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30th Aug

How OOH can be effective in the digital era

OOH billboard

In the digital age, you could forgive entrepreneurs for being consumed entirely by online marketing techniques. After all, more than 100 billion searches are performed on Google each month, and this underlines the predominant habits of modern-day consumers when searching, sourcing and purchasing goods.

Studies suggest that it would be wrong to focus solely on digital marketing channels, however, numerous offline techniques are also experiencing prolific growth. Take out-of-the-home (OOH) advertising, for example, which saw an 18% increase in revenue during 2016 and enables brands to target customers in a number of visually engaging ways.

With this in mind, OOH should form part of an integrated marketing strategy in the digital age. The only question is how OOH can be used effectively and in a way that best reflects your brand, so here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Explore Viable OOH Applications That Suit Your Brand’s Unique Proposition

The OOH market is increasingly diverse, with a number of applications through which brands can market themselves and the core product ranges. While traditional billboards continue to dominate this market, businesses can also leverage posters, banners, building wraps and various other graphics to create the best visual representation of their brand and message.

Each of these materials vary in terms of size and offer specific benefits to advertisers, so it is important to make a selection that suits your budget, goals and the locations in which you intend to market your proposition.

This is particularly true when using traditional billboards, as there is a vast range of sizes available to suit specific locations. The most popular are 48 and 96-sheet billboards, which tend to be used at roadsides and are designed to trigger a direct action from potential customers.

In contrast, smaller billboards (16 or 32-sheets) are often used at train stations or within close proximity to the advertiser’s retail outlet, as they are usually positioned at eye-level to engage potential customers on a deeper level and drive a high rate of conversions.

Ultimately, understanding the full range of billboard sizes and alternative OOH advertising techniques will help you to effectively target predetermined customer segments, while also optimising that all-important marketing ROI.

2. Prioritise the Quality and Design of Your Adverts


The example of billboards is particularly interesting, especially with digital alternatives now available to brands. One of the main reasons why traditional billboards remain so popular is their exceptionally competitive pricing, which is much cheaper than digital adverts and helps brand to optimise their exposure among targeted demographics.

The affordable nature of traditional billboards also enables you invest more of your marketing spend into the design of your adverts, which can prove crucial when looking to realise the full potential of the channel.

If we look at the typical pricing of billboards, we see that traditional adverts can cost nearly £400 less than digital over the course of a two-week booking, even accounting for production and installation costs of up to £275.

This is particularly true when you combine a visually engaging design with outstanding print quality, which can enhance the impact of your billboards and ensure that your message resonates with as many potential customers as possible.

3. Leverage the Link Between OOH and Mobile

We have already talked about the importance of establishing integrated marketing campaigns, as this enables you to combine on and offline elements to optimise both the reach of your adverts and their potential to drive conversions. This is especially important when utilising OOH adverts, which according to studies, share an intrinsic link with the mobile platform and devices such as smartphones.

To explore this further, you need to understand the reluctance of modern consumers (and particularly Millennials) to engage with brand ads online. 63% of Millennials actively use ad-blocking software to avoid spam and unsolicited promotional content, and this makes it hard for brands to drive conversions through digital channels.

Conversely, 71% of customers are reported to pay full attention to OOH adverts such as billboards, particularly those situated at train stations and popular commuter hubs. Not only this, but research suggests that customers are 17% more likely to engage with a company through their smartphone after viewing an OOH ad, highlighting the engaging nature of the channel and its capacity for increasing your conversion rate.

Understanding this link can help to create an effective and truly impactful OOH campaign, so long as you identify the best ways through which to leverage it successfully.

It’s also essential to focus on high quality design and print, as this is central to the creation of a visually engaging advert that captures the attention of customers. You should also focus on developing a narrative or creative focus that encourage customers to share your proposition online, particularly across social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, while ensuring that your advert relates organically to its location as much as possible.

Above all else, it is crucial that you use calls-to-actions (CTAs) effectively if your OOH advert is to successfully drive online interaction and thrive in the digital age. More specifically, you must create concise and clearly-defined CTAs that direct customers to a specific action or destination, while ensuring that your website and relevant social media channels are highlighted for customers to access directly.

Our Final Thoughts

There is more than enough evidence to support the growth and relevance of OOH advertising in the digital age, particularly as customers become increasingly resistant to branded, online ads.

The key for your business is to understand the OOH advertising market and the role that it should play within an integrated strategy, before determining the unique advantages that make this channel effective in digitally-dominated times.

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