The not-so-brief benefits of out-of-home advertising

by Valerie Carboni
out-of-home advertising

Also known as out-of-home media, outdoor advertising, and outdoor media, Out-of-Home Advertising (OOH) is a form of advertising that takes place outside of your residence. 

OOH is a complete marketing solution that incorporates a broad range of performance marketing and brand-building strategies. You may have seen the giant billboards on your way to work or a poster promoting a product. These are both examples of out-of-home advertising and its place-based media appeal. 

However, this form of advertising is not just limited to stationary objects and buildings.

The Varied Forms of OOH

In fact, OOH falls into four primary categories: billboards, street furniture, transit, and alternative. Billboards are arguably the most well-known, based on the sheer size of their construction.

Over 4,900 digital billboards have been installed across the US and China. Despite this development, it has done very little to make the traditional billboard expendable. Currently, 9% of total annual revenue is being generated by public service ads, 18% by national ads, and a staggering 73% by local ads. 

Urban centers also benefit from OOH, which can take the form of bus shelters, telephone booths, and news rack formats. This is especially effective being that it targets densely populated areas that have increased foot traffic. 

Transit media advertising is another popular branch of OOH and, as the name implies, caters to mobile audiences. Branded vehicles and moving subway trains make excellent spaces for this kind of advertising.

The benefits of transit media advertising become abundantly clear when you consider just how many employees commute to work. While sitting in traffic can be a nightmare, the human eye will inevitably wander to boldly branded vehicles.

Transit media advertising is not just popular in the US and China, but has also struck gold with the metro train audience in India. Incidentally, municipalities have come to favor this form of advertising as it provides an extra source of revenue to offset budget deficits.

With so many options available, transit media advertising is an invaluable resource to stretch that all-important marketing dollar. Let’s take a look at some of the other core benefits offered by out-of-home advertising.

Cost-Effectiveness

Don’t be fooled by the cost of out-of-home advertising. Prices are often overinflated and are based on the price of billboards found in prime real estate locations such as Times Square

Remember, it is the location and not the medium that determines the final price. It’s still possible to achieve marketing campaign targets in lower-traffic spaces, which often guarantees more bang for your buck.

When compared to other forms of advertising, OOH offers the lowest cost per thousand impressions (CPM). With an average CPM of about $5, you’ll feel like you’re getting away with something. You should consider several marketing elements in addition to the traditional methods that have been tried and tested.

Even without a Times Square billboard, the appropriate digital strategy will effectively target people across multiple geographic locations. There are several factors to consider, but for a savvy marketer, it won’t come as too much of a challenge.

What does this mean from a consumer perspective? Well, your goal as a marketer is to get as many eyes on your products and services as possible. You are playing the law of averages, and the more people who get to see your ad, the better.

Having an advertisement on rotation not only attracts new customers but has the ability to convert potential buyers. That in itself is worth the money spent on out-of-home advertising.

Audience Targeting

Have you ever heard of a little thing called Big Data? Big Data is defined as: “a collection of data that is huge in volume, yet growing exponentially with time. It is data with such large size and complexity that none of the traditional data management tools can store it or process it efficiently.”

From a marketer’s perspective, more information on potential buyers is available than ever before. Big Data is an effective tool for creating buyer personas and targeting individuals interested in purchasing your products and services.

Big Data is not lost in the OOH space, and marketers can now use large data sets to hone in on their ideal customer. We live in a world where the guesswork has been removed. Savvy ad buyers can now focus on purchasing out-of-home advertising assets that guarantee a healthy ROI.

There are several ways to make use of Big Data, which include analyzing third-party mobility data and anonymized foot traffic. With this sort-of-creepy-but-pretty-cool tracking, tailor-made ads will find you without even knowing who you are.

This form of geo-targeted advertising is one of OOH’s most notable features. A localized OOH ad unit can influence consumer behavior up until the time of purchase. Think of it as a gentle nudge to do something that you were going to do anyway. 

This is a boon for companies operating in niche markets that sell specific products and services to a select audience.

Wide Reach

OOH is celebrated for the fact that it gives full creative expression to the human imagination. Remember, out-of-home advertising is not just about sticking a celebrity’s face on a billboard, enticing you to buy expensive perfume. It’s also more than just a clever marketing gimmick that convinces you to switch to another service provider.

OOH is everywhere. It’s on the packaging your lunchtime treat comes in, on your favorite park bench, and on the buildings you pass. It is with you at every major touch point. All day, every day.

Gone are the days of currying favor with the powers that be to reap the benefits of out-of-home advertising. Enter the age of OOH buying platforms, where you as a marketer are able to track inventory in real-time, check pricing and historical performance, and make your decisions based on low, predetermined rates. 

Sounds like a dream come true, right? Now, you are free to focus on reach instead of on how and where to book your ad space.

With all these developments at the marketer’s disposal, catering to a wider audience has become next to effortless. However, the goal is not to “shotgun” the information out there, but to create a tailored experience every single time.

A painstaking process a few short years ago, OOH has been made simpler than ever by technological advancements. We are almost at the point where marketers can operate at the speed of thought. This next step will make reaching intended audiences that much simpler and quicker.

Consumer Engagement

OOH is a significant driver of consumer engagement, which makes it an excellent complement to your existing digital efforts.

Here’s how OOH connects you with new audiences, targets groups, and why people prefer it over other forms of advertising:

While it is not advised to employ the shoot-and-hope-it-sticks strategy, it may be effective based on studies conducted. The very nature of out-of-home advertising allows it to reach 91% of individuals over the age of 16. In this pool, 80% consciously notice the ad and it boasts an engagement rate of 82%. 

Compare this to digital ads that have to overcome ad blockers, and the value of OOH becomes even more apparent. The highway billboard model ensures that your ad is practically in the commuter’s face. It is viewed daily, increasing the likelihood that the commuter will become a customer.

Remember, your out-of-home advertising strategy does not have to be a static process and can incorporate clever digital elements. QR codes, for example, make your static poster interactive. This allows you as a marketer to take initiative and engage directly with your target audience.

Consumer Engagement with Smart Technology

Want to take your customer relationship to the next level? Why not use location-based technology like geofencing to attract potential customers in your area through their mobile devices?

In the earlier days of OOH, marketers wondered who their ads reached, despite them being able to reach large audiences. An effective marketing strategy, as we now know, is one that caters to a specific audience. And if that audience has already displayed intent to buy, even better! 

Now, it’s not just a matter of buying that space in Times Square, fingers crossed, and hoping for the best. More effective ways exist to now reach your intended audience.

What magical elements allow for this sudden shift? Well, tools like geofencing help determine locational intelligence, and mapping technologies and demographic data also play a crucial role. These processes happen in the blink of an eye and they allow marketers to track real-time audience engagement to optimize campaigns accordingly. 

Nevertheless, while the digital realm is fraught with danger, the real world where OOH operates is not. Well, to a certain degree at least. This has fostered the perception that ads seen outside of one’s digital domain have better intentions. What has this meant for marketers?

A Nielsen study recently discovered that companies see four times more engagement with out-of-home advertising than with traditional mediums. Close to half of adults go online to look up a product they’ve encountered in the physical world. With as much as 40% of Facebook users following up on products after seeing an OOH ad.

Still on the fence about OOH?

In addition to considering some of the benefits listed above, consider what it would mean for you and your team. In an age where automation and scheduling tools have taken most of the legwork out of marketing campaigns, don’t you owe it to yourself to give out-of-home advertising a shot? 

After all, in a competitive marketing space, OOH creates peace of mind by meeting consumer demand. This in turn increases your bottom line, while effectively helping real people who rent out space for these ads.

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