Over the last several decades, advertisers have prioritized targeting consumers where they spend most of their time: at home or on their mobile devices. However, the average person has many opportunities to see ads of all kinds while out and about, from taxi cab toppers to TVs in bars. And, subsequently, there are gains to be had here. By understanding what out-of-home advertising is, how it works, how to measure it, and how to implement it, you’ll have everything you need to get a leg up on the competition.

What Is Out-of-Home (OOH) Advertising?

Out-of-home advertising, also known as OOH advertising or out-of-home marketing, is, as the name implies, a way of targeting consumers when they’re out and about. There’s no one method here, opening the door for businesses to spread their name and information via countless different avenues.

The average adult has plenty of opportunities to encounter advertising. From waiting for the bus to going shopping to watching favorite shows at a friend’s house to seeing the signs on storefronts, the world is full of branding. By realizing this, and leveraging it, it’s possible to meet target consumers where they are rather than waiting for them to encounter you by chance. Regardless of who a business sees as a target audience, there’s a way to reach them outside the home.

Why Is Out-of-Home Advertising So Effective?

Focusing on out-of-home strategies may be a new direction to take for businesses, but that doesn’t mean it should be a secondary or lesser option. When out and about, ads are impossible to get away from. Consumers can turn the TV off or put their phone down, but they can’t make a billboard disappear or go shopping without seeing product signs. When outside the home, consumers are often forced to pay attention, whether they want to or not. That may sound a little manipulative, but it’s not at all – it’s simply a matter of putting a message in front of people who need to see it.

Additional points of efficacy include:

  • Increased Time Spent Outside: In spite of a rise in remote work, people are spending plenty of time outside. After two years of near-isolation, those in safe areas are eager to get back to normal. They’re out and about, shopping in person, enjoying nights out with friends, and commuting on the highway, watching billboards go by.
  • A Growth in Opportunities: As the world continues to open up and life goes back to normal, there’s plenty of growth to come. Moving now will ensure ideal placement over those who dawdle.
  • Less Intrusive Options: Online ads are seen as increasingly intrusive, but OOH ads are more accepted as an unavoidable way of life, leading to less frustration for consumers.
  • Digital Programmatic Options: OOH is no longer limited to old-school methods. With digital programmatic options, it’s easy to customize offerings based on evolving needs.

Why Is Having an Order Management System (OMS) Important When Starting OOH Advertising?

As with all forms of advertising, it’s important to make sure you have your ducks in a row before moving forward. That’s why an Order Management System, or OMS, is so important.

First, inventory management is essential for all forms of advertising. This allows for centralized, automated management of where ads are placed, when, and why. This also makes the use of both programmatic digital and dynamic OOH advertising easy, making ads available to buyers at all times. Content streams can be updated in real-time, as well as payout information. OMS can also simplify media owner management, including paying asset owners and landlords in a way that ensures key dates and times are never missed. Lastly, an organized and efficient OMS gives you the ability to demonstrate value, showcasing an organized, streamlined, and tech-savvy approach to tackling out-of-home opportunities.

The Benefits of OOH Advertising

The growth of OOH advertising isn’t an accident. With so many benefits, it’s not surprising that so many brands are taking advantage of location-based services. These are the key advantages of OOH advertising.

  • Cost-Effectiveness: OOH advertising isn’t always expensive. In many cases, putting up billboards or placing ads on bus benches can be much cheaper than large-scale digital campaigns or TV spots on major channels, providing an option to gain eyes without breaking the bank.
  • Immediate Impact: The influence of out-of-home is immediate. There’s no way to turn it off or eliminate it, so consumers are forced to see ads and process the information. And, when placement is strategic, consumers will be motivated to make purchases without delay.
  • Encourages Impulse Buying: As is implied by an immediate impact, OOH advertising encourages impulse buying. When ads are in close proximity to products, like end caps in stores or bus stop ads with QR codes that allow for instant contact, shoppers are in a much better position to make a purchase in real-time.
  • Highly Noticeable: It’s hard to ignore things like billboards. Even if consumers don’t want to look at ads, they’re forced to when ads are all around them. There’s no way to make it through life without seeing advertisements, so OOH placement guarantees eyeballs.
  • Accepted by Consumers: Unlike internet ads, which are increasingly frustrating, and even TV ads, which have been a pain point with viewers for years, consumers don’t complain about ads like billboards. When ads aren’t as frustrating, people are more likely to process the information without bias.
  • Benefits Multiple Ad Campaigns Simultaneously: The less intrusive nature of OOH advertising can benefit other ads. According to one study, customers are almost 50% more likely to interact with mobile ads when contact is first established on an OOH platform.
  • Builds Branding and Customer Recall: When ads can’t be ignored, customers are more likely to remember a brand. With a combination of out-of-home and more traditional digital avenues, it’s possible to build a more robust presence among customers.

The Challenges of OOH Advertising

No form of advertising is perfect, and that includes OOH. While this avenue can offer a lot to brands with a well-reasoned strategy, it won’t be right for all businesses in all areas. Before diving in, keep these potential challenges in mind.

  • Troubles with Targeting: In a space, everyone can see, connecting with a target audience isn’t guaranteed. Yes, in theory, ads would be placed in a location best positioned to appeal to an ideal market, but OOH advertising by nature results in a lot of wasted impressions.
  • Limited Remarketing: In other forms of advertising, like video ads before YouTube content, it’s possible to target the same customers again and again, sometimes in different ways. This has proven to be very effective. Unfortunately, with OOH, remarketing is dependent on customers happening to see another out-of-home placement.
  • Measurement Complications: Traditional digital and linear advertising platforms offer somewhat reliable measurement tools, but OOH is a different beast. Because ads exist in public spaces, there’s no good way to ensure ads are making it in front of the right eyes.
  • Reduced Ability to Go Viral: Online ads, like social media marketing and video ads, go viral quite often, springboarding brands into the public eye. While OOH ads can certainly garner attention and end up in articles or reposted online, there are fewer tools available to encourage widespread visibility.
  • Less Scalable: Out-of-home ads are far less scalable, in large part because they’re harder to measure. When online ads perform well, it’s easy to scale them quickly, but that’s not so true when ads are inside subway cars or on signs at the airport.
  • Slow Implementation: Online ads can be placed with a click, but in many cases, getting OOH campaigns off the ground takes a lot longer. This can slow momentum, especially when time is of the essence, which may cost impressions and sales.
  • Inability to Try Different Ads: It’s erroneous to say that it’s impossible to try different ads with OOH avenues, but it’s significantly more difficult. Once an ad is up in an OOH setting, there’s no quick way to determine efficacy, and no good way to make tweaks based on customer reactions.
  • Customers Can’t Always Take Action Immediately: While customers can take action immediately with some products, particularly those advertised close to a point of sale, this isn’t always true. Online ads allow the ability to click through and head right to checkout, but this can’t be done in the same way for out-of-home campaigns.

Cross-Channel Challenges for OOH Media Companies

Brands operating in multiple spaces can experience challenges with OOH media companies, establishing another set of complications to keep in mind. Anyone operating in the space should keep the following points in mind:

Cross-Channel Inventory Management

The more channels are in play, the harder inventory management is. This is especially true when inventory is being placed in old-school ways, like signs in stores or on public transit. This is why a modern inventory management software option is so important: when organization is poor, ad campaign outcomes can be poor, too.

Consolidation of Ad Placements

Organizing and communicating with multiple supply-side platforms can be a big ask, particularly when trying to handle things manually. Consolidating ad placements across not just digital but OOH platforms can create logistical challenges, especially when the right tools aren’t already in place.

Utilizing Data from Multiple Disconnected Platforms

The modern advertising ecosystem is splintered and disparate, making it challenging for companies to keep numbers straight. When data is coming from numerous sources, keeping everything connected becomes imperative, and that means implementing resources that can consolidate data for collaborative reporting.

Effective Cross-Media Ad Sales For OOH Media Companies

Selling in many different spaces isn’t quite as fast and easy as selling in one, which can delay the process of bringing ads to the market. OOH, media companies need to find a way to effectively tackle cross-media ad sales to avoid leaving money on the table.

Out-of-Home Advertising Trends

Like all areas of advertising, OOH comes with its own unique trends. Those planning future campaigns should keep these elements in mind to make the most out of out-of-home opportunities.

  • OOH advertising, much like digital advertising, can benefit from telling a story and drawing customers into the buyer journey rather than just pitching products.
  • Digital OOH offers plenty of potential, from programmatic placement to interactive advertising, as well as the crossover between mobile ads and DOOH avenues.
  • One OOH platform isn’t always enough. Some brands are taking advantage of multiple platforms in the same spaces, like billboards and bus bench ads in the same location, to increase awareness.
  • Artificial intelligence is spreading into advertising of all kinds, and that includes OOH as well. Learning how AI works in the ad space, as well as the potential across all areas of ad sales, will benefit companies.

DOOH Advertising Technology Trends

OOH, advertising doesn’t exclude the digital space, so those shying away from out-of-home due to tech-free options may want to rethink things. These trends and innovations are changing the DOOH landscape in a way companies can’t ignore.

  • Hardware enhancements and evolution in software development allow for things like programmatic placement and putting ads in front of eyes in flexible, dynamic ways.
  • Screen quality in digital areas, like bus stop ads in cities like NYC or digital billboards, is vastly improving, meaning crisper pictures and more video creativity.
  • Avenues with cameras and motion detectors can allow for interactivity, giving consumers a way to engage with ads in real-time – and often in creative and engaging ways.
  • Mobile technology makes a difference, too. Things like QR codes and geofencing help advertisers to allow cross-platform engagement, whether willingly or through location services, for retargeting purposes.

With an increase in people spending time out of the home, both for work and for play, out-of-home advertising is more important than ever. By leaning into both digital and traditional OOH options – and putting a concrete plan into place before proceeding – it’s possible for companies to see massive gains without overspending or sacrificing ROI.