The Best Outdoor Advertisements Need These 5 Things

November 4, 2021

Out-of-home advertising is a key part of a balanced marketing strategy. But it can be challenging to create outdoor advertisements that accomplish all of your goals.

That’s why we’ve put together this article. It offers some practical tips for creating powerful outdoor ads and highlights the 5 characteristics that the very best outdoor advertisements all have in common.

Let’s get into it.

Things to know about outdoor ads

What they are

There are lots of different mediums that you can use to share outdoor ads with your audience. This is a list that includes:

  • Billboards (digital and analog)
  • Transit advertising
  • Banners
  • Posters

Each of these mediums has its own set of pros and cons, so make sure to spend some time thinking about which will be best for your marketing strategy.

How effective they can be

It only makes sense for your company to invest in a type of marketing if it can reasonably expect to generate a positive ROI on that investment. Outdoor ads fit this requirement.

Research shows that 58% of drivers learned about an event or restaurant they wanted to attend from a billboard they passed by. And about 80% of Americans stated they noticed an outdoor advertisement in 2019.

Advantages of outdoor advertisements

Outdoor ads also have many unique advantages over other types of marketing. They may be the most effective way to broadly target specific geographic areas.

So if you want to advertise a physical store, restaurant, bar or health clinic, outdoor ads can be one of the most impactful ways to market it to people who pass by it daily.

Another benefit of outdoor ads is that they let you target your audience at a point in the day in which they aren’t engaged with work or their hobbies. This can increase the chances that a passer-by notices and forms a mental connection with your ad.

5 characteristics the best outdoor advertisements share

If you’re going to invest in outdoor advertising, you want to make sure that your ads are dynamic enough to accomplish your goals. With that in mind, take a look at these 5 characteristics, which the vast majority of excellent outdoor ads have in common.

Digital displays

You have the option of sharing digital ads through either analog mediums (like posters and traditional billboards) or digital ones (such as digital billboards). 

Digital displays enable you to do a ton of cool things with your outdoor ads that you can’t do with an analog display. That’s why the most effective outdoor advertisements are all shared through a digital display.

For example, here are some of the new possibilities that you unlock by choosing this medium for an outdoor ad:

  • Swapping through multiple displays on a single screen
  • Easier to update and change displays with new information
  • Use animation in your ads
  • Integrate your ads with other technologies, such as social media and QR codes

You can leverage all of these extra capabilities to create outdoor ads that are much more compelling than what you would be able to share through an analog medium.


The most effective outdoor ads are also interactive. When you add interactivity to your advertisements, you make passers-by an active participant in them. This increases the chance that someone forms a meaningful connection to your company via your advertisement.

There are various ways you can do this. If your outdoor ads are ground-level, you can use touchscreens to allow passers-by to do things like look through product catalogs and menus.

Another idea is to add a QR code to your advertisement. Doing this can help you bridge the gap between your offline marketing campaigns and your online sales funnel.

It’s also possible to add interactivity to an outdoor ad that’s not at ground level. One idea is to share customers’ social media posts if they use a branded hashtag.

Eye-catching imagery

An outdoor ad can only be successful if it captures your audience’s attention. And the most effective way to do that is by using imagery that stands out from everything else that a person is seeing in the area where the ad is located.

You can do that by using bright, attention-grabbing colors in your ad. Using high-resolution images instead of standard ones is a really important part of this as well.

That being said, you also don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too many images. Because doing that could split their attention and reduce the overall impact of your campaign.

The best strategy is often to use one or two ‘hero’ images instead of several smaller ones.

Bold and concise text

You’ll also likely want to include some text on your outdoor ad. But if you’re going to do this, you need to do it correctly.

The best outdoor advertisements use bold and concise text to share a simple message with an audience. That message could be your slogan, a call-to-action, or information about a promotion that you’re running.

The key here is to not allow the text to detract from the overall impact of the ad. You want the imagery to stand out, not the text that you use.

Clear brand information

The best outdoor ads use all of the previous factors on this list to capture attention. But they also are successful at converting that attention into some specific consumer action. That might mean making a purchase, downloading an app, or joining an email list, among other things.

To do this, you need to make sure that your compelling outdoor ad also has enough brand information on it for people to follow up with you. Otherwise, it’ll be really difficult for you to maximize your investment in this type of marketing.

You don’t have to go overboard with this. But you should at least have your logo, company name, or some other identifying piece of information on your outdoor ads if you want them to be an effective marketing strategy for you.

Other tips for creating compelling outdoor ads

The best outdoor ads share each of the five characteristics covered in the previous section. But there are other things that you can do to make our outdoor advertisements more engaging. Here are some examples.

CTAs aren’t always necessary

Unlike other forms of advertisement, you don’t always need to include a call-to-action on an outdoor ad. It can sometimes be enough just to share your company name and brand logo.

This is because people may only spend a few seconds passing by one of your outdoor ads. So they won’t always have time to read, understand, and react to a call-to-action even if you were to include one.

Location is just as important as design

The location that you pick for an outdoor ad is just as important as the design that you use for it. That’s because location will determine the people who see the ad.

So if you want to make sure that your ad is being shown to the people who are most likely to engage with your company, then you need to pick the location of your outdoor advertisements carefully.

You may need to do some research to get this right. Or, if you just want to get people into a physical store, simply advertising in locations that are adjacent to that store could be your best strategy.

Keep your designs balanced

Balance is an important thing to keep in mind as you go about designing your outdoor advertisements. Your imagery, text, and brand information should all harmonize. That means no single element can be too overpowering.

Balance is important because achieving it will increase the overall impact of the design. And without balance, ads tend to look amateurish and sloppy, which reflects poorly on your brand and could drive people away from your company instead of pulling them towards it.

Consider your surroundings during the design process

The location that you pick for an ad will have unique characteristics. For example, every place has its own color palette and items of attraction that your ads will be competing against for your audience’s attention. 

These things are important to keep in mind during your design process. You want your ads to stand out from their surroundings, and the only way to do that is to understand the characteristics of those areas.

UPshow makes it easier to create, share, and manage outdoor advertisements

If you’re ready to get started with outdoor advertising, then you need to make sure that you have the right software to manage your campaigns. That’s why you should check out UPshow.

Our digital signage management software makes it incredibly easy to create dynamic ads, share them, and manage them from a single internet-enabled device.But don’t just take our word for it. Fill out this form to sign up for a free custom demo of UPshow today.

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