Developing, launching, and scaling an out of home campaign should be as simple as working with programmatic ads.

Fundamentally, the process for generating a high-performing campaign is similar to the experience of scaling up a digital ad program:

  • identify your ideal audience
  • run a pre-test on copy and creative concepts
  • revise your original idea
  • iterate your way to a final creative concept
  • run the campaign
  • measure results
  • seek opportunities for iteration and growth

You can build your out of home campaign digitally, without seeing the actual ad unit—on a billboard, on top of a bus, on top of a taxi cab, at a transit station, on a train, or elsewhere.

Database technology makes it possible to identify ideal neighborhoods to target, based on demographic information. After launching your campaign, you can measure results including foot traffic, purchases, and earned media.

If you expect a longer path to transaction or are competing for a time-strapped audience, you can launch retargeting campaigns on digital programmatic campaigns.

If everything goes according to plan? Expand your campaign to find lookalike audiences—just like you would with an ad campaign on Facebook.

The lines between digital and outdoor advertising formats are blurring.

It’s this reason why out of home is growing as a part of companies’ media buying portfolios.  Now is an ideal time to begin experimenting.

However, to congeal these disparate data sources into an optimized OOH campaign that can span hundreds of media owners across the US is daunting and resource-intensive: that’s why we’ve built

“It’s dramatically different now than it was a year ago,” said Megan Halscheid, VP of media tech strategies at Publicis Media, in an article for Digiday. “We’ve seen it in the interest from our clients and advertisers in terms of a shift. DSPs and SSPs are recognizing the new potential demand for buying this channel. The media owners are making that digital investment anyway. They see the advantages of buying that programmatically.”

The article elaborates that buying activity is increasing:

“In 2018, digital represented 29% of the total OOH revenue, up from 24% in 2017, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America  (The company does not yet break out what programmatic represents in terms of digital OOH revenue),” writes Digiday’s marketing editor, Kristina Monllos. “In the first quarter of 2019, OOH advertising revenue rose by 6%, totaling $1.78 billion, per the OAAA.”

One of the key differentiators of an out of home ad from digital; however, is that you don’t have an off-switch.

Let’s say that you accidentally publish the wrong date for an event, for instance—apart from covering up the billboard, you have little room for error. That’s why marketers, when planning out of home campaigns, need to think through the longevity of their campaigns.

An experiment requires more rigor—and that’s a good thing because you’ll need to think through your strategy, in depth.

Here are 3 tips to help you align your test campaign with a long-term growth strategy:

1. Recognize that the best opportunities may be hidden and untapped

With a marketing campaign, your goal is to show a return on investment (ROI) as soon as possible. In other words, you need to show high performance relative to the cost that you invest. That’s why, when launching a test campaign—and then scaling that campaign—it’s important to choose the right regions.

The “right” regions may not be the most obvious markets.

Cities like San Francisco are known to be expensive—but efficient for reaching tech workers. As the benefits of tech expand throughout the United States; however, new hubs are emerging in regions ranging from Portland to St. Louis to Austin.

Outdoor advertising is different than any other channel as every market has nuances from media types to media owners to cost to localized seasonality.

If you look beyond obvious markets with Out of Home, you may discover lower costs and less competition for your audience’s attention.

“The funny thing is: OOH is often still priced like it’s a sleepy relic in the past,” writes Christian Vollerrslev, president at Posterscope USA, for CampaignLive. “This has created a rare moment for marketers. One where the value far outweighs the cost, at least for this short window of time.”

So how do you find the right opportunities?

With AdQuick, for instance, there’s a planner tool available, to help you find potential locations based on demographic data and past campaigns that others have run using the platform.

AdQuick has aggregated pricing and unit-level data across the country. Customers can input their campaign goals, as well as markets you’re eyeing. You can easily locate markets for your ads.

Let’s say that you’re thinking of advertising on New York transit.

AdQuick can proactively tell you whether you’d have an easier time reaching your target audience in another region or ad format—such as on buses in Atlanta, where you’d end up saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.

AdQuick makes its recommendations based on the saturation that you’re seeking out with your campaign.

“We use AdQuick to hyper-target the exact people who need to see our message,” explains Debra Clever, founder and former CEO at “We set up a system that allows us to see voter file data. AdQuick has also layered in census data, so we can clearly query variables such as income, educational attainment, commute time, and other details.”

To be effective, your out of home strategy may require sifting. Algorithms can simplify that process to uncover opportunities that you didn’t know existed.

2. Approach out of home as an evergreen, always-on program

If you’re running an impactful marketing campaign, you should be able to predict conversions on a consistent basis. That’s why it’s important to look at out of home as an evergreen, always-on growth channel for your business.

One way to work up to this goal is to run small campaigns over a longer period of time.

Instead of blasting out a time-sensitive campaign, why not create a more timeless message?

After all, out of home’s unaided recall rates, at 40% (and digital out of home’s recall rates at 47%), surpass both mobile (35%) and television (22%), according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA).

In other words, out of home campaigns tend to be more memorable than other channels—making them more cost effective and impactful, as a result. Not to mention, out of home programs can create a ripple effect in terms of audiences sharing ads and insights on social media.

“”There’s something to be said about a static billboard,” explains Ken Suzuki, director of digital marketing at communications tech company 8x8. “It’s always going to be there. If you’re driving down the same highway or road every morning, you’re going to see the same ad—over and over.”

One fact to remember about your out of home campaign is that you’re never starting from zero.

When you venture into trying a new growth channel, you still have historic data to build upon.

Who are your target audiences? What words or creative concepts to they gravitate towards in your digital marketing campaigns?

The data that you have on-hand can help you integrate your campaign into a long-term program with a predictable ROI picture.

“One of our New York geoblitz campaigns has taken on a life of its own,” says Suzuki. “We had one specific billboard at Bryant Park that got a lot of attention. We noticed that musicians were performing in front of the ad—recording it, talking about it on their social media handles, and pushing it out.”

Keep your message timeless and core to your brand. You’ll be surprised what echo effect out of home can generate, as a result.

3. Be clear about your call-to-action

One of the biggest misconceptions about out of home advertising is that performance is impossible to monitor. But mobile phones open up new pathways for reporting—making it possible for marketers to better synthesize their digital and offline campaigns.

On the AdQuick platform, for instance, marketers can:

“To be fair, out of home isn’t really out of home anymore,” says Suzuki. “It’s digital. If you think about purchasing ads on YouTube or Roku, you’re paying on a CPM basis. The same holds true for out of home.”

What’s important to keep in mind, with any type of advertising, is that simpler paths yield more straightforward paths to conversion—and attribution models, as a result.

Hyper-targeting with out of home has its strengths and weaknesses.

You have the potential to reach your audiences, in the moment, in a way that captures their attention. If you’re not careful about your “ask” and messaging, you have the potential to lose your audiences’ attention spans.

One way to raise your brand profile above clutter is in your copy.

Be clear about your value proposition and what action your audiences should take.

“If you don’t make it fun, it’s not going to be memorable,” says Suzuki. “Otherwise, you’re forcing your audience to read something out of a dictionary. It has to resonate. It has to be light. It has to be cheeky. At the same time, it must be memorable.”

A campaign’s scalability depends on the integrity of your underlying message.

Final thoughts

Don’t be afraid to experiment—to test your way to the right audience relationships. The humans you’re targeting are the same people, online and offline.

Make sure that you have a memorable, engaging message that captures fleeting attention spans. Use the data that you generate online to inform your out of home campaign strategy, offline. Give audiences a clear path—and incentive—to transacting.

Start your campaigns small and don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone in scaling up.  

With out of home, you’re navigating a new digital frontier. Outsmart the ecosystem before it matures and reaches a point of saturation, by building up your campaign blueprint now.