May 18, 2017
Businesses of all sizes are facing unprecedented competition for sales. Consumers are more empowered than ever and are wielding it to command a better experience from brands. But getting in front of those prospective clients can be a challenge. Even with the borderless reach of digital marketing, the ability to connect to consumers who are likely to buy your product or service has suffered over the years. So, businesses have turned to advertising to fill in the gaps. And for most, online advertising like PPC make sense. But what about out of home advertising?
What is Out of Home Advertising?
Out of Home (OOH) advertising or outdoor advertising is ads that reach consumers while outside of their homes. Regardless of their media consumption habits, OOH impacts consumers during the normal course of their day through billboards, bench and transit ads, and other outdoor signage.
According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, OOH is the fastest growing traditional media in the U.S., surpassing TV, radio, and print and the second fasting growing ad media behind digital advertising.
Benefits of Out of Home Advertising
Because of its relative ease and lower cost to implement, companies are setting aside a budget for online advertising. Utilizing business friendly ad platforms like Facebook for Business or Google AdWords are common. But the conditions that made technology like TiVo and DISH Network’s Hopper AutoHop popular among consumers now fuels ad blocking technology designed to filter out internet ads. It’s predicted that this year, 2017, almost a third of all internet users will be using some form of ad blocking software to tune advertisers out.
OOH, on their other hand, can’t be blocked or skipped. Consumers are immersed in it daily, from the moment they hit the highway, take the bus, walk up to work, or jump on a plane.
OOH ads have kept pace with the changes in technology, now offering digital billboards, for example. OOH has also placed a greater emphasis on the use of big data. While once depending solely on transportation and demographic data to predict impressions, new technologies now enable OOH advertisers to also include anonymous location data from smartphones and cars to drive more strategic placements and better determine ROI.
Drawbacks of OOH Advertising
Despite the advances in technology and access to unprecedented amounts of data, OOH advertising is passive. Advertisers are limited to a best guess description of who’s seeing the ads. This results in a lot of wasted viewership or impressions because not all of those eyeballs will result in sales.
And OOH ads offer little by way of consumer engagement. Unless the content intrigues the viewer or asks them to take a specific action, it’s possible that the ads will fall victim to “out of sight, out of mind” when they’re no longer exposed to it.
Lastly, the cost. OOH advertising is relatively expensive, especially when compared to online advertising. When you factor in the brevity of the ad placement, the ROI may take a hit.
Out of home advertising raises awareness without interrupting the regular course of a consumer’s day. They don’t pop up in the middle of your YouTube video or crowd your newsfeed. So, the “annoyance factor” is low.
Essential to the success of out of home advertising is following the best practices recommended by the OOH advertising industry. In some cases, you only have a few seconds to make an impact. So, as recommended by the OAAA, the use of bold, expressive imagery and captivating copy is crucial here, as is placement.
But as with any marketing tactic, OOH can’t exist in a silo. It works best when part of an integrated marketing plan.