AdMazad, a graphic solutions provider for outdoor advertising, has said that all outdoor advertising on billboards has virtually stopped due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
AdMazad, which specialises in analyzing data and occupancy rates for outdoor advertising methods, has completed a study into the advertising situation on Cairo’s streets.
In the recent analysis, they described a significant increase in blank billboards within the Greater Cairo area during the first week of April. The lack of outdoor advertising reflects spending behaviours by major international and domestic companies during the pandemic.
AdMazad founder Assem Mayman said the market took a heavy blow in April, as the company’s AdMetrics measurement system recorded a 45% decrease in Cairo traffic. Although traffic was almost the same as normal in the week before Ramadan, it saw a significant drop from the third week of March due to government precautionary measures.
Government calls for citizens to stay home and tension over the ongoing pandemic have resulted in a noticeable increase in the “Cost of Impression” and “CPM” for all road ads.
The study showed that the healthcare sector was the only sector with an increased outdoor advertising presence. Healthcare accounted for a 70% in billboard space as a result of increased spending by pharmacies and insurance companies. AdMazad said, however, that this had already been planned for since the end of 2019.
In April, the real estate industry occupied about 27% of billboards, compared to 43% in the previous year, a decline of nearly 16%, or a decrease of over 200 billboards.
Consumer products advertising on billboards decreased from 10% to slightly over 4% for the same period, while Egyptian institutions declined from 4.5% to 2.1%.
Although the coronavirus is currently a hot topic the ads currently placed on billboards do not focus on topics related to the virus.
Mayman said that advertisers on billboards have kept the same messages since March, with a few carrying messages related to the coronavirus.
“As part of the Ramadan race, we have seen some messages related to COVID-19 from charities, which encourage people to pay zakat to support health care,” Mayman said. “However, overall, there has been very limited spending by major companies on outdoor advertising or creative advertising that includes COVID-19 awareness.”
Like every year, spending on billboards increases during Ramadan, and this year, this rise was led by media companies and TV channels. The Ramadan 2020 season saw a 30% retreat from the 201 billboards used in 2019. However, one major TV networks has chosen not to use billboards during Ramadan for the first time in five years.
Road advertising campaigns to local TV channels fell by an average of 20%, or a decrease in the total number of occupied billboards to 120.
Mayman believes that with the return of traffic, a slow but steady improvement of outdoor billboards is expected to return by June 2020.
However, it will be much lower than the occupancy rates of 2019, with no full recovery expected until the end of the second or even third quarter of this year. This is due to real estate companies owning about 40% of the billboard market.
AdMazad expects consumer goods and e-commerce platforms to lead the market recovery by directing consumer spending to their products and platforms.