How to Create an OOH Media Plan in 10 Steps

At AdQuick, our team of out-of-home experts designs custom-built outdoor media plans tailored to every campaign objective and every KPI – and often, folks will ask us how it’s done. So today we’re sharing the 10 steps to planning a high-performing OOH media campaign, from the ground up.

How to Create an OOH Media Plan in 10 Steps

At AdQuick, our team of out-of-home (OOH) experts designs custom-built outdoor media plans tailored to every campaign objective and every KPI (because out-of-home advertising isn’t one-size-fits-all).  

That’s what they do all day, every day…

So, often, folks will ask us how it’s done:  What goes into planning out-of-home media?  What questions do buyers ask themselves when developing a plan?  Are there elements you should consider early in the planning process? What are some examples of these consideration points?

With that in mind, we’ve outlined the 10 steps to planning a high-performing OOH media campaign, from the ground up.  We’ve also linked to more in-depth resources with every step, so you can be well on your way to becoming an OOH media planning expert yourself!  Enjoy!

Step 1) Identify your goals & KPIs.

As is so often the case, the first step is to consider where you want to end up. What’s your primary campaign goal? What specific business outcomes do you want to achieve? What is OOH’s role within your broader marketing mix?  Some examples might include:

  • Increase In-Store Traffic
  • Increase Website/App Traffic
  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Develop Brand Equity & Trust
  • Drive Awareness for New Product Launches
  • Generate Awareness for New Market Launches
  • Activate Social Campaigns

Step 2) Get a lay of the land.

OOH is a much more broad and diverse channel than many realize. It pretty much encompasses anything in the physical world that can be used as an advertising canvas — from massive billboards and wallscapes to street furniture to place-based ads inside malls and airports. So it’s helpful to begin by familiarizing yourself with the many OOH media formats available.

There are also a lot of key players in the OOH advertising media landscape — and they all serve a different purpose when working with brands and advertisers to deploy effective OOH campaigns across various ad units and formats. So take a moment to familiarize yourself with the OOH vendor landscape as well.

Step 3)  Define your strategic approach.

Before diving into the campaign details, think about your overarching strategy. What are the factors that will most influence your OOH ad unit selection? These could include an ad unit’s proximity to specific points-of-interest (POIs) — like your real world store locations (or those of your competitors), reach of specific target audiences, price vs. value, broad reach potential, or creative impact.  

A little early strategic prioritization can go a long way, as you’ll likely need to make trade-offs between these factors as you plan. Will you require the flexibility to modify your buy or creative mid-flight? If so, you may want to prioritize programmatic digital OOH. Are you seeking saturation or domination of a specific market? If so, you may need to target fewer geographic areas overall to extend your media budget.

Want a shortcut? Steal a play out of our playbook.  

Step 4) Define how you’ll measure success.

It can be easy to forget about measurement until your campaign planning is done, but it’s helpful to consider the high-level approach you’ll use to measure success early on (hint: this should map back to your goal!). This is because measuring your campaign may require some prep work. For example, you may need to establish a baseline, place tracking mechanisms, create dedicated landing pages, ensure you can access and share sales data, etc.  

Specifically, consider whether you want to measure lift or attribution (or both).  Lift studies answer the question: “Did my OOH campaign work, and to what degree?”  Attribution reporting answers the questions: “Which ad units outperformed, and how can I optimize to improve outcomes on the next campaign?”

Step 5) Define your campaign parameters.

At this point, you’ve defined your goals, gained familiarity with the many OOH advertising options that exist, determined your strategy, and considered your measurement approach.

Now you’re ready to scope out all of the campaign basics.  Determine your budget (tip: our billboard cost calculator can help). Determine your flight dates. Select your target geography and specific markets — and remember to look beyond NYC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to lookalike markets that can help your budget go farther!  Consider other tactics to maximize your OOH ad budget as well.

Step 6) Select your partners & tools.

Specific technologies can help streamline your entire OOH media planning process, so before you begin reaching out to individual media vendors, consider if an OOH media buying tool can help.

For example, Adquick’s OOH media buying platform facilitates media vendor sourcing and outreach, and streamlines all communication with media owners. (It also includes real-time availability data which can remove the need to RFP individual vendors at all, and it simplifies all of the steps that follow…!)

Step 7) Create your media plan.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road.  Using all of the inputs you’ve gathered thus far, it’s time to create your plan.  Submit RFPs. Aggregate and review proposals. Negotiate Prices. Finalize your media plan. Execute vendor contracts to reserve your media.

Optionally: Kickstart your plan with AdQuick’s OOH Media Planner, a free tool which auto-magically generates a turnkey OOH campaign based on your planning parameters.

Step 8) Execute your buys.

Now that you’ve got your buys reserved, it’s time to consolidate creative spec sheets, create your final creatives to spec, and then traffic them out.

Plan your calendar carefully. The time required to complete these steps varies significantly.  AdQuick allows advertisers to execute OOH buys a minimum of 10x faster, on average. For example, a campaign with 10 vendors and 150 units could take up to 10 days to plan, buy, and execute on your own, but it would only take a couple of hours with AdQuick.

Step 9) Measure your campaign effectiveness.

Great job!  Your campaign is planned and live… but your work isn’t done just yet!  Now you’ll need to get proof that your ads ran (i.e., POPs), execute your measurement plan, and analyze results.  Here again, AdQuick can help you all along the way.

Step 10) Optimize based on insights and learnings.

Finally, if your OOH partner enables mid-flight optimization, make sure to take advantage to improve your overall campaign performance — so you can apply learnings to future campaigns.

Keep in mind that you can track attribution and/or lift across a wide variety of metrics, including:

  • Web Conversion
  • Footfall
  • Brand Metrics
  • App Metrics
  • Halo Effect
  • Social Mentions

That’s it!  Now you’ve got a well-planned OOH campaign in 10 steps! And remember: if you find you’d like some help along the way, AdQuick’s team of OOH experts is always available to create a custom OOH media plan tailored to your unique campaign goals.  Schedule a free strategy session with an expert today!

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