After the downturn in ad spending by key industries such as automotive and financial services during the recession, the outdoor market is making a strong comeback. New technology and formats in this sector are attracting marketers who are looking for the best way to snag consumer attention.  The latest forecasts from Global Industry Analysts (GIA) predict worldwide outdoor ad spending of $43.8 billion by 2017.

The new GIA report notes that the U.S. and Europe will remain the largest markets for outdoor advertising. And billboards will continue to be the largest component of the market. But the fastest-growing sector in outdoor is likely to be transit which will have a compound annual growth rate of 9.1% through 2017.

Ads on large billboards are seen as increasingly effective, especially because of advancing technology. For one thing, more billboards are digital. But new technology is allowing the medium to deliver one-to-one communication. Embedded cameras in some billboards attempt to determine a consumer’s state of mind based on facial expression and then deliver an appropriate ad. Unhappy-looking consumers might be shown an ad for a weekend getaway.

Ad budgets remain tight for most enterprises. And there’s no question marketers are shifting to less expensive ad formats. However, analysts believe that outdoor can grow even as spending on traditional media formats like print and radio may decline. These trends may explain why other research shops share the GIA’s optimistic outlook. Earlier this year, MagnaGlobal predicted that digital out-of-home would jump 15.2% while other out-of-home media space providers would see their revenues jump by 6.8% each year through 2016.

[Sources: Outdoor Advertising. Global Industry Analysts. September. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2011; Global Outdoor Advertising Market. Sfgate.com. 5 Oct. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2011]