Out-of-home (OOH) advertising allows brands to meet people where they are in the real world and drives them to take action. Although down in numbers last year since so many Americans spent unusually high amounts of time at home, OOH recovered swiftly in 2021. Recent figures from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) revealed that outdoor advertising revenue increased by 38% — or $1.75 billion — in this year’s third quarter compared to 2020 spending.
With OOH poised for continued growth, what’s the best way for brands to catch their audiences’ eyes and effectively engage them? It starts by being strategic and creative. Here’s how to do this in 2022:
1. Think beyond the billboard
Billboards may be the quintessential OOH format, but they’re just one element in outdoor advertising’s expansive inventory. Don’t feel like you have to limit your brand to billboard advertising alone when the medium’s possibilities are endless. Instead, consider utilizing a wide range of outdoor ad formats to drive brand awareness, share eye-catching calls to action, and get consumers to visit websites, apps and storefronts.
In the traditional outdoor media catalog, you have street furniture, kiosks, mass-transit wraps, wallscapes and wild postings — to name a few. But lesser-known options should be on your radar, too. Try taking your message airborne by leveraging blimps, skywriting and drones. Another way to get noticed, especially during events, is by having your ads cruise the streets through digital mobile billboards. Or, take your brand messaging to local waterways in the spring and summer with floating billboards.
2. Consider various touchpoints
There’s no such thing as one and done when it comes to OOH. Advertisers should utilize multiple types of OOH in their target market to connect with consumers. Creating multiple touchpoints ensures your audience will remember your brand. It also increases the likelihood they’ll act. Frequency and diversity in what they see are key to achieving impact.
Let’s say you are looking to amplify event marketing, be it a conference, concert, parade or trade show. The first touchpoint on your audience’s journey starts at the airport. You can then leverage taxi toppers, transit wraps and mobile digital billboards to connect with attendees moving around the local market. Next up: place-based advertising to engage event-goers at restaurants, attractions, retail stores and the like. With OOH offering low costs, you can extend your marketing budget by working in a mix of ad formats to connect with audiences at various points within their journey.
3. Remember: Design and strategy go hand-in-hand
The design process doesn’t start with artwork; it starts with strategy. First, ask: Does the design align with your goal? Second, does the design make sense in the context of where it’s placed? To be effective, OOH ads need to center on a specific goal or immediate action. So, while you initially have a blank canvas to work with and endless creative opportunities, the direction needs to be clear. Do you want consumers to sign up for an app? If so, make sure a clear call to action is prominently displayed.
As for context, think about how your message informs your media and vice versa. For instance, a QR code might work well for a transit station or wild posting, but not a billboard next to a highway. OOH can seamlessly fit into its environment, but creativity is what makes it effective or not. When it’s time to plan your design, keep your ads simple and easy to read. Go for eye-catching, high-contrast colors, whether on a billboard high above or a wild posting at eye level. And always consider your goals, contextual relevance and audience.
4. Incorporate calls to action and QR codes
Truly creative OOH ads engage audiences and prompt them to act. One way to achieve this is by incorporating clear calls to action on highway and roadside billboards, wallscapes and other large-scale OOH formats. Be sure to include your website URL in your creative or create short, memorable vanity URLs for campaign-specific landing pages (i.e. www.brand.com/sale or www.food.com/coupon).
For eye-level outdoor ad units, leverage QR codes to create multi-channel experiences that effectively drive customers to visit your brand’s website, app, social media accounts and storefronts. Interactive QR code campaigns across digital and static street kiosks, bus shelters, urban panels, point of sale signage and more reach consumers on their paths to purchase. With the flexibility of QR codes, you can create several landing pages with certain goals and actions in mind for specific locations and promotions.
OOH advertising lends itself to some of the most impactful creative ideas conceivable. Keep these tips in mind to launch attention-grabbing outdoor campaigns that engage your consumers and drive results for your brand.