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5/30/17 • Take It Outside: Four Ways Outdoor Ads Are Advantageous

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(5/30/17) BELMONT, N.C. – In today’s technology-savvy society, traditional forms of advertising that have paid dividends for decades often fall by the wayside. Some individuals favor mobile impressions over tried-and-true tactics that have existed for not just decades, but centuries. One form of advertising has stood the test of time and is used across every market, in rural and urban regions both big and small, and with purpose – because the great outdoors isn’t going anywhere.

Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising – as it is formally called – covers everything from highway billboards to vehicle wraps and digital signage at sports arenas and much more. This form of promotion is so ubiquitous that a lead trade organization known as Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) has represented the industry since 1891, aiding and advancing its interests through various resources, technologies and agencies. OAAA touts the strengths of this advertising tool and currently assists more than 800 member companies with outdoor ad protections and other needs.

So, why should you consider this advertising method over other potential options? Why may the great outdoors deserve your marketing dollars instead of – or in addition to – search engine marketing or the pages of a glossy magazine? Here are four reasons that OOH advertising continues to be an advantageous opportunity:

  • An engaged audience. From highway drivers to subway commuters, an easy-to-access audience is at your fingertips for targeted messaging. OAAA estimates that consumers average 70 percent of their time away from home. And these consumers are not viewers who can swiftly scroll past your online advertisement or click “stop seeing this ad” – they can’t even change the television channel. But rather, they are a captive population who must pass by your 24/7, 365-day outdoor communication, and they likely do so often on a repeated school or work commute. People on the move, whether by foot or vehicle, are often more aware of their surroundings or actively taking in the scenery, including advertisements. According to the Outdoor Media Centre, awareness increases by 33 percent when outside the home. So choose your ads wisely, share them effectively and your targeted audience will see them repeatedly on their path.
  • Less is more. Simplicity is key in outdoor advertising. You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention with memorable information. Short, sweet, yet bold is essential. Dissimilar from other marketing forms of communications, such as press releases or newspaper advertisements, fewer words create a more effective outdoor ad. Passersby will remember a billboard, bus shelter poster or taxi wrap that uses impactful graphics alongside few, but essential target keywords or a brand name that can be later searched to find the company and its messaging. The purpose of OOH advertising, and billboards specifically, is a noticeable, memorable idea to either cause immediate action – such as “Exit 7B to the next McDonald’s” – or that stays with the viewer until long after he or she finishes the journey and can act on the message.
  • Making a comeback. Similar to other forms of advertising, OOH ads are discovering growth year after year since the recession and show no sign of slowing down. In March 2017, OAAA noted that advertising revenue in the outdoor category rose by 3.1 percent in 2016 over the previous year – for a whopping total of $7.6 billion in ads across billboards, street furniture, transit and place-based outdoor areas. This organization reports consistent growth in outdoor advertising across 27 consecutive quarters. Research indicates that local business, amusements and services account for the majority of outdoor advertising at 9.2 percent in 2016 with automotive dealers and their services at 6.2 percent. However, nationwide, the bright and shining golden arches remain the top spender in OOH advertising for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Decisions, decisions. Some of us certainly make our decisions with pros and cons lists, sitting at the kitchen table, weighing everything heavily over a cup of coffee. However, consumer research from Arbitron indicates that the majority of purchase decisions are made outside the home and over time. Arbitron stated that more than two-thirds of individuals typically take a full week to make a buying decision, which means seven days – or more – of potentially passing your outdoor ad and reinforcing your message.

If you considered outdoor advertising to be that archaic trend you didn’t need, rethink this powerful form of messaging. This “blank canvas” allows for maximum creativity and capturing folks where they work, shop, travel, eat and play. It’s a highly-adaptable format – from billboards to digital boards to kiosks and sweeping sides of busses – and you can capture attention from morning until night. So before you go completely digital and dismiss this century-old communications tool, remember that it works and it’s needed, and most importantly, it delivers results.


Lyerly Agency’s President and CEO Elaine Lyerly and Executive Vice President and COO Melia Lyerly share their 35+ years of marketing, advertising, public relations and brand strategy experience with readers each month in a column published by The Gaston Gazette.