The Importance of Outdoor Advertising

With the majority of advertising efforts taking place online, people often perceive outdoor marketing , or out-of-home advertising methods (OOH), as outdated. However, outdoor marketing is still a powerful tool in the marketing tool belt. 

Just how effective is outdoor advertising, you ask?

Well, effective enough to warrant restaurant giant Cracker Barrel spending 49% of its advertising budget on outdoor signage and ads.1 Considering the brand pulled in more than $3 billion in revenue in 20192 and has over 650 locations, they’re a testament to the efficacy of good, old-fashioned OOH advertisements.

Follow along as we explore the different types of outdoor advertising and how outdoor advertising can help you nail your marketing strategy every time. 

5 Benefits of Outdoor Advertising

Out-of-home ads can take your campaign from lackluster to lucrative. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are five proven benefits of outdoor advertising.

#1 497% Return on Investment (ROI)

The best measure of advertising efficacy is ROI, and on this front, outdoor advertising delivers impressive results. According to a report from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OOOA), every dollar spent on OOH marketing in 2017 brought in $5.97 in net sales.3 

That’s a 5x return on investment—or nearly 500%. Talk about maximizing ad spend.

One reason for this high ROI is the low CPM (cost per thousand impressions) that comes with outdoor advertising. Want to know what does reach mean in OOH advertising or how to calculate impressions? With digital marketing, you have to pay more to reach more people. But a well-placed OOH ad can reach thousands of people per day at a fixed cost. OOH advertising costs can actually be quite cost-effective.

#2 Boosts Marketing Efforts Across All Channels

Not only does out-of-home advertising itself perform well, but it also increases the effectiveness of your other marketing channels. That same OOOA report notes that out-of-home ads increase the efficacy of online searches by over 40% and print by over 14%.3 

Think about it: If a potential customer learns about your brand from a billboard or an airport kiosk, what’s the first thing they’re likely to do? They look you up online to connect with your:

  • Social media accounts 
  • Website
  • Blog

The extra traffic that’s driven to your digital marketing efforts increases their overall efficacy, too. With a creative campaign that ties OOH advertising to your online presence, you can deliver a one-two punch that boosts your revenue across the board.

#3 Building Brand Recognition

You may have heard of the “rule of 7” in marketing—a person needs to see a company’s ads seven times before being converted to a paying customer. It’s an old statistic with a number that may not ring true today, but there’s still some logic behind the idea: in marketing, consistent exposure is key.

Outdoor advertising puts your content in familiar spaces on a regular basis. If you run ads on the side of a bus stop and a commuter drives by it twice every day, it won’t take long to instill that brand recognition.

And because you can’t “skip” a billboard the same way you can skip ads on TV or online, a consumer’s exposure to your brand is steady. OOH advertising places you in control of what your customer sees, and that helps build trust.

#4 Customizable in Design and Placement

Location-based advertising is a powerful strategy when targeting specific demographics. With OOH, you’re in charge of the design and placement of your ads through geofencing and geotargeting. By advertising in spaces frequented by your target market, you can ensure that the right message reaches the right people.

Outdoor advertising provides another advantage over digital marketing, too: the medium on which you place your ad is an additional layer of messaging.

For example: Imagine a running shoe company that’s trying to promote exercise among consumers by encouraging them to always take the stairs. Which method would be more effective:

  • A – Running an ad on a social media site
  • B – Plastering an image of high-end, stair-climbing sneakers on the doors of an elevator
  • C – Painting a mural of their kicks on a building outside a preschool 

The answer, of course, is B. When crafting an advertisement that hits home, relevance is key.

Rarely does a form of media allow as much creativity around placement and design as outdoor advertising, and creativity leads the march when it comes to memorable ads.

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#5 Consumers Accept Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor advertising has been a part of the public landscape for so long that most consumers accept it as a given, and even prefer it to digital advertising, which can bombard viewers.

As long as your material targets the appropriate customer base, it’s likely to be received positively. The OOOA found that 85% of consumers believe OOH ads are useful, and 82% say they create jobs and stimulate the economy.44

Best Practices for Optimizing Your Outdoor Advertising Budget

As you can see, outdoor advertising is a valuable part of any marketing campaign. But as with any form of advertising, it needs to be done correctly to deliver results. Here are some best practices for maximizing your OOH ad spend.

#1 Isolate your Target Demographic

To advertise effectively, you need to know who your primary customers are. Building customer personas is an excellent way to do this. Think about the “perfect customer” for your brand or product. Who are they? What are their interests? Create a fake person who embodies your brand, then imagine that you’re advertising directly to them.

When thinking about your target market, consider factors such as: 

  • Gender
  • Income
  • Race
  • Age

Depending on your product, you may also include other details, such as whether or not your customer owns pets or vacations out-of-state. By isolating these factors, you determine your key demographic. In turn, this informs how and where you should market yourself.

#2 Location, Location, Location

The biggest strength of OOH is location, so use it to your advantage. If you sell sports equipment, place your ads outside of sports centers. If you sell sunscreen, avoid plastering billboards in northern Canada.

With OOH advertising, it’s all about relevance. There’s a reason you see restaurant billboards on every highway during your road trip (remember Cracker Barrel?). Their roadside location makes them immediately pertinent to the hungry traveler.

In short, think about where your customers are likely to be and bring your messaging to them.

#3 Focus Your Messaging and Design

Once you’ve isolated your target audience, it’s in your best interest to cater your imagery and messaging to them. When crafting your message, consider:

  • Colors
  • Verbiage
  • Imagery

Additionally, ads targeting an older population will differ significantly from those geared toward a younger population.

For example, if you’re marketing your product to seniors, you’ll want to design your ad with larger text and images. You may include a phone number instead of a URL, and you’ll probably avoid the use of modern slang. It may seem obvious, but the better you focus your branding, the better your results.

No matter who you’re marketing to, you can’t go wrong with vibrant colors and bold text. An eye-catching image, a short phrase, and a single call to action will help deliver your message in a quick, memorable fashion.

#4 Pick Your Type of OOH Advertising

Now that you’ve figured out what your ad will look like and where you want to place it, it’s time to determine the outdoor advertising options you want to use. OOH media comes in all shapes and sizes, including:

  • Billboards
  • Bus benches
  • Posters
  • Subway station ads
  • Wallscapes
  • Urban kiosks

Your campaign goals will influence your choice of OOH medium, so it pays to think ahead.

If you want as many eyes on your ad as possible, you’ll want something like a digital billboard in New York Times Square. It’s enormous, it’s bright, and there’s a 24/7 stream of tourists and locals looking up at your message, snapping photos, and planning their next to-do.

When you have a specific market in mind, you’ll likely pick a specific kind of OOH media. If you want to advertise to an older beach-going population, you might advertise directly on a single Ft. Lauderdale, Florida bus stop. However, if you’re gearing your advertisement toward a younger crowd, you’ll want to opt for trendy posters or urban wallscapes. 

The type of OOH media you select can be just as important as its placement, so be sure to do your research.

#5 Consult with OOH Advertising Experts

OOH advertising is an under-utilized form of marketing. As such, working with an OOH expert can be beneficial. Even for those working at a large organization with a dedicated marketing team, outdoor advertising can be uncharted waters for many.

Sometimes a DIY approach pays off, especially if you have a particular vision for your campaign. However, more often than not, collaborating with a company that specializes in outdoor media will net you much better results.

Harness the Power of Outdoor Advertising

Understanding the importance of outdoor advertising is the first step toward crafting a marketing campaign that’s old school in all the right ways. OOH advertising comes equipped with elevated ROI, brand recognition, and a sense of familiarity you can’t find anywhere else.

At True Impact Media, we recognize the importance of outdoor advertising and can strategize with you to bring your plans to life. Through our expertise in advertising and technology, we help you buy the most effective OOH placements for your brand. True Impact Media gives you the control you want and the performance you’re looking for—at a price that makes sense.

Interested in learning more about our approach to OOH advertising? Get started today!

Sources: 

  1. Connecticut Post. Outdoor Advertising Is Conquering. Why Aren’t You Using It? https://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Outdoor-Advertising-Is-Conquering-Why-Aren-t-You-13306288.php 
  2. Cracker Barrel. Annual Report 2019. https://investor.crackerbarrel.com/static-files/caecc8ea-d64c-4d97-87b7-be2ac6390438 
  3. OOOA. New Study: Out Of Home Advertising Delivers $5.97 In Revenue Roi. https://oaaa.org/stayconnected/pressreleases/tabid/327/id/4923/default.aspx 
  4. OOOA. OOH Value Guide. https://oaaa.org/Portals/0/Public%20PDFs/OOH%20Value%20Guide.pdf 
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