A Guide to Out of Home Advertising

out of home advertising - billboards
Out of Home (OoH) advertising are any ads you see whilst out and about in your daily life, such as fixed signage and billboards.

Most of us see these types of advertisements every day or whenever we leave the house – on railway station hoardings, on the sides of buses, on digital advertising boards, bus stops, on roundabouts or on large billboards by the sides of main roads, for example.

Technology means that this once fairly-static market is changing rapidly. It was historically seen as being rather dull, as messages never changed for long periods of time on hired boards.

But with the advent of digital tech, billboards can be seen as often as the advertiser wants; by the time of day, the day or the week and in some cases, even based upon air temperature!

What are the benefits of OoH Advertising?

You can reach many people with your single point of advertising. Think of retail centre footfalls or road traffic hubs, for example. This offers an excellent potential ROI, with a captive audience who will be forced to engage with your content.

There is also considerable variety on offer, including road billboards, public transport adverts and digital boards.

The content can be extremely rich, with today’s graphics and digital boards even allowing interactive elements for consumers to engage with, thereby creating an even richer two-way experience that builds brand awareness.

Although often overlooked in a modern digital world, OoH advertising is a powerful part of any marketing mix and can integrate extremely well with digital marketing, using technology like geotagging and QI code readers on smartphones. The medium can be so obtrusive that billboards are even banned in some US states for being disruptive.

If you are looking to be heard and recognised in a busy competitive market, then a billboard could be the right way to get your brand the recognition that it deserves.

Experience is key

Customers know that they will see dynamic media on their smartphones, but the same can be true billboards. Heineken and British Airways are two brands which have run amazing campaigns that changed customers’ perceptions as to what a billboard could do and their visuals are well worth an online search.

Today’s effective campaigns are all about experiences and allowing the customer to feel included within the campaign itself. For example, in 2015 Coca Cola integrated their fan’s social media content with their advertising billboards, sharing and reposting the best Coca Cola tagged images.

Far from being a privacy concern, the best OoH campaigns have shown that users are happy to participate if they feel the campaign is relevant and that it makes them happy.

If it satisfies those criteria, they are excited about the chance of participating. So for Out of House Marketers, the message from consumers is that they want to be included, entertained, inspired and excited by the visuals and campaign concepts.

How to create the right signs

Brands can tell their stories and involve their customers in those stories, creating real engagement and enticing people to get involved in brands.

Designing killer advertising campaigns and signs isn’t child’s play though. Unless they have the in-house design skills, most businesses would be well advised to seek the expertise of a specialist advertising agency to ensure that their sign design – especially for digital signage – tells the right story and engages consumers in the right way, to drive conversions.

Market research is key to understand the target audiences’ needs, wants and desires. From here, the brand’s marketing experts can conceptualise a campaign which responds to these drivers and which is suitably innovative, fun, engaging and uplifting, building brand recognition and delivering conversions to the desired call to action.

Understand the medium’s capability

It’s important to understand what is available in terms of intelligent targeting and integration of big data and analytics.

For example, if you hire a series of digital billboards, you may be able to opt for advert screens that adjust according to what your target audience is doing at the time; whether sitting in commuter traffic in the morning, dreaming of coffee, to cruising along in the sunshine on a weekend afternoon without a care in the world.

Your visuals should be produced by specialist videographers, illustrators or graphic designers, with the right number of screens to respond to the nature of your campaign.

Don’t be afraid to buy in specialist support for your OoH campaigns, especially if you don’t have in-house expertise. Prime hoarding space can be a significant investment and you need to ensure that your campaign has the right professionalism to get the results that you want.

From media space booking through to the coding of visuals, the right support can ensure that your business sees an excellent ROI and justifies placing Out of Home marketing centrally and appropriately within your overall marketing mix.

About the author

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Joe Day,the founder and director of Bristol, Bath and Gloucester based Signman.

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