A quick look at OOH advertising’s impact on other marketing channels
A lot of people talk about multichannel or omnichannel marketing these days but rarely do those conversations hone in on the impact that one channel can have single-handedly across a brand's entire marketing mix. More often than not the conversation hovers around the importance of cascading campaigns and marketing messages across multiple channels at once.
But what if we were to tell you that out-of-home (OOH) advertising can offer brands an ‘amplifier effect’ on the other digital and traditional marketing channels they already use?
Truth be told, OOH advertising is still a widely misunderstood medium. Once known as a purely dedicated channel for driving brand awareness, out-of-home has evolved in recent years to serve a much greater role than simply being a canvas for eye-catching brand campaigns.
Of course, those sparkly billboards in NYC’s Times Square or immersive wallscapes that dot buildings along LA’s famed Sunset Boulevard might make you think otherwise. Even so, it’s important to remember that the out-of-home world today is far bigger and much more varied than billboards alone. Think of it as a playground for marketers.
Add to that the fact that out-of-home has outgrown its once brand-only roots. This has quickly turned the channel into a true performance marketing powerhouse that has been shown to increase the effectiveness of a brand’s other marketing channels.
If you’re still skeptical, you won’t be after reading this. Here, we’ll take a look at the many reasons why OOH advertising is the perfect companion to any marketing campaign.
"OOH is the most effective offline medium in driving online activity, delivering 4x more online activity per dollar spent than TV, radio, and print."
Out-of-home advertising offers many benefits
Before diving into what OOH advertising can do to amplify all of your other marketing channels, there are a lot of qualities that allow out-of-home to stand perfectly fine on its own.
Among the many benefits that OOH advertising offers brands, here are the most notable:
Efficiency: The medium is, for lack of a better word, an incredible bargain. Many marketers, even those who have run OOH advertising media buys for years, don’t realize that out-of-home offers the lowest CPMs of any traditional medium.
Context: OOH advertising offers the ‘real-world’ equivalent of contextual or location-based advertising that has become one of mobile’s biggest claims to fame. An effectively placed OOH ad unit can resonate—even subconsciously—with consumers, influencing their actions all the way to point of purchase.
Reach: A well-placed OOH ad in an area that sees a constant flux of car- or foot-traffic throughout the day will earn a lot of valuable eyeballs (aka, impressions). And unlike its digital advertising counterparts, OOH ad units are (mostly) static, therefore giving consumers dedicated, one-on-one time to absorb them in a more visceral way.
Impact: It goes without saying that OOH advertising can provide a truly immersive brand experience in ways that other media simply can’t. Part of this is a byproduct of its physicality: All other advertising media are not tangible in nature.
On the other hand, from a pure performance standpoint, OOH advertising offers heightened levels of message consistency and frequency. After all, if an ad unit is up in the same location for, say, four weeks, the people who regularly pass through that area will be hit over and over again with the same creative. At some point, it’s bound to stick. And since there are no ‘real world’ ad blockers for people to turn on when they’ve decided they’ve seen enough advertising, you can almost always guarantee that a brand’s message will pull through eventually—whether consumers realize it or not.
Finally, because many OOH ad units provide brands with a massive canvas to work with, there are many more uniquely creative opportunities than you’d have with most other marketing channels (except for maybe TV, which is its own beast).
“OOH advertising offers big, bold, powerful storytelling, and a range of formats and unique locations that deliver larger-than-life impact.”
Source: OAAA Value Propositions
Brand Safety: Placing OOH ads requires a little scouting (aka, contextual research). That is, until now. AdQuick’s map-based platform, fueled by street-view imagery, makes it easy for media planners to scope out an OOH ad’s environment with a few simple clicks.
In most cases, an ad’s surrounding environment won’t create undue cognitive dissonance. This is a stark contrast to digital ads that can (and all too often) appear next to less-than-desirable or brand-irrelevant content. Similarly, because OOH ads aren’t collecting user information, unlike their digital and mobile counterparts, there are virtually no issues around consumer privacy, ad fraud, or even the use of bots to worry about. It’s a very safe and stable medium at its core.
Brand Trust: All of the brand safety benefits mentioned above help position OOH advertising as a more trusted marketing channel. It’s not following consumers around their online journeys (à la retargeting) or creating the impression that “big brother” is watching. OOH ads create immersive experiences that add color to day-to-day consumer life. And whether a specific brand or piece of creative resonates with everyone who sees it is beside the question; the medium itself creates a ‘legitimizing effect’ that, as a result, builds inherent trustworthiness.
Out-of-home gives your other marketing channels a boost
Now that we’ve covered the basics around why out-of-home is such a valuable addition to any marketing campaign, let’s take a closer look at how weaving OOH advertising into your overall marketing mix can actually help your other channels perform at a higher capacity.
Digital + OOH
Deep audience targeting in the digital space makes it possible for advertisers to ensure that their ads are seen by only the people that fit their desired audience profile. Although it’s now possible to apply the rigor of audience targeting when planning OOH campaigns, out-of-home, as a medium, doesn’t discriminate in the same way as digital. After all, when an OOH ad goes up, it’s there in plain sight for everyone to see.
The benefit here is simple: OOH advertising helps bridge the so-called digital divide that skews heavily in favor of younger, ready-to-spend, and mobile-first consumers. It can help ensure that no stone is left unturned in terms of reaching relevant consumers who might not be captured by a brand’s highly targeted digital ad buy.
Additionally, because out-of-home is more traditionally a high impact, single message, and visually-driven medium, it serves as an extension of marketing campaigns that consumers may see online or on other channels. Conversely, because of this high impact nature of the medium, OOH ads typically encourage customers to follow through on a simple call-to-action, in most cases, visiting a brand’s website to learn more (i.e. a bridge into the digital world).
However, unlike digital, out-of-home is not always—though this, too, is changing rapidly—an immediate conversion channel, meaning: Consumers may see the same OOH ad over and over again on their morning commute, for example, but not take action on what they see until a week or two later. Whereas digital ads oftentimes offer consumers merely a fleeting brand impression moment, out-of-home has the power to build brand consciousness and affinity. Even if that process is the subconscious result of seeing the same message many times over.
Broadcast TV + OOH
Similar to out-of-home’s impact on digital, the medium can extend the life and relevance of broadcast TV campaigns, keeping consumers “tuned in” to a brand’s message even when they are not in front of a TV. It allows campaigns to fly off of screens and enter the real world.
However, where national TV ad buys may be powerful in getting an overarching brand message across to viewers, a brand’s OOH ads can take on a more local feel, creating more relevance and connection with consumers on a market-by-market basis. OOH ads “live” within a truly local environment, making it the perfect medium for deploying geographically-targeted messaging.
Even more, given that 75% of linear TV impressions are reaching only 25% of U.S. households, out-of-home creates an opportunity to bridge the gap and capture the attention and mindshare of consumers who are not spending a lot of time watching broadcast TV—especially at a time when more consumers are cutting the cord than ever before and relying on the ever-growing list of streaming TV and VOD services to keep them entertained.
That being said, one of broadcast TV’s biggest drawbacks has always been its cost. It’s simply an expensive medium to play in, one that many small or up-and-coming brands just don’t have the marketing budgets to support. And for those that do, the benefit of out-of-home is simple: Because OOH advertising offers a cost-effective complement to a broader multichannel marketing campaign, it can effectively drive down CPM costs and improve the efficiency of broadcast TV ad guys. (This alone will have your CFO jumping for joy!)
Cable TV + OOH
A lot of the same can be said for cable TV that we’ve mentioned above for broadcast TV. So we won’t repeat it here. The biggest difference here, however, is that cable TV typically caters to more targeted, interest- or behavior-based audiences, making it a perfect medium for getting more tailored brand messages in front of highly engaged consumers.
Unfortunately, cable TV ad buys can also be expensive and are limited in reach to consumers who haven’t yet cut the cord. So again, in this way, out-of-home comes to the rescue as the ideal medium for extending the life—and the overall reach—of cable TV campaigns while also making it possible for brands to add some more local flair to their broader campaign messages.
Radio + OOH
What makes radio unique is that it oftentimes is a passive or ambient medium. Consumers don’t have to be 100% tuned in to the radio at all times, unless, of course, you’re a big fan of talk radio, which, as the name suggests, requires paying a little more attention.
Whether consumers listen to broadcast radio in their cars or streaming radio on their computers or mobile devices—at least, those who haven’t upgraded to premium to skip ads—radio, as a medium, can quickly fall prey to “channel surfers” who do whatever they can to avoid ads.
Although this can be said of the other marketing channels above, there’s something different about the effect that music has on consumers. It’s a more emotive medium that can, even subconsciously, trigger memories or feelings (that vary from one person to another).
But imagine yourself driving in your car listening to the radio. You hear an ad for a brand. Then a little while later—or if serendipity strikes, at the same moment—you see a billboard ad for that brand. All of a sudden, you’ve had a marketing experience that tickles the senses, striking a unique balance between sight and sound. Funny enough, you may not even remember having seen or heard both ads, but the sensory combination of the two leaves an imprint.
So while out-of-home can extend the life of a campaign, as is the case with the other broadcast media noted above, it can play a more contextual or location-based role with radio because of radio’s ability to follow people wherever they go—whether in a car or via a pair of headphones.
Print + OOH
What has always made print a unique medium is its timeliness. While that also means it has a painfully short shelf-life, there’s something nostalgic about how the front page of a paper can freeze a moment in time in ways that other media simply can’t. Of course, while print is far from dead, it’s not the same kind of medium that it used to be—nor does it command the same readership that it was once known for.
But here is where out-of-home comes back into the picture. OOH takes what we have always loved most about those full-page ads and just magnifies it at a much grander scale. And while print may be on a steady decline, OOH ads aren’t going anywhere. If anything, more OOH ad units are popping up—sometimes in the least expected places—every day.
This is precisely why OOH ads can be print’s best ally. They easily make up for limited reach, but like the print medium itself, can also reinforce more local messages tailored to hyper-local audiences. And as the cherry on top, they don’t fall prey to a short shelf-life and quickly get tossed in the bin at the end of each day. For all of these reasons, if a marketer that’s still advertising in print (especially at the local newspaper level) isn’t supplementing its print ad buys with out-of-home, it’s just a huge missed opportunity all around.
Go ahead, let OOH advertising do the heavy lifting
As you can see, there’s a lot of good that can come from weaving out-of-home into your overall marketing mix—and well beyond the brand awareness-driving role that was its de facto claim-to-fame in the past. And now with data, insights, location-based intelligence, audience targeting, and so much more breathing new life into the out-of-home space, there’s never been a better time than now to rethink how your brand uses OOH advertising to its full potential.
If you’re ready to make OOH advertising a central part of your marketing mix and achieve your marketing goals better—and faster—than ever before, check out AdQuick’s free OOH Media Planner tool to see what it can do for your brand and your future campaigns.