News | Unlocking the Power of Out-of-Home Advertising in the Digital Age
Increasingly, the best way to get someone to take an action on their phone is to reach them when they are looking up.
Innovative marketers have always used Out of Home (OOH) ads to build brand awareness. But new formats and measurement techniques are also proving OOH increasingly drives online action, and the best marketers are now using OOH as a full funnel solution to drive awareness, consideration, and trial.
OOH had a renaissance in the past few years and was the fastest growing medium in 2022, as it emerged from the pandemic and folks returned to regular life. But even before COVID, OOH ad spend was rapidly growing due to long term industry trends.
With audiences for traditional media shrinking, and digital platforms crowded and expensive, OOH ads allow marketers to cut through the clutter and effectively reach their target audiences.
Moreover, the traditional highway billboard has been supplemented by a slew of new formats— large format digital at major intersections, bold wrapped buses that go deep into neighborhoods, digital kiosks and transit shelters on every block, and digital OOH networks that light up transit hubs, airports, malls, stores, and gyms.
Combined with better measurement and an explosion in creativity, OOH ads are having a massive impact on audiences in cities and across the country
However, OOH remains a relatively small portion of overall US advertising. Many marketers have not fully leveraged the format, as it has been historically hard to measure. Mobile devices today are providing deeper insight and validation into the efficacy of OOH, and its influence on consumer behaviors.
The QR code revolution has helped advertisers track immediate response. People can, and do scan QR codes in OOH ads— and when done well, for the right use cases, QR codes can drive great results.
But measuring impact only by an immediate QR code scan doesn’t do the medium justice. Scanning a QR takes time, and in many cases folks may not be in a position to get more info on a dream vacation, or buy a new software package while they are on their way to work.
Instead, marketers should go one level deeper.
New data shows that OOH ads can drive massive online behavior. A recent Harris Poll study conducted last year on behalf of the OAAA indicated that 75% of adults took an action on their phone after seeing an OOH ad. That included 51% doing a search, 43% making an online purchase and 33% visiting a website.
Until now, it was hard to track those kinds of actions. However, working with trusted third party measurement providers, the industry has started to be able to track these actions using samples of aggregated, anonymised data.
At Intersection, we have an excellent set of case examples showing how cost effective OOH advertising can be in driving online traffic. And we’re not alone— there are many OOH media operators seeing similar results. Several providers, including Kochava, Streetmetrics, and Reveal Mobile, can provide marketers with this type of tracking and insights.
Additionally, marketers can also buy OOH ads programmatically through many DSPs, and start to integrate this type of tracking into their digital campaigns.
OOH can be even more effective in driving mobile action when served in context. By targeting location and daypart, OOH ads can get the right message to the right user at the right time. For instance, delivery apps can target ads in residential neighborhoods in the evening when folks are on the way home, increasing the likelihood of people to order dinner. Similarly, Quick Serve Restaurants might advertise in the morning near store locations to tempt people to open their app and order a coffee for pick up on their way to work.
A final benefit to marketers is OOH’s ability to drive earned media on social platforms. Increasingly, consumers share great OOH ads with their friends. Another recent survey showed more than half of Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X social media users who notice great OOH ads share them on social media.
For instance, a recent OOH campaign for the Super Mario Brothers movie in Paris featured Mario on a Champs-Elysees street kiosk. Photos of the beloved character popping out from a warp pipe, just like in the original 1980s Nintendo game, were viral catnip for Gen Xers and other gaming enthusiasts.
Similarly, in New York City, ShakeShack’s advertisements to raffle off cash and free Truffle burgers on LinkNYC kiosks went viral across Instagram in the city as folks told their friends how to get the burgers.
Taken together, the ability to drive online action, target ads based on location and daypart, and spark viral activities will make OOH an excellent part of the online marketer toolkit— and undoubtedly continue to build a strong relationship between OOH and mobile action.
Moreover, the combination of OOH’s increasingly unique position as the only way to build mass reach in a local market, OOH may be local marketing’s only true full funnel medium.
The most sophisticated marketers – including national brands, local businesses, and emerging DTC and tech companies – will be able to create sustainable competitive advantages if they can build the capabilities and relationships to use the medium faster than competitors.