Out of Home, on your mind

Hi again,  Adam here (until the end of July anyway). Following my previous blog post on Permission Email Marketing I was asked again to choose a topic to write about. Having written about something that I have already studied – my Dissertation topic – I have decided to write about something I hope to go in to, Out of Home (OOH) marketing and advertising.

Out of home advertising encompasses all forms of visual media communications found outside of the home, including but not exclusively; billboards, posters and street furniture ads. These can be found almost anywhere, from phone booths and tube platforms to street corners and every blank wall in-between. Analysis by Route estimates that 99% of the adult population in the UK will see some form of OOH advertising each week, with 68% of adults also viewing a digital ad screen. Such ubiquity means that OOH is much harder to ignore than ads on social media which disappear as you are scrolling past, fading into the background. Stood at a tube station, it is almost impossible to ignore a 48 sheet across-track advert when there is little else to look at.

One of the benefits of OOH is that it can connect with an audience who are in an active space. They are alert, absorbing information and open to visual stimuli. This allows for marketing messages to convey powerful meaning, resonating with audiences as they are unexpected. Furthermore, OOH as a medium is less crowded with noise; meaning shouting is not necessarily the only way to be heard. It is often the simplest of campaign ideas which prove most effective. 


For example, to promote the UK release of the second season of Killing Eve, JACK teamed up with the BBC to create beautifully simple billboards and 4 sheets featuring only one line of text. This campaign caught the attention of passersby as it appeared to have been tagged by the shows main character Eve Polastri, upon calling the handwritten number fans were connected to Eve’s answerphone and invited to leave messages.

Image credit: JACK

This type of campaign creates new touch points for audiences, increasing their affinity with a brand. Such a spectacle creates a talking point out of advertisements which further promotes word of mouth and user generated content, sharing branded messages.

OOH advertising works well as part of cross medium campaigns because it demands a unique form of attention from an audience, different to that given to mobile or online ads. This permits OOH to be used to generate awareness or act as a means of reminder advertising if part of a larger campaign. Research by Exterion reveals that OOH is the medium which leads to the most mobile searches and greatest word of mouth exposure. This means that any large multi media campaign should have some form of outdoor collateral.


Research highlights that 48% of consumers are more likely to click on a mobile ad after previously seeing the same ad in OOH format, and 46% of surveyed adults had conducted an online search after first seeing the object of their search in OOH format.


With online sales expected to account for over 50% of retail purchases in the next 10 years (The Guardian), OOH is an affordable and logical means of driving an audience to an online product or service. 


Although once considered only accessible to those with big budgets, advancements in digital out of home (DOOH) technology has reduced cost and increased availability of ad placements; increasing accessibility to the medium. DOOH also permits the use of movement and bright, vibrant colors, all the while removing the need for the often labour-intensive process of installing billboards. Digital screens also benefit from the ability to host multiple ads in a cycle – hence the reduction in price – this means that ads can be targeted to time-specific audiences, for example catching commuters in London only during peak travel times. 


The gargantuan potential of OOH has been recognised with a 3% spending growth in 2019 and 2020 as digital formats drive up spend (Marketing Week), and push the boundaries as to what can be put on a ‘billboard’.

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