about $191.09 billion, a 25.5 percent increase from 2020 and the largest in absolute terms since it started tracking these metrics five years ago. 

The firm’s latest research, “US Digital Ad Spending by Industry,” reveals what channels consumers gravitated toward and what drove ad investments in 2021 across 10 industries: automotive, computing products and consumer electronics, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, financial services, healthcare and pharma, media, retail, telecom and travel.

Growth By Industry

In 2021, every industry raised ad spending by at least 10 percent. 

After a difficult 2020, entertainment digital ad spending surged as movie theaters and amusement parks reopened.

Retail grew by 34.5 percent, an impressive figure given its spending growth has never dropped below 20 percent.

CPG expanded by 31.7 percent while computing products and consumer electronics posted strong growth of 29 percent as consumers relied more heavily on ecommerce.

Emarketer predicted travel would see a turnaround of about 70 percentage points in 2021 though not anywhere close enough to recover from its pandemic-driven declines. It also anticipated auto’s digital ad spending would grow by 20.5 percent.

Media was expected to increase digital ad spending by 21.1 percent in 2021 while healthcare and pharmacy was expected to expand by 11.6 percent.

Share By Industry

Retail has accounted for more than 20 percent of the US digital ad market since eMarketer started tracking these metrics by industry. In 2021, it forecasted retail would account for 24.9 percent of all money spent on digital advertising. By the end of 2023, retail’s market share will reach 26.6 percent, more than double that of every other industry besides CPG.

Six of the 10 industries eMarketer analyzed are waning in relative significance for the overall market due to retail’s rapid expansion. As a result, for the rest of eMarketer’s forecast period of 2022-2023, CPG and entertainment are the only industries that will become more significant year after year. 

Computing products and consumer electronics will also continue to see strong growth and maintain an 8.6 percent share of the US digital ad spending market.

Mobile Ad Spending

Also last year, eMarketer predicted ad buyers in the US would spend $129.79 billion n mobile formats, which will account for 68 percent of total digital ad spending compared with the 17.5 percent increase mobile ad spending saw in 2020.

Entertainment, computing products and consumer electronics, CPG, financial services and telecom would devote more than 70 percent of their digital ad budgets to mobile, eMarketer said.

Retail was predicted to be the largest spender on mobile last year, followed by CPG, financial services, and computing products and consumer electronics.

Travel has traditionally leaned more toward nonmobile than other industries but as consumers are more comfortable booking trips on mobile, eMarketer expected it would spend 58.9 percent of its digital ad budget on mobile.

For the first time last year, financial services would spend 70 percent of their digital ad dollars on mobile, according to eMarketer’s 2021 prediction.

Non-Mobile Ad Spending

Mobile ad spending has drawn more share from nonmobile over time however connected TV (CTV) is shaking things up and becoming a booming channel for digital ad spending. Last year, eMarketer anticipated CTV ad spending would increase by 48.6 percent to reach $13.41 billion and will continue to grow faster than on mobile until 2023.

Emarketer also predicted US digital advertisers would allocate $61.29 billion to nonmobile channels in 2021, with retail spending the largest chunk at $16.68 billion.

Healthcare and pharma, travel, and auto have slowly embraced a mostly mobile spending strategy over the past few years and all three will join the new trend of splitting their budget between mobile and nonmobile.

In 2021, entertainment, retail and CPG increased their nonmobile spending faster than the other verticals, which aligns with their high growth rates for digital ad spending overall.

Search Ad Spending

Travel had always spent the most on search among the verticals eMarketer tracks until 2020 when it reduced its spending on the format by 54.2 percent—a number so substantial it materially affected Google’s bottom line in Q2 2020.

Emarketer’s 2021 prediction was that every industry would expand its search spending by at least 10 percent, with major recovery coming from entertainment, CPG and retail. The firm forecasted these three would grow their spend by more than 30 percent.

While retail leans toward display, it was to spend $20 billion, or 43.5 percent of its budget, on search in 2021, eMarketer predicted. The firm also forecasted that CPG and financial services would spend more than $10 billion on search in 2021.

Display Ad Spending

Emarketer predicted display ad spending would accelerate to 27.4 percent in 2021 and cool off somewhat this year and in 2023. Retail again leads here, followed by CPG, financial services, and computing products and consumer electronics.

It also anticipated that entertainment, computing products and consumer electronics, telecom, and auto would spend at least 62.2 percent of their digital budgets on display in 2021.

Video Ad Spending

Emarketer’s display ad figures include spending on video, which it considers a subcategory of display.

The prediction here was that in 2021, video ad spending would reach $55.34 billion—or 51 percent of all display ad spending. That would make it the first year that video accounts for more than half of the display format. 

By the end of 2022, eMarketer predicts video will capture just over 30 percent of all digital ad spending. That’s not far behind search, which will drop to a 39.4 percent share.

Last year, retail was expected to spend the most on video, $12.14 billion. Entertainment and computing products and consumer electronics heavily leaned into video both within their display budget and overall. The former was expected to spend 42.6 percent of its entire digital ad budget, or $4.75 billion, on video in 2021.

Video Will Account For Over Half Of All Programmatic Display Ad Spending In 2022 – A First In The US

Video ad spending continues to grow, as does its share of total programmatic ad dollars. In 2022, eMarketer anticipates video will comprise over half (51.1 percent) of all programmatic display ad spending for the first time in the US.

In 2019, programmatic video ad spending reached $26.24 billion and accounted for 42.8 percent of total programmatic digital display ad spending. This year, programmatic video ad spending will reach $62.96 billion: a roughly $11 billion increase from 2021.

The amount of money US advertisers spend on digital video programmatic will exceed that of linear TV ad spending in 2023, according to eMarketer. About 90 percent of all digital video ad dollars will transact programmatically from now until 2025.

Fueling programmatic video ad spending is connected TV (CTV), which in 2022 will represent over 20 percent of total programmatic video ad spending and 10 percent of total programmatic digital display.

In 2019, CTV programmatic display ad spending reached $3.44 billion and accounted for 5.6 percent of total programmatic digital display ad spending. This year, CTV programmatic display ad spending will jump 39.2 percent from 2021 at $14.33 billion and will comprise 11.6 percent of total programmatic digital display ad spending.

EMarketer also forecasts programmatic will comprise 75 percent of US CTV display ad spending this year given it included YouTube—advertising for which is sold through automation—in its CTV definition.

Direct Marketers Prefer Email Over Social Media

Direct marketers continue to prefer email for reaching consumers despite several social media alternatives available, according to a study by the Association for National Advertisers (ANA).

The ANA’s “Response Rate Report 2021: Performance and Cost Metrics Across Direct Media” found that email was the most popular direct medium across business-to-consumer, business-to-business and hybrid campaigns with an average usage of 82 percent among marketers. 

Other direct mediums marketers use include social media (74 percent), paid research (51 percent), digital display (42 percent), direct mail (38 percent) and SMS (18 percent).

Though email has maintained its popularity among direct response media, it saw a 6 percent decline since 2018 as social media use increased by 17 percent, according to the same ANA study conducted three years ago. 

Still, as observed in the most current study, email surpassed all other forms of media in marketers’ plans for the near future as 53 percent reported having strategies to increase its use in 2022. 

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they have plans to use paid search while 50 percent said the same for social media and SMS.

Additionally, letter-size direct mail—the most traditional method studied—actually outperformed all other alternatives for impact with a 112 percent return on investment, followed by SMS (102 percent) and email (93 percent).

ANA’s response rate report findings are based on an online survey it conducted among 581 marketers between February and July of 2021.

US Consumer Video Game Spending Reaches Record $60.4 Billion In 2021

The NPD Group has released its US games industry report, covering digital, retail and e-tail sales for December 2021 and all of last year. 

According to the findings—based on the firm’s monthly POS tracking services as well as consumer data from other NPD trackers, monitors and reports—compared to one year ago, consumer spending across video game hardware, content and accessories dropped by 1 percent to a total of $7.5 billion in December 2021. Consumer spending in all of 2021 increased by 8 percent to a record $60.4 billion.

Spending on content in December 2021 remained roughly the same as December 2020 at $5.7 billion as increased subscription and recurrent spending across PC, console and mobile platforms countered reduced spending on premium games. Spending on hardware and accessories dropped 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in December 2021 as compared to the same time in 2020.

Video Game Hardware

Video game hardware sales in December 2021 fell 3 percent to $1.3 billion compared to December 2020. Despite the decline, overall spending on hardware in 2021 increased 14 percent to reach $6.1 billion as compared to the same time in 2020.

Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware platform in units sold in December 2021. In terms of dollar sales, Nintendo Switch and Sony Playstation 5 were tied. As for all of 2021, Nintendo Switch led in unit and dollar sales.

Premium Game Tracked Dollar Sales (Excludes Post Launch Spending)

Call of Duty: Vanguard was December’s best-selling game. As a video game franchise, Call of Duty was the best-selling in terms of tracked dollar sales for its 13th consecutive year. In 2021, Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War ranked as the top best-selling games.

Halo: Infinite was both the second best-selling game in December 2021 and the best-selling game on Xbox platforms, according to NPD.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl was the third best-selling game in December 2021 and ranked first on Nintendo platforms for December as well as for 2021. Last year’s dollar sales of Pokémon franchise physical software reached its highest annual total since 2000. 

Resident Evil: Village was the eighth best-selling game in December 2021 and franchise dollar sales reached a new record annual high in the US market.

MLB The Show 21 – the best-selling baseball game in the US – was the ninth best-selling game in December 2021. It ranked fifth on Playstation platforms and 18th on Xbox (excluding digital sales).

Of the 20 best-sellers in 2021, seven also ranked among the top 20 in 2020, including Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Mario Kart 8.


Based on mobile spending data from Sensor Tower, NPD found that December 2021 was the third-largest month for spending in the last three years for the US, and the best December ever. Compared to 2020, US consumer spending on mobile games increased by about 14 percent in 2021.

Consumers spent more than $2 billion on mobile games through the App Store and Google Play each month including and between February and December 2021.

Candy Crush Saga, Roblox and Coin Master were among the top US mobile games by revenue in 2021.

Video Game Accessories

Compared to December 2020, video game accessories sales were down 9 percent in December 2021 to reach a total of $493 million. Throughout all of 2021, accessories sales amounted to $2.7 billion – a 2 percent increase year-over-year.

The Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller was the best-selling accessory of December 2021, while the PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller White was the year’s best-seller.

IPG Mediabrands Elevates Lynn Lewis To Global Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, IPG Mediabrands promotes Lynn Lewis to global chief marketing officer, Berlanti Productions and Berlanti-Schechter Films appoints Suzanne Gomez as chief marketing officer and head of talent relations, Red Lobster hires Patty Trevino as chief marketing officer and more.

IPG Mediabrands Promotes Lynn Lewis To Global Chief Marketing Officer

IPG Mediabrands has appointed Lynn Lewis as global chief marketing officer, according to Adweek.

Lewis enters into the role after having served as Universal McCann’s chief executive officer for the US.

Berlanti Productions and Berlanti-Schechter Films Hires Suzanne Gomez As Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Talent Relations

Berlanti Productions and Berlanti-Schechter Films have tapped Suzanne Gomez as chief marketing officer and head of talent relations.

Gomez joins from The CW where she served as senior vice president of publicity.

Red Lobster Taps Patty Trevino As First Chief Marketing Officer

Red Lobster has named Patty Trevino chief marketing officer.

Previously, Trevino served as CKE Restaurants’ senior vice president, marketing.

IBM Chief Marketing Officer Carla Piñeyro Sublett Exits

IBM’s chief marketing officer Carla Piñeyro Sublett has stepped down, reports Adweek.

As the company streamlines roles, Jonathan Adashek has taken on additional responsibilities in his new role as chief communications officer and senior vice president of marketing and communications. Adashek joined IBM as chief communications officer in January 2020.

Variety Elevates Dea Lawrence To Chief Operating And Marketing Officer

Dea Lawrence, Variety’s chief marketing officer since October 2015, has accepted a promotion as the company’s chief operating and marketing officer.

Since joining, Lawrence has dramatically expanded Variety’s business operations, according to Variety.

Lawrence previously led Variety’s digital sales and marketing departments from 2001 to 2008.

Priscilla Kotey Elevated To Senior Vice President At Warner Music Ireland

Priscilla Kotey has been promoted to Warner Music Ireland’s senior vice president.

Kotey enters her new role after having served as Warner Music Ireland’s marketing and promotions manager since 2008.

App Annie: Mobile Ad Spend Reaches $295 Billion In 2021

Mobile adoption soared in 2021 with growth across usage, downloads and app store consumer spend. App Annie’s “State of Mobile 2022” report breaks down those numbers and trends across mobile gaming, finance, retail and other sectors.

Globally, last year saw 230 billion downloads, $170 billion in consumer spend and a combined 3.8 trillion hours spent on mobile. The US experienced tremendous growth in consumer spend due in part to mobile gaming and in-app subscriptions going mainstream, adding an additional $10.4 billion on top of 2020’s figure for a total of $43 billion in 2021.

Emerging markets, on the other hand, had the most growth when it came to downloads. Pakistan, Peru and the Philippines were among the fastest-growing markets for downloads at 25 percent growth year-over-year each. China had the most with close to 100 billion downloads, followed by India (about 28 billion) and the US (about 11 billion).

The weighted average of time spent in mobile apps globally in 2021 approached five hours per day, an increase of 30 percent since 2019. South Korean, Brazilian and Indonesian users surpassed five hours per day while Americans spent just over four hours per day on mobile devices.

The pandemic stimulated existing mobile habits which were solidified in 2021. Users engaged more deeply in early-mover categories like social and communication and photo and video, App Annie found. Seventy percent of the time spent on mobile last year was spent in social and photo and video apps like YouTube and TikTok.

Despite the fact that photo and video apps experienced an increase in market share of time spent, current habits haven’t shifted much. Rather, consumers converted historically ‘non-mobile’ time into time spent on apps and playing games.

In 2021, 233 apps and games generated over $100 million as consumers shifted their consumption of entertainment and games to mobile, a 20 percent increase from 2020. Improved connectivity, screen size and hardware are a few explanations for why the shift was so seamless. Thirteen apps and games even surpassed $1 billion in consumer spend, according to App Annie.

The top Gen Z app by monthly active users by likelihood of use in 2021 was Instagram. for millennials it was Facebook and for Gen X and baby boomers, it was BOM Weather.

Global mobile ad spend increased by 23 percent YoY to reach $295 billion in 2021. Amid an economic rebound and cyclical events such as the EUFA European Championship and the Tokyo Olympics, coupled with engrained mobile habits, ad dollars flowed to mobile as the primary channel for engaging users—representing 70 percent of ad spend. 

With the Beijing Olympics and the US midterm elections slated for next year, the majority of digital ad spend is expected to be driven by mobile. App Annie expects global mobile ad spend to reach $350 billion next year.

Brands seeking to capitalize on this phenomenon should keep an eye on changing best practices in mobile advertising, determine which ad creatives perform best and study growth strategies employed by leaders in the mobile user acquisition landscape.

Moving on to mobile games, App Annie found an additional $16 billion in gaming consumer spend was added in 2021 for a total of $116 billion. Additionally, 2021 saw mobile game downloads hit 82.98 billion with 3.03 billion having been added last year alone.

Hit games such as Roblox and Genshin Impact experienced tremendous growth globally while Harry Potter Magic Awakened and League of Legends: Wild Rift saw growth in China. 

In finance, Gen Z are most likely to use trading apps and neobanks across regions while Gen X and baby boomers largely use retail banks. Gen Z also prefer to use money transfer apps like Venmo due to their increasing comfort with—and reliance on—their mobile phones. 

Finance app publishers seeking to capture some of this market should recognize Gen Z’s expectations involving fast and simple money movement and financial flexibility.

Mobile retail apps fared extremely well last year. Time spent in shopping apps reached over 100 billion hours globally, up from roughly 85 billion in 2020 for an 18 percent YoY increase. Fast fashion, social shopping and mobile-savvy big-box players experienced particularly strong movement.

Indonesia (52 percent), Singapore (46 percent) and Brazil (45 percent) were among the countries that experienced uniquely strong growth in retail apps.

The total number of hours spent watching video streaming apps grew by 16 percent globally since before the pandemic with Indonesia, Russia and Argentina contributing the greatest increases. China saw a decline of over 40 percent as consumers gravitated toward short-form video apps like TikTok and Kwai, which saw total time spent in-app increase by 205 percent and 225 percent since 2019, respectively. 

Among video streaming trends, the research shows exclusive content releases drove surges in video streaming app downloads as more people were forced indoors due to the pandemic. Providers remained competitive by utilizing exclusive content releases to capture market share. The TV series Made for Love, for example, coincided with a 61 percent spike in HBO Max app downloads, while Squid Game’s release coincided with a 6 percent increase in Netflix app downloads, according to App Annie.

In the quick-service restaurant (QSR) space, branded food delivery keywords dominated the top searches in 2021 in established markets such as the US, UK and France, followed by QSR brand names. 

“Food” was a top-five keyword in several regions and the first most-searched keyword in Canada, Mexico and Australia, and the second most-searched keyword in Turkey.

In terms of social media, the amount of time mobile users spent in the top 25 live streaming apps outpaced the social market by a factor of nine and experienced YoY growth of 40 percent compared to all social apps (5 percent). Live streaming apps drove significant consumer spend in social apps as consumers tip their favorite content creators. Global consumer spend in the top 25 live streaming apps experienced YoY growth of 55 percent.

TikTok was 2021’s clear winner in terms of per-user engagement among the top five social apps that command the most time spent. TikTok also experienced the greatest in-depth engagement over the last four years, reaching an average of roughly 20 hours spent per user per month, matching Facebook and outpacing WhatsApp Messenger, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

Demand for avatar social apps has increased as consumers gain interest in metaverses, including Litmatch, REALITY by Wright Flyer and ZEPETO, with downloads having grown 160 percent YoY. Litmatch downloads alone grew 405 percent YoY.

Lexus’ Digital-Heavy NX Car Campaign Targets Young, Diverse Drivers

Lexus’ new NX car campaign, “Hustle for What Matters,” which introduces the luxury carmaker’s new plug-in electric vehicle, the NX 450h+, aims to appeal to young, diverse drivers with different definitions of accomplishment. 

Leaning heavily into the digital and streaming space, Lexus says the campaign is designed to reach “those with great ambition who are carving their own paths,” whether that means being able to travel, taking over the esports world or leveraging technology to create better balance in their lives.

The fully integrated media campaign for NX will come to life via Twitch, 100 Thieves, Google and Roku. Lexus will take aspiring Twitch creators for a ride in the NX vehicle, where they’ll have the chance to pitch their most unique stream ideas. Fans will then get to decide which creator will be able to make their idea a reality. 

This marks the carmaker’s second collaboration with Twitch. For their first partnership, which centered around the launch of the 2021 Lexus IS sports sedan, Lexus hosted two livestreamed events on Twitch that concluded with a takeaway for gamers: a Lexus IS concept car designed by the attendees.

Next, Lexus plans to create a graphic representation of 100 Thieves’ League of Legends Championship win using gameplay data from the victory. It’ll then turn the graphic into a car wrap for a customized 100T x Lexus NX that highlights the car’s connected features and tech-forward design.

Lexus also developed a custom, Google Cloud-streamed augmented reality experience around the NX, available to watch via YouTube and on

Lastly, for its media campaign, Lexus is teaming with Roku through the OneView platform and leveraging Roku’s proprietary first-party data to maximize unique omnichannel reach to traditional pay-TV.

Seven broadcast spots are also part of the “Hustle for What Matters” campaign and will air during primetime and sports including the Winter Games, March Madness and NBA. According to the release, some of these were created for black, Hispanic, LGBTQ, East Asian and Asian Indian audiences. 

One spot shows a pair of black filmmakers leveraging the tech found in the NX to “capture something truly extraordinary,” according to the press release. Another spot, focused on the Hispanic audience, shows how the NX helps forge a new path amid hardships.

In addition to broadcast, the NX campaign will utilize social videos and out-of-home media, including airports, rideshare, ski resorts and billboards.

OOH Advertising Up 38% In Q3 2021

Based on the Out of Home Advertising Association of America’s (OAAA) out-of-home (OOH) ad revenue report, OOH advertising revenue increased 38 percent in Q3 2021 to $1.75 billion compared to the previous year. Surging 56 percent compared to Q3 2020, digital OOH is leading the overall OOH recovery. Since the beginning of 2021, OOH ad revenue has increased 10 percent over 2020 reaching $5.1 billion.

All of the top ten industry product categories increased by double digits in Q3 2021, including Local Services & Amusements, Retail, Media & Advertising, Insurance & Real Estate, Restaurants, Government Politics and Organizations, Financial Services, Public Transportation Hotels and Resorts, Automotive Dealers and Services and Schools Camps & Seminars.

Local Services and Amusements, a category that represents more than 25 percent of total OOH spend, increased by more than 33 percent while Media & Advertising increased 85 percent.

The top 10 advertisers in Q3 were McDonald’s, Geico, Apple, Amazon, American Express, Walt Disney Pictures, Allstate, Dunkin’, Chevron and Barclays—in that order.

OAAA’s report also found that of the top 100 OOH advertisers, 88 percent increased their OOH spend as compared to Q3 2020. Additionally, of those advertisers, 51 percent more than doubled their spend. Companies like Credit Karma, Webull, DuckDuckGo and ADT, along with 36 percent of the top 100 OOH advertisers, increased their spend by 10x or more. Close to one-third of those advertisers were technology or direct-to-consumer brands such as Amazon, Apple, AT&T and BetMGM, among others.

MAGNA anticipates OOH will be the second-fastest-growing ad channel in 2021 with a projected annual increase of 16.4 percent.

“OOH has come roaring back after a year full of uncertainty the world over. Our industry is both a marker of public sentiment, and in its own right, a morale lifting vehicle for engaging, inspiring and empowering consumers. These Q3 figures should be welcomed as a sign that we’re back and have an exciting next chapter ahead,” said OAAA president and chief executive officer Anna Bager.