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What is Out of Home Advertising?

Companies have many different advertising channels available to choose from as they try to earn new business. Using a varied approach to reach out to an audience in different ways is critical to have the broadest reach — but some channels will usually be more effective at creating sales opportunities for you than others.

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising can help you engage your audience at optimal times and could be the missing piece you need to tie your existing campaigns together.

What is out-of-home advertising?

In the most basic form, out-of-home advertising is any advertisement that a consumer sees while outside of their home. There’s a long list of ad types that qualify as OOH, including:

  • Billboards
  • Posters
  • Outdoor signs
  • Ads on public transit
  • Ads on benches
  • Any other marketing content that exists outside of the home

Digital vs. analog OOH advertising

Before taking a closer look at why OOH advertising matters and how you can use it to reach your goals, we first need to make an important distinction between digital and analog OOH ads.

An OOH ad is analog whenever it’s displayed through a non-electronic medium. For example, a traditional billboard is an example of an analog OOH ad.

OOH ads are digital when they’re shared through electronic screens. For example, the screens in Times Square display digital OOH ads.

This distinction is worth making because the two types of OOH advertising offer different sets of benefits. Digital OOH ads are often more dynamic, easier to engage an audience with, and simpler to update. 

Top benefits of OOH advertising 

It helps you reach more people

A recent Nielson out-of-home advertising study found that OOH ads reach 91% of U.S. residents over the age of 16–an impressive number that indicates just how large your potential impact with OOH advertising could be.

It helps you reach people at the right time

Perhaps even more important than helping you reach more people, is the fact that OOH ads also help you connect with consumers at the right time. 

The public often sees these advertisements during one of the few parts of the day that they’re not focused on something else.

Generally, people see OOH ads when they’re commuting. That means they aren’t typically working or focusing on some other task, and can instead give their full attention to your ad. 

That doesn’t really ever happen with online ads because people are always focused on something else while on the computer.

It gives you lots of creative freedom

Digital OOH ads can give your marketing team a ton of creative freedom to build highly engaging campaigns. 

That’s because the digital display lets you do unique things like use animations, share beautiful imagery or swap between multiple screens to tell a more complete story with your ads.

Another cool thing about digital OOH ads is that you can update them remotely with UPshow’s software. This makes it a lot easier — and more cost-effective — to optimize your ads and continuously improve them over time.

It helps to bridge the gap between offline and online marketing strategies

Marketers that target consumers both online and in-person often struggle to bridge the gap between these two worlds. 

OOH digital ads can be an excellent way to do this, and the process doesn’t even have to be super complicated.

For example, you could share a QR code on your OOH ads, with the incentive of offering any consumer that scans it a small discount. This can be an effective way of introducing new customers into your online sales funnel.

It’s cost-effective

Research shows that OOH advertising is one of the most cost-effective channels modern marketers have available to them. For example, Omnicom Media Group found that advertisers see an average return of $5.97 for every $1.00 they spend on OOH ads.

Tips for leveraging OOH advertising to reach your goals

Keep your copy brief

You can often afford to put a lot of information into your online and print ads, but with OOH advertising, your copy needs to be brief. 

This is because people may look at your OOH ad as they pass it, but they’re not as likely to stop, read through everything it says and try to understand it.

That’s why your OOH ads should try to use short, snappy copy as often as possible and include a to-the-point call-to-action. Ending with a single hashtag, QR code or web address can be a great way to prompt your audience to continue engaging with your brand.

Design around a compelling image

OOH advertising is often a highly visual experience. The thing that catches someone’s eye about your ad isn’t likely to be its copy or call-to-action. Instead, the imagery that you use will get someone to check out your OOH advertisement.

With that in mind, try to pick images that have the following characteristics for your next OOH ad:

  • Memorable and compelling
  • Visually interesting
  • High resolution
  • Attention-grabbing

Use bold colors

Using bold colors is another great way to help your OOH ad stand out from the others that it competes with for your audience’s attention. 

The cool thing about this form of advertising is that companies typically have total freedom to use whatever colors they want to make their ad stand out. That’s not always true of mediums like magazines and even some web-based advertisements.

So when you design your OOH ad, try to come up with a color scheme that captures the public’s attention. Using contrasting, bold colors is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Take advantage of digital mediums to tell a story

Story-based advertising helps companies organize their ideas around a central theme and lead with messages that resonate with their audience. Digital OOH mediums, such as digital billboards and posters, make this extremely easy to do. There are a few reasons for this:

First, digital OOH ads let you swap between multiple frames. This makes it much easier to create a cohesive narrative with a start, middle and end than it would be to pack all of that information into a single screen.

You can also use features like animations and video clips to tell stories with digital out-of-home ads. Taking advantage of these features can help your company stand out from the crowd with compelling story-based ad content.

Pick the right location

The location that you pick for your out-of-home ads is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make while designing your campaign. 

You will usually want to make sure that you display your ads in locations that your target audience visits often.

For example, if you sell software for financial companies, your OOH ads should go in places that workers at these types of companies frequent. You’re unlikely to see the same level of engagement if you show the ads in places that have no specific ties to the financial sector.

Test your ads

It can also be incredibly insightful to test your ads so that you have a way to measure their performance over time. This can be more challenging to do with an OOH campaign because there isn’t an integrated way to track your engagement metrics directly.

Instead, it can be helpful to build a means of tracking the impact of an OOH ad into the advertisement itself. There are a few different ways that you can do this:

One option is to add a unique QR code to the ad. That way, you can track how many people scan the code in each location that you’re using.

Another idea is to use a special tagline, hashtag or keyword on your OOH ads. You can then track how many people use the keyword on Google and can estimate the effectiveness of your advertisements based on the amount of traffic that the keyword gets.

UPshow powers companies’ OOH advertising campaigns

Digital OOH advertising can be an exceedingly effective way to reach your target audience when they’re not already occupied with the other important parts of their day.

However, to get the most out of your OOH ad campaigns, you’re going to need the right software. That’s why UPshow should definitely be on your radar.

Our digital signage management software makes it incredibly easy to design, update, and share digital OOH advertisements. Our easy-to-use app includes templates and customization tools to give you complete control over how you build your OOH ads. You can even track the effectiveness of your campaigns with our software.

But don’t just take our word for it. Schedule a free custom demo with us today to experience the UPshow difference for yourself.