As marketing has increasingly moved in a digital direction over the past two decades, a lot of myths and misconceptions have prevailed about “traditional” media channels. This is especially true for out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Many people think they know what OOH advertising is, but some perceptions are still very much stuck in the past.
The truth is OOH has changed a lot over the past few years. So here are nine reasons you should consider allocating more budget to OOH in the coming year. Hopefully, you’ll come away with an entirely new appreciation of outdoor advertising, including its ability to amplify your other traditional and digital marketing efforts in a big way.
1) OOH Goes Way Beyond Brand Marketing
In the past, OOH advertising was primarily used for brand marketing campaigns — think Times Square or Sunset Boulevard, where the billboards dwarf everything around them with the splashiest possible brand messages. However, the original focus of OOH was to drive an immediate, direct response that viewers could perform even before returning home, and it still has the power to do that. In addition, OOH can also drive offline-to-online responses, because prospects can immediately take action on their phones. In fact, a study from Nielsen found that OOH is the most effective offline medium in driving online activity – delivering 4x more online activity per dollar spent than TV, radio, and print. This gives OOH huge potential to be included in any marketing mix, not just brand advertising.
2) OOH is Much More than Just Billboards
While billboards play a substantial role in OOH, the medium is much bigger than this particular ad format. Outdoor advertising includes a range of ad formats from wall murals to transport wraps, branded food packaging, and street furniture such as park benches. In fact, OOH can use practically any real-world surface available, and companies employing the full range of opportunities can increase their chances of reaching an audience at multiple touch points during a day.
3) OOH is Absolutely Affordable
OOH advertising has the reputation of being expensive, but it actually offers the lowest cost per thousand impressions (CPM) of all traditional media. With an average CPM of around $5, it’s a steal compared to other options available. The belief that OOH is expensive stems from the cost of billboards in places like Times Square, but it’s the location, not the medium, that determines those prices. And it’s definitely possible to uncover high-value placements even in popular locations like Times Square if you have the right data and technology at your fingertips. For advertisers looking to drive real results in a specific geographical area, there are multiple ways to do so on any budget.
4) OOH is Accessible for Everyone
In the past, buyers had to have close, 1-to-1 relationships with OOH media owners to get the advertising real estate they wanted at a reasonable price. Now, with OOH buying platforms – tools that offer real-time inventory availability, historical pricing data, and historical performance data – buyers can access the information they need to determine which placements will generate the best return on their ad spend. The best platforms also offer pre-negotiated, low rates, so buyers can forego the hassle of haggling with media owners.
5) Local Expertise is Not Necessary
Before OOH data tools existed, media buyers needed local expertise to uncover OOH ad placements. However, now that advertisers can search, target, and measure 98% of available inventory with OOH buying platforms, the need for local expertise is obsolete. Additionally, with the data and insights built into these new tools, any media buyer has the information at their fingertips to plan and buy effective OOH placements that deliver stellar performance.
6) OOH is Easy to Execute
In the past, executing OOH advertising was a long, laborious process that included sourcing, RFP-ing, haggling over price, creative development, approval, production, proofing, and eventual installation. Today, some OOH buying platforms have shortened this process 10x, even for static OOH. And since the rise of programmatic digital OOH, brands can buy and launch campaigns in 48 hours. Buyers and managers can modify, pause, and resume their ads in real-time. The OOH tools available today allow advertisers to perform ad buying and execution faster than ever before.
7) OOH is Data-Driven
One of the most powerful aspects of the newly tech-enabled OOH world is that advertisers can target audiences precisely. Ad buyers use data to pinpoint the exact OOH units most likely to reach their target audiences, and can even layer in first-party data to build accurate lookalike audiences. Third-party, anonymized foot traffic and mobility data help advertisers understand consumer movement patterns at a granular level and identify areas with the highest densities of specific customer segments. This means companies can buy OOH ad units in areas where they will have the best possible chance of being seen and driving action by consumers.
8) OOH is Measurable
Every advertiser wants to know what return they’re getting on their ad spend. With the right tools, today’s ad buyers can track, isolate, and compare performance for both digital and static OOH media. They can accurately assess offline-to-online conversions, measure ROI, and optimize their campaigns in real-time to produce excellent results.
9) There’s LOTS of Inventory
Many people mistakenly believe that OOH advertising operates within a highly consolidated marketplace. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are some very big media owners out there, even the largest only owns about 15% of all available out-of-home inventory in the U.S.
The rest is distributed between thousands of different media owners in the U.S. alone – and many more across the globe. This means that advertisers aren’t stuck working only with the big guys and their high price tags. Instead, OOH buying platforms make it possible to reach the many independent media owners in every market, opening doors to one-stop negotiations for strategically located placements.
OOH advertising has changed tremendously over the last few years. With the latest technology, OOH offers advertisers the ability to plan, buy, and execute ad campaigns that deliver results across every objective and campaign KPI. Don’t make the mistake of thinking OOH is outdated. Take a step into the future to see how this advertising option can impact your company’s bottom line.
Feel free to schedule a complimentary strategy session today to learn more about how you can make the most out of your OOH media buys with AdQuick.
Note: This article originally ran in Entrepreneur.