It can be argued that out-of-home (OOH) is the OG of advertising. Decades before they got their fancy acronym distinction, outdoor signs promoting goods and services were about as simple as you could get. Do we need to mention how far OOH has come since billboards and bus signs?
Perhaps you have some ideas in your head about what OOH encompasses. We'll admit, the term is still pretty literal— it's basically any advertising media found outside the confines of your home. But that narrow definition is doing OOH a disservice in the data-driven world of today.
What isn't out-of-home?
Before we dive deeper, let's address some common misconceptions surrounding OOH:
- It isn't only billboards, street furniture, and transit signage.
- It isn't confined to traditional advertising.
- It isn't a slow-moving, stagnant medium.
- It isn't always personal injury lawyers on billboards.
- It isn't an out-of-touch, dinosaur medium.
Instead, OOH is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels. Surprised? Read more to learn why it’s time to flip the script on OOH.
What is OOH advertising?
As digital advertising continues to grow, OOH may get written off as outdated. But unlike other traditional channels like radio and print, OOH is fast-growing. In fact, it’s the only traditional media segment that’s seen consistent advertising revenue growth in the last decade.
Digital innovation is also transforming the OOH industry. Unlike other traditional avenues that are otherwise left behind, OOH benefits from the many mobile devices, wearable devices, and more that continue to change how we interact with the world. Digital is also changing how advertisers buy and serve ads—and how users interact with this content.
OOH has evolved from posters and signs to encompass digital and mobile billboards. Today, it even incorporates emerging tech like geofencing and wireless beacons. Essentially, any space with a digital component can serve as an OOH advertising unit. Now, OOH is one of the only universal mediums with the ability to use data and create valuable experiences.
Why has OOH advertising grown so fast?
The customer journey has become fragmented. As customers jump between platforms and devices, it's become difficult to make connections. According to a joint study between Square and BigCommerce, nearly 100% of all Americans shop online. But they're not loyal to one single platform. Using B2C retail as a model, customers use different platforms for different needs. While 44% of consumers may use a marketplace to shop for entertainment, up to 47% still turn to large retailers for apparel.
People are shopping in an omnichannel environment—one that crosses the physical and digital realms. OOH accounts for this segmentation and connects the digital and physical realms. Just like social media marketing, brands can now target out-of-home advertising based on behavior and interests. They can pinpoint measurement down to when users see an ad and actually show up at a brick and mortar location. Or, they can measure lift through goal completions and traffic on their digital storefront via Google Analytics.
Sound like the OOH of the past? Think again.
Paid advertising channels are no longer the only answer for data-driven marketers. Facebook recently partnered with Accenture and Kantar to gauge how social advertising and OOH work as a media mix. One case study compared the effectiveness of a French organic yogurt campaign across TV, Facebook, and OOH. While the study found that OOH ads were effective in reaching existing buyers of the product, Facebook reached the highest number of new buyers. However, using both Facebook and OOH worked best in reaching both new and existing customers.
As this illustrates, a multichannel approach can extend the reach of campaigns and help advertisers reach objectives efficiently. OOH can provide advertisers real-time trading options, dynamic creative, and better data. Not only is OOH emerging as a cutting-edge channel on its own, but it's also becoming an effective complement to existing media channels. As advertising continues to evolve, OOH will only enable marketers to know more about their audiences.