7 distinct strategies for driving long-term OOH advertising success

As you well know, the world of out-of-home (OOH) advertising has become a lot more sophisticated over the last five to ten years. What was once merely a medium that was leveraged by marketers to shine a spotlight on their brands via big, bold billboards has transformed into a full-funnel communications channel.

However, as the medium itself has changed—and our understanding of out-of-home has moved well beyond the constraints of billboard placements alone—the strategies that bring it to life have had to evolve as well. Given the rise of programmatic OOH and more data-driven approaches to OOH advertising success, for example, there are now multiple, highly effective ways for marketers to plan, launch, measure, and learn from their OOH advertising campaigns.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the core OOH advertising strategies that marketers are using most frequently today to get the most value out of their OOH media buys.

Multiple ways to fuel OOH advertising success

As with any other marketing channel, the strategy you use to deploy your OOH advertising campaigns needs to be clearly aligned to specific marketing goals. If your objective is to make a big brand splash, drive conversions both in-store and online, or reach new customers in previously untapped markets, you need to lean into different strategies to achieve these goals.

Fortunately, we’ve come up with a fun way to help you figure out what distinct strategy—or set of strategies—will fit best with your broader campaign objectives.  

Strategy #1: The Road Less Traveled

Goal: Reach new customers as efficiently as possible.

Approach: Run ads in underutilized markets offering lower costs to reach customers.

Whether you need to give your new customer acquisition efforts a boost or extract more value out of every marketing dollar you spend, looking beyond the top 25 OOH markets can open up your brand to new possibilities. Of course, every brand wants to see their creative on display across premiere out-of-home inventory in densely populated—and glitzier, even if only by perception alone—media markets like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. However, suffice it to say that unless you know for certain that your target consumers only live in those markets, you might inadvertently be spending more while overlooking a missed opportunity.

Because CPMs in non-top 25 markets are significantly lower, you can allocate your marketing budgets more wisely by either casting a wider net across multiple smaller markets or go deep and fully canvas a market that your brand hasn’t advertised in before. This is an especially strong strategy for smaller brands or niche businesses with limited marketing budgets (say, less than $50k per market). And while you may have been hesitant to dedicate any spend to relatively “unknown” markets, AdQuick’s free media planner tool—and everything else we offer on our platform—can help ensure that your brand gets in front of the right consumers, regardless of the market they live and work in.  

Strategy #2:  Share the (Brand) Love

Goal: Make a big brand splash.

Approach: Run ads in premiere locations in top-tier media markets.

This is a tried-and-true OOH advertising strategy, one that well-known brands have loved for years. Why? Because it’s got the “wow” factor. From the glowing LED screens in Times Square to the many billboards that dot Bay Area freeways—and thus, get seen by millions of people per week when stopped in traffic—these are the kinds of OOH ads that are coveted most by big brands with even bigger budgets. They aren’t necessarily designed to drive immediate conversion as they are to simply tell consumers, “We exist and you should get to know and love us because we are the best of the best.”

Obviously, this isn’t a winning strategy for all brands, much less for those with limited marketing budgets to go around. But if you have the resources to deploy brand-centric campaigns at scale, this is a great way to etch your brand permanently into consumer psyche.

Strategy #3:  With a Clear Purpose

Goal: Immediately influence the customer journey.

Approach: Use POI-targeting and place-based strategies to drive in-store foot traffic.

OOH advertising has become more performance-driven than ever. A lot of this is due in part to the place-based strategies and point-of-interest (POI) targeting fueling out-of-home as a performance marketing channel. This OOH advertising strategy is particularly useful for brick-and-mortar businesses, like restaurants and retailers, looking to increase in-store foot traffic from local shoppers by strategically placing ads at key points along the shopping journey.

Because these ads are purely location-based, they aren’t necessarily going to reach a massive swath of consumers. However, they will reach local consumers who are much more likely to take action on an ad if it has the potential to add value to them in the moment. As a result, these OOH placements tend to be reasonably priced and within reach, budget-wise, for the local businesses that will gladly double down on a marketing investment that boosts foot traffic.  

Strategy #4: Follow the Consumer

Goal: Reach a specific target audience.

Approach: Use audience data and filters to surface the most audience-relevant ad units.

Instead of casting a wide net within a market, it’s now possible, using solutions like AdQuick, to use granular audience data to find, reach, target, and engage consumers through OOH advertising with greater precision than ever before. Because this is a more performance-driven strategy, it’s not going to give you wide reach. But it will get your brand in front of the right consumers and motivate them to take action on what you offer, either online or otherwise, because your marketing message is more likely to resonate with them.
While this is a solid strategy for uncovering hidden potential customers in new markets, it’s especially useful for niche brands needing to target, you guessed it, niche customers.

Strategy #5: Show No Mercy

Goal: Reach consumers in ‘buying mode’ and steal market share.  

Approach: Use POI-targeting and place-based strategies to identify ad units near your competitor’s brick-and-mortar locations.

Think of this like advertising warfare. Whether you are a supermarket trying to steal market share from your nearest competitor or a shiny, new DTC brand unafraid to go head-to-head with more old-school brick-and-mortar players (think: all of the new mattress brands today), this OOH advertising strategy puts your brand in an adversarial position. In other words, by promoting your brand’s unique value propositions, offers, or points of differentiation in the vicinity of your competitor, you encourage your competitor’s customers to think twice about potentially trying something new. This is especially powerful when consumers are in full-on shopping mode and must choose what’s behind either door number one or door number two to complete their shopping journey. Oh, the power of persuasion—or just a better deal!

This strategy can be used by virtually any brand or business, big or small. The goal here is to be provocative above anything else in an effort to shift consumer behaviors or habits. Some of these OOH placements might have broad reach while others might be more narrow, which means pricing can vary significantly across markets and placements. Either way you look at it, this strategy is a great way to steal market share and put your brand top-of-mind.  

Budweiser placed these billboards outside of their competitors’ offices.

Strategy #6: More Bang for the Buck

Goal: Get mass exposure at the lowest possible cost.

Approach: Use historical pricing data to take advantage of short-term price drops.

Some strategies require a bit more planning (and budget) in advance. This strategy is quite different than the others discussed above. It’s 100% focused on maximizing brand exposure across ‘non-premium’ inventory for a great deal. The only hitch is that getting these great deals requires buying whatever OOH inventory is available at the last minute.

The upside to this is simple. It can and will get you mass exposure in your chosen target markets and, therefore, is a great way to make your marketing budgets scale quickly. Given the tight turnaround between buying the media and then sending off the final creative, however, the biggest downside with this strategy is that you could give your creative folks or agency partners a panic attack. But that’s all part of the trade off for a great deal and the opportunity to get your brand canvassed broadly across a handful of target markets.

Pro-tip: If you’re really spread thin on the creative front, AdQuick’s team can help.

Strategy #7: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Goal: Drive greater offline and online performance.

Approach: Test, refine, and optimize campaigns in real-time.

People (and brands) who love data will likely gravitate to this strategy. As with other digital media, programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) allows marketers to monitor the performance of their campaigns in real-time. The benefit here is that it creates opportunities to optimize creative, refine audience targeting, and manipulate other campaign variables to boost and scale performance as much as possible.

Speaking of scale, with these data-driven insights and learnings firmly in place, marketers are in a better position to double down on the DOOH tactics that work and immediately eliminate those that don’t in order to drive the greatest ROAS (return on ad spend) possible. But it also gives marketers an opportunity to be of the ‘test’ mindset with OOH advertising campaigns—in ways that were never possible with this medium before.

OOH advertising doesn’t follow a single strategy

The big takeaway here, if it wasn’t clear already, is that there’s no right or wrong strategy for planning, launching, measuring, and learning from your out-of-home campaigns. Depending on your goals, budgets, customer profiles, and likely a slew of other variables unique to your brand, there are a lot of different ways to drive OOH advertising success. Here, we’ve given you seven distinct strategies to test out as a starting point. The goal isn’t to limit yourself to only one strategy but rather to test them all—in order to land on the best combination of strategies that can drive the greatest long-term success for your brand.

If you need help identifying the right strategies for your next OOH advertising campaign, the out-of-home experts at AdQuick can help. Schedule a demo today to get started!