Maximize ROI in a Down Market With Out-of-Home Advertising

With recessionary headwinds approaching, you’ve probably found yourself re-evaluating media plans to ensure they're driving the greatest value at the most efficient ROI possible. The good news: Out-of-home advertising can help maximize the effectiveness and impact of your media strategy. Here's why.

Maximize ROI in a Down Market With Out-of-Home Advertising

To say that the last couple of years has been nothing short of bizarre would be an understatement. And the situation the world is seeing itself in right now is just a continuation of that trend. So whether or not you believe we’re careening into a recession, the fact of the matter is that businesses, big and small, are bracing for some sort of impact. But that doesn’t mean marketing just stops. If anything, it means whatever marketing tactics you choose to leverage absolutely must work harder for your business—especially knowing that every marketing dollar spent these days is likely being scrutinized by the powers that be.

If you’re like most marketers today, you’re probably busy re-evaluating your media plans over and over again to ensure that everything you push out is driving the greatest value possible—for your business and to your customers. And in the process, you’re also probably having to prove the total ROI of your media mix like never before. The good news for you is that out-of-home advertising can help you maximize both the effectiveness and impact of your broader media strategy.    

Digital media channels have become really inefficient  

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably noticed that digital advertising is not what it used to be. Costs are skyrocketing, attribution is all over the place, and the soon-to-be death of the cookie is going to make precision targeting a nightmare. As the Harvard Business Review so aptly put it, “The effectiveness of digital advertising is wildly oversold,” and it’s just getting worse and worse by the day.

While there’s a lot of work happening within the industry to combat some of these less-than-desirable headwinds, the fact of the matter is that there are media channels, like out-of-home advertising, that aren’t experiencing the same kind of setbacks as digital advertising. In fact, OOH ads have seen a bit of a renaissance in recent years. So much innovation has been funneled into making the channel more performance-oriented than ever before that many marketers today have entirely changed their relationship with and approach to out-of-home advertising as a whole.

So, if you’re looking for creative and impactful ways to fill the void left by underperforming digital ads, look no further than out-of-home advertising. Here are a few reasons why.

1. OOH advertising offers some of the lowest CPMs of any media channel

We’ve said this many times before, and we’ll say it again. Out-of-home advertising is hands down one of the most cost-effective and cost-efficient advertising channels available to marketers today. Just take a look at the chart below to see how OOH ads compare to other digital and traditional marketing channels—and you’ll quickly see that out-of-home drives a pretty big bang for the buck purely from a media investment perspective.

But cost alone is only part of the equation. Because OOH ads exist in the real world and have more of a tangible feel to them, they tend to be much more immersive and memorable than your average fleeting digital ad. This creates what you might call a “halo effect” that keeps a brand’s impression alive and well in a consumer’s mind longer. Not to mention, in the physical world, people’s attention isn’t being pulled in as many directions as it is when they’re on their phones or in front of their computers. So in many ways, OOH ads can create an extended brand experience that makes a real and lasting impact. That is worth its weight in gold for the price.

Out-of-home offers among the lowest CPMs of any media channel. (US Major Media CPM Comparison; Source: Peter J. Solomon Company) 

2. OOH advertising drives the highest ad recall of any media channel

This is just an added proof point to add a new dimension to the value of OOH ads. Again, because people see these ads in the real world—oftentimes in a relevant context that creates a deeper link between the ad message and the environment it’s in—it’s possible to create more of a one-to-one interaction with out-of-home media that sticks in people’s minds.

Here’s a great chart showing how OOH ads stack up to other media channels:

Out-of-home offers the highest ad recall of any media channel. (Ad Recall Comparison Analysis; Source: Peter J. Solomon Company) 

Think about it like this. Say, it’s lunchtime and you’re running errands but your tummy is starting to grumble. You probably need to get something to eat before hunger turns into “hanger.” So, as you’re running errands, you see a billboard for a sandwich shop with mouthwatering images and a message that reads: “The best sandwiches in town, right around the corner.” What’s purely magical about this ad is that it’s seamlessly blended together contextual relevancy with a specific emotional or behavioral state. That’s the key to driving action. And even if you’re not able to stop by the sandwich shop that day, the image and message will linger in your mind.

Of course, there are a lot of other ways to explain brand recall. This example is just one of many. But the key takeaway here is that the real-world nature of OOH ads makes the experience we have with them quite different from practically every other advertising medium. There’s relevant context. There’s big and bold creative. There are fewer distractions. And the list goes on. These all contribute to the effectiveness of OOH ads from a brand recall perspective.  

3. OOH delivers the highest value of any media channel

Taking what we’ve already talked about above—low cost plus high brand recall—one step further, it’s obvious that out-of-home advertising drives the greatest amount of value for every dollar spent. While this has been historically true, these findings were reinforced by recent research conducted by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA).

The study examined how consumers took action after being exposed to different advertising stimuli. This could include conducting online searches, posting content online (via social media and blogs), downloading apps, and making purchases. What they found is that while OOH ads, TV ads, and video ads generate a similar share of consumer actions, 68% of advertising dollars were funneled into TV ads while only four percent went to out-of-home.

OOH delivers the highest value of all popular media channels. (Index of Actions Driven by Each Medium vs. Medium Ad Spend; Source: comScore + OAAA, Consumer Insights: OOH and Online Activation, 2022)

Let’s take a deeper dive into the chart above to interpret the data. If we start at the far left, we see that OOH ads lead to 5.3x the rate of search engine activity (aka, online searches) in relation to the amount of marketing dollars spent in the channel. The calculation goes roughly like this: If OOH ads account for 22% of the total share of online searches (across all media channels) but only represent 4.1% of ad spend share, then it’s brutally clear that OOH ads have the power to influence consumer actions in a pretty massive way for a fraction of the cost. This kind of value reinforces why out-of-home should never be overlooked in your marketing mix. (Seriously!)

Get ahead of the recession wave with OOH advertising

Let’s just consider this article a quick refresher on the primary reasons why all marketers—regardless of the kind of business you operate—should invest in out-of-home advertising. Not just now, as we potentially enter a financially challenging time for the world, but as a standard element within your marketing mix from here on out.

The reasons to run OOH ads are numerous. But what we know to be true is this: OOH ads offer some of the lowest CPMs in the entire advertising ecosystem, drive the highest incidence of ad recall, and provide an incredible value when you consider the amount of actions they drive relative to their price. Not to mention, they are now highly targetable (not using cookies), incredibly efficient at driving offline to online conversions, and quite measurable given the new tools—like AdQuick’s powerful platform—we have at our fingertips today. And finally, because they exist in the real world, they can create more immersive and memorable brand experiences.

Although we beat this drum often, we really can’t stress enough the importance of (re)considering out-of-home advertising as a bigger part of your media mix. Not only does it make sense as we all get ready to weather the recessionary storm, but more importantly it’s also a channel with a proven track record of success that has been overlooked for way too long. We believe in the power of out-of-home advertising. It’s about time you did, too!  

Launch your next OOH ad campaign with AdQuick.  Schedule a free demo to learn more!