Measure Offline Marketing ROI
Brand MarketingNovember 18, 2019

The Savvy Marketer’s Guide to Out-of-Home Advertising

November 18, 2019
Latana Logo Author Photo
Laura Harker
Freelance Writer & Editor

Just take a minute to think about how many billboards and other large advertisements you pass on your daily commute. The answer is probably a lot, and you might not have considered just how many before now. There’s a whole load of out-of-home advertising out there that we are constantly consuming - and it’s something that you and your brand need to get involved with.

In this guide to out-of-home advertising, we’ll explain what it is, the different kinds you can do, and how you can make it work for you.

Out-of-Home Advertising Explained

Out-of-home advertising basically does what it says on the tin: it is any visual advertising that is seen outside the home. Once you are aware of the concept, you’ll notice examples of it everywhere. From the bus stop ads that you pass by to huge billboards that demand your attention, this type of advertising really is very difficult to miss.

Out-of-home advertising has always been popular with marketers. However, things really picked up in 2018 as spending increased by 4.5%. This isn’t just a one-off flux of new business either, as the industry has seen consecutive growth for an impressive 35 quarters.

It’s estimated that 68% of Britons will see a digital screen outside of their home, and brands are now using these screens as a way of targeting their audience. Brits alone see 1.1 billion digital out-of-home adverts a week—and that doesn’t even include the none-digital ones! Imagine the figures for the entire world.

The Types of Out-of-Home Advertising Available

There are a ton of traditional forms of out-of-home advertising. Brand marketers find that the following ones are the most effective:


Everyone will know about billboards—they are impossible to miss at times. In fact, 71% of consumers admit to looking at the messages on roadside billboards.

A few great billboard campaigns have probably stuck in your mind, but our favorite has to be this creative one by Formula Toothpaste in Indonesia.

These large adverts aren’t all the same, though. Modern billboards can be digital, static, or even mobile. The choice is yours.

Street Furniture

Our city centers can be very colorful places and this can be down to all the adverts that adorn street furniture. Bus shelters, kiosks, and benches make for great advertising spots as there are so many people walking past them day in, day out.

Advertising on street furniture tends to be fairly low-cost and isn’t seen as quite as intrusive as some other forms, so is often a no-brainer for marketers.

Motor Vehicles

There are so many different motor vehicles you’ll be able to use for adverts. The sides of buses and taxis are the most common places to spot ads, but it’s also possible to pay drivers to add logos and branding to cars as well.

Placing ads on vehicles has the obvious benefit that your marketing will go wherever the driver does. They’ll be extremely mobile, which guarantees them being seen by many people.

Bridge Banners

Another option that will be seen by a lot of passers-by is bridge banners. You can always guarantee high traffic and very high visibility as most of the banners will be stood between 30-100 meters high.

Point of Sale Displays

Point of sale displays are situated at the point in a retail store where the sales transaction is completed. In the majority of cases, this will be at the till in a store. These marketing materials might be branded display stands or adverts above products.

A very common example of this is confectionary. You’ll often find that candies and other sweet treats are placed along where customers are expected to queue up. There’ll probably be even more right next to the till. These are difficult to resist, especially when there is some very persuasive marketing alongside them.

If you choose to create a point of sale display, you’ll be supplementing your product’s current packaging, making it even easier for customers to spot the brand. Plus, it’s a chance to target impulse buyers more effectively.

Construction Advertising

Construction advertising might not be a type of marketing that instantly springs to mind but placing adverts on scaffolding and building wraps is one further way of getting your brand out there.

When placed in busy locations, these adverts will get a lot of footfall past them, and the images and branding will be very difficult for people to ignore. Industry relations can also be vastly improved, as you’ll be reaching a much more general audience as well as those who already know about you.

Guerrilla Advertising

If you want your brand to be as memorable as possible, then you might want to dabble in guerrilla advertising. It’s all about using low-cost marketing efforts being as surprising as possible.

One example is the campaign that charity Feed SA launched in 2008. They placed images of hungry street children in trolleys around South African supermarkets. This then encouraged shoppers to donate more food and supplies at till points and collection bins that were doted around stores.

Your guerrilla marketing doesn’t have to be quite as ambitious, though. It counts as long as your adverts appear in places that consumers won’t expect to see them, such as on the side of tissue packets or graffitied onto walls.

Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Explained

Digital out-of-home advertising? Yes, that’s another branch of this form of marketing.

Again, it covers forms of advertising that people will see when they are out of the house, but critically it only covers digital formats. Think of it as out-of-home advertising with AdTech. It’s rapidly growing—some sources say at a rate of 16% a year.

Different Methods of Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

Want to consider some digital out-of-home adverts for your brand? If so, you could think about the following:

Digital Billboards

Digital billboards display electronic images that can be a lot sharper than anything printed. They also usually rotate to show multiple brand adverts which adds a moving element to them. And moving images can instantly catch a passerby’s eye!

Many big-name brands now opt for these digital options, including Netflix and Nike. They get just as many people walking past as traditional billboards but are slightly more impressive which guarantees catching everyone’s attention.

Jukeboxes in Bars

Gone are the days of automatic jukeboxes selecting vinyl records—music’s been digital for a while.

Now that there are digital jukeboxes, they provide an extra option for your adverts. Now, consumers won’t just hear their favorite tune when they put their change into a jukebox; they’ll also see a digital advert play as well.

These adverts capture everyone who uses the jukebox, so you have a very captivated audience for the ad even if they might not be your target audience.

Screens in Shopping Malls

Malls have been hotspots for marketers for years, but they’ve recently had a modern overhaul. Most shopping centers offer large TV screens for companies to use as advertising.

You could simply use the same advert that appears on digital billboards, but there is the added bonus that these screens will also play short clips and videos too. Videos can be particularly compelling and, as there are an estimated 8-million shoppers walking through British malls every week, you stand to captivate a large number of consumers.

Movie Theaters

As adverts in cinemas are shown right before the movie, your marketing will be shown to everyone in the theater. No one will be able to escape! Some sources show that cinema adverts actually have the highest engagement and lowest avoidance scores.

If you run movie-theater ads alongside print and other formats in a much larger marketing campaign, you can expect to really boost the overall potential.

You might also find that audiences are quick to act after watching an ad before a movie. Theaters are located in urban areas, near multiple points of sale, so people can jump straight from the movie to a purchase.


Screens in airports are another great chance to get your marketing out there. And that’s just what BVG did in Berlin. The city’s public transport company has targeted those just landing in the capital city with their extensive use of digital boards throughout the Berlin airports.

Again, this is a way to target a fairly easy-to-captivate audience that is made up of thousands of people each and every day.

Out-Of-Home: Why You Need to Use It

Digital forms of out-of-home advertising might appear all shiny and snazzy, but you shouldn’t completely disregard the more traditional options. There are many different benefits that will be advantageous to your marketing campaign:

Increase Brand Awareness

There is no doubt that out-of-home advertising can go that extra mile in boosting your brand awareness. When placed in urban areas and city centres, these forms of advertising can be seen by hundreds, if not thousands, of people walking by. The more these consumers see your ads, then the quicker your brand awareness will build up.

Avoid Ad Blockers Online

Adverts online have developed a bad reputation and now many web users tend to block them using ad blockers. This is bad news for companies as it means their ads just aren’t being seen.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case with out-of-home advertising as many people will pass billboards, bridge banners, and various screens when they are out and about.

Create a Multichannel Experience

Research from Ocean NeuroScience shows that “consumers are 48% more likely to click on a mobile ad after being exposed to the same ad on an out-of-home ad first.”

It’s also possible to enable ads to be triggered on mobile devices near out-of-home formats. Thanks to this, consumers can be retargeted so that they won’t end up forgetting your brand too soon.

Create a Bold and Instantly Recognizable Brand

It always pays to be creative with any form of advertising, but that is especially the case for ads that are out-of-home. Make them bold, and they will stick in people’s heads. After repeat viewings, consumers should be unable to forget you.

Encourage People to Make a Purchase Close to the Advertisement

Most out-of-home advertising takes place really close to shops, stores, and other points of sales. The adverts pique the interest of passers-by and the impulsive amongst them will be very likely to head to the nearest shop where they can buy your products.

Increase the Presence of the Brand

Once you place your adverts outside, the overall presence of your brand will increase remarkably. That will especially be the case if you place adverts on motor vehicles as they’ll be mobile and can be driven right around town.

Promote a New Project to Create Excitement

If you want to get people excited about a new project or product launch, then construction advertising is a fantastic place to start. You can spread a sneak peek of what’s coming across the side of some scaffolding—consumers should take note and might start counting down with you.

Digital Out-Of-Home: Why You Need to Use It

Now let’s take a look at digital out-of-home advertising. Why use this when traditional formats are so effective? There are a few reasons why marketers need to start utilizing it:

Quickly Implemented

Implementation of digital out-of-home advertising is often extremely quick. Once you’ve designed the ad, it can be up in your chosen location in very little time. It’s often just a case of hitting the send button, for the digital ad to be sent to a screen somewhere.

Varied Content

Digital adverts aren’t just static images. Most digital out-of-home ads can change ever 10-15 seconds, so there is plenty of chance to show off varied content.

Be More Creative

With a lot more tech comes many more ways to be creative. From creating videos and changing images to unique guerrilla campaigns that can get consumers talking, this is the perfect form of marketing for those who want to let their creative side influence their campaign.

Create Reactive Content

Digital content can be very spontaneous and it’s often possible to change an advert or marketing content with just a moment’s notice. That paves the way for reactive advertising campaigns that can fit in with the current hot topics of the moment.

Save Money

You won’t face any printing costs and there won’t be any extra expense due to adverse weather conditions or expensive installation methods. Many marketers find that digital forms of out-of-home advertising are a lot gentler on the pockets!

Interactive Campaigns

Add QR codes so that people can interact with the adverts they pass. This increased audience engagement should lead to an increase in lead conversions.

Get the Most out of Your Out-Of-Home Advertising

As with all other kinds of marketing, the more you put into your out-of-home advertising then the more you are going to get out of it. Take your campaigns to the next level with these ingenious steps.

Plan Well in Advance

A plan is key to doing well. Planning allows you to define your target audience and the purpose of all adverts. You should also think carefully about the message you want to push to your audience.

This shouldn’t be all that difficult to do as long as you use all of the data that is available to you. This can come from Google Analytics as well as the handy brand-tracking solution we mention later in this post.

Make Them Shareable

If you cross the campaign over to digital, then your audience will be encouraged to share what they can. Add a hashtag and motivate people to share photos of your out-of-home advertising that they see in the wild by creating a social media competition.

Don’t Buy Cheap

You might be tempted to stretch your money by buying a lot of smaller, mediocre advertising sites. That’s not a good idea and it could prove to be a poor investment. You will find that the best way to spend your out-of-home marketing budget is to pour it all into one unbeatable site that is going to bring impressive returns.

Book Locations Strategically

If you have a very limited marketing budget, then you might have no choice but to go for some cheaper sites. That shouldn’t hold you back—as long as you think about them strategically, you should be able to find some prime advertising real estate that your target audience will definitely pass by frequently.

Snoop on Competitors’ Campaigns

We recommend taking a sneaky peek at what your competitors are doing as often as you can. You can see how they are handling their own out-of-home advertising and what is working for them. This can be great inspiration!

Communicate Your Message Effectively

We process images at a rate of 60,000 times a second. That’s a lot faster than processing text, that’s for sure! So, you need to ensure that you always go for the optimum image and font that stands out—think large and very clear. You’ll then be able to communicate your message very effectively.

Is Your Out-Of-Home Advertising Working?

Now comes the important question. How do you make sure that all of your advertising efforts are working for you? There’s one simple answer: you just need to use a reliable brand tracker.

By tracking brand awareness over an extended period of time, you should see whether there is an upswing after implementing an out-of-home advertising campaign. You’ll also be able to see the effect on different audiences too.

Tracking your competitors’ campaigns will also see how your ads are stacking up against theirs.

The digital revolution is completely reinventing out-of-home advertising and how marketers are implementing their campaigns. Pick the right format and location for your future ads, and you should find it’s a win-win situation. And when you observe your efforts using brand tracking software, you’ll be able to fine-tune them even further.

So, why not start pushing your campaigns out into public spaces—it’s where you’ll find your target audience!

Brand Marketing
Brand Strategy

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The Savvy Marketer’s Guide to Out-of-Home Advertising

The digital revolution is completely reinventing out-of-home advertising and how marketers are implementing their campaigns. Find out how you can benefit.

Latana Logo Author Photo

Laura Harker

Freelance Writer & Editor

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