Thinking Outside of the Billboard With Out-of-Home Advertising

If your experience with out-of-home advertising has only been in the context of big, splashy billboards, then it’s time to take note: out-of-home advertising isn’t just about billboard ads. Read on for fresh ideas to “think outside the billboard”, diversify your media mix, and maximize your reach.

Thinking Outside of the Billboard With Out-of-Home Advertising

Now that people are more or less back out in the land of the living again, it should come as no surprise that we’ve seen a resurgence of out-of-home ad buys. The good news: These marketing investments have been paying off in a big way. In fact, recent data from the Out-of-Home Advertising Association shows that 55% of consumers in big cities—and 41% of the general U.S. population—are actually paying attention to out-of-home (OOH) billboard ads more than ever before. So, suffice it to say that out-of-home advertising is back in full swing!  

But it’s also quickly becoming a victim of its own success. Many DMAs are running short on billboard ad inventory—or simply have limited inventory to begin with. Seeing this trend play out in real-time made the team at AdQuick realize that maybe it was about time to remind you all that out-of-home advertising isn’t just about billboard ads. We work with thousands of media owners who dabble in every out-of-home ad format imaginable, from tried-and-true billboards to street furniture to hand-painted wall murals—and the list goes on.

So, if you want to take advantage of the power of out-of-home advertising, but don’t necessarily want to pay premium prices for billboard ads, it’s time to “think outside of the billboard.” Here are a few ways that you can easily diversify your media mix to maximize your potential reach.

3 out-of-home ad formats to add to your media mix

If your experience with out-of-home advertising has only been in the context of big, splashy billboards, then you’re in for a real treat. Here are three different OOH ad formats to consider that you can seamlessly weave into your marketing mix today to make one heck of an impact.

1. Mobile billboards, signs, and wraps

Why book a static billboard when you can invest in advertising that essentially follows your target audience wherever they go? From large-format digital truck billboards to car and bus wraps to taxi toppers—and sometimes the occasional floating billboard on a boat or raft—there are lots of ways you can get your brand message to travel (literally).

These are also well-suited for reaching conference or trade show attendees (think: CES or SXSW) just as much as they are great on university campuses and highly trafficked tourist destinations. And if you’re trying to reach a specific demographic, you can oftentimes request a custom route for your ads to follow to ensure that you get your ads in front of the right eyeballs.

Mobile billboards, signs, and wraps––including digital billboard trucks––allow for precise targeting and high-impact engagement.

2. Place-based advertising

These are OOH ads that you might not think about, at first, but once you do, you soon realize that they are virtually everywhere. Why? Because place-based ads live in the many points of interest (POIs)—like gyms, malls, salons, grocery and convenience stores, airports, gas stations, and even your local physician’s office—that people frequent regularly. And the ad units available in each location provides an endless array of opportunities to get your message in front of highly targeted and captivated audiences. After all, the people visiting these POIs tend to have a pretty high “dwell time” (meaning, they stick around for a while), making it a lot easier for your message to stick in their minds and encourage them to take some sort of action.

Place-based ads––like those on college campuses––are an effective way to reach niche target demographics or engage consumers while they are in a relevant mindset.

3. Consumer goods advertising

The funny thing about this OOH ad format, which includes the likes of co-branded shipping containers, pizza boxes, coffee sleeves, and restaurant delivery or takeout bags, is that they have a sneaky way of making it back to a consumer’s home—which, as you may have guessed it, extends the amount of time a brand message remains up, front, and center with consumers. They are super effective and oftentimes playful ways of promoting your brand in an untraditional or unexpected context. These are all about moments of surprise and delight.

Consumer goods advertising––such as ads on takeout coffee sleeves––provide impactful, 

Mixing and matching out-of-home ads along the customer journey

In general, it’s always a good idea to diversify your marketing mix—across all marketing channels—as it’s simply a more effective way to cover your bases and ensure that none of your target consumers are left behind. But here are a few reasons why you should, more specifically, give your out-of-home advertising strategy a shake up:

  • Create a greater impact: People are inundated with brand messages all day long pretty much wherever they go and on whatever digital devices they use. Non-traditional OOH ad formats have a fairly strong potential to capture consumer attention and stand out from all the noise. And the more they stand out, the greater impact they have.
  • Get in front of hard-to-reach consumers: If your more traditional—or even digital—marketing tactics aren’t getting your message in front of a subset of your customer base, then go deep and super targeted with these unique OOH ads.
  • Have a presence in advertising-dense areas: Not every brand has the budget to run flashy billboard ads in top DMAs like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. But that doesn’t mean you should scrap your out-of-home advertising dreams for cities like these entirely. Quite to the contrary, thinking outside of the billboard here is a winning strategy, as it makes it possible for your brand to have a solid (and memorable) presence in places where inventory is either low or sold at premium prices—or both.

Let's follow the customer journey

Aside from these core benefits, by approaching your out-of-home strategy in more of a non-billboard way, you can essentially create end-to-end brand experiences across the entire customer journey. Here’s an example of how this might work if you were trying to target, reach, and engage one of the most popular and influential audiences: working moms.

  • Mom leaves the house and heads to the gym.
  • At the gym, she decides to warm up on a fancy treadmill with a digital media screen and, lo and behold, she gets served some pretty immersive place-based video ads.
  • Now that the workout is done—and perhaps after seeing a few more ads in the locker room—it’s time to head to work. But uh oh, she’s running low on gas, so a quick stop at the gas station is in order. While pumping the gas, she gets to watch a handful of GSTV ads at the pump, including the day’s weather report, and then also realizes that the day just won’t go well without coffee. So, a quick stop into the convenience store to fill up a cup of joe, with a branded coffee sleeve in tow, is certainly in order.
  • Finally, she’s made it to work but is already thinking about everything she needs to get done during lunch, which includes a visit to the dentist. On the drive or walk over, if you’re in a city like New York, she passes by branded bus wraps, bus shelters, car toppers, and a few billboards. Needless to say, lots of marketing thrown her way.
  • Then, once at the dentist’s office, there are even more place-based ads for the likes of toothpaste brands and other more dentist-oriented stuff that she might not really ever think about out of context. (After all, the power of a message relies heavily on context!)
  • Fast forward to the end of the work day, and it’s time to go home. She decides to take the same route home that she took to the office, which means she’s going to see many of the same OOH ads that she saw throughout the day. This creates yet another opportunity for those brand messages to fully cement themselves in her mind.
  • And finally, after a long and busy day, she’s too tired to cook for the family and, instead, decides to order some pizza delivery for dinner. After about a 30-minute wait, the pizza arrives, with the boxes adorned with some fun co-marketing ads. But she ordered a bit too much, so one box gets tossed into the fridge overnight, which means those same ads will be seen yet again the minute she gets a late-night craving for cold pizza.

The truth is, this is probably only a small snippet of the sheer volume of ads that this specific consumer might see throughout her normal day. But it’s nonetheless a great example of how non-traditional OOH ads can dot the customer journey in a pretty powerful and impactful way.

Go ahead and “think outside of the billboard”

The moral of the story here is pretty simple: There’s a lot more to out-of-home advertising than your beloved billboard ads alone. The examples provided here are just a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing, but truth be told, there are even more fun ideas that you can add to your marketing mix at any time. If you don’t know where to start—or just need a nudge in the right direction—our out-of-home experts can help.

To learn more about creative ways to take your out-of-home strategies to the next level and engage your target customers like never before, be sure to request a demo today.