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5 Ways to Win with OOH Ads

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, Nov 11, 2019 @ 10:00 AM |


If you are a CMO, you’re most likely aware that more and more marketing channels open up each year. You most likely also know that you have become even more accountable for delivering big results and return on ad spend.

Though newer, shiner channels tend to get a lot of attention, in our experience, traditional channels like out of home (OOH) advertising – or outdoor advertising as it’s often referred to – can give local businesses some of the best results.

If you’re wondering what exactly OOH advertising is, the Outdoor Advertising Association of American defines outdoor advertising as: “Any advertising done outdoors that publicizes your business’s products and services. Types of outdoor advertising include billboards, bus benches, interiors and exteriors of buses, taxis and business vehicles, and signage posted on the exterior of your own brick-and-mortar location.”Tokyo, Japan cityscape at Shibuya Ward during at twilight.-1

Without question, when done right, OOH advertising is an incredibly effective way of getting your messaging in front of your target audience. That is, if you know some of the basic rules of OOH advertising. If you don’t, keep reading to learn 5 ways to win with OOH ads.

  1. Don’t Write a Novel

People view OOH ads when they are driving or walking around town. They don’t have time to read the next great American novel. So keep your OOH messaging short and sweet. Ideally you would use no more than six words maximum. You only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention, so make every word count.

  1. Don’t Confuse OOH Ads with Direct Response Ads

While we are huge proponents of direct response ads, it’s important that you understand that OOH is not the time or place for direct response messaging. OOH ads have one main function and that is to create interest and brand-building. But these ads won’t be the ones that do the heavy lifting for your brand. Save that for direct mailers and newspaper ads.

  1. Don’t be Clever

There is a fine line between a creative billboard and one that is trying too hard to be clever. Yes, you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention so yes, you have to make sure your billboard is inspired and makes a big impression. But if your messaging and/or imagery is too cute and clever, it will have the opposite effect and your message will be ignored completely.

Despite what you may think, advertising is not about being clever, it’s about simple and clear communication with consumers who could use your product or service.

  1. Don’t Go for Less Than 100%

Imagine it’s Valentine’s Day and you want to set a romantic mood for your partner. So you light one candle. This one candle gets a bit of your message across to your partner, but not as much as if you lit 10 or 20 candles. Now your partner really knows what you’re trying to say.

OOH works in the same way. Sure, you can have just one billboard or just one bus ad and you’ll get a bit of your message out there. But having more than one OOH ad will really drive your message home.

Before making your ad buy, inquire about the ad’s Gross Ratings Point (GRP). This number will be based on things like traffic, visibility, location, size and so on. So if your OOH ad’s score is 50%, that means that roughly 50% of the populations in your local area would see your ad each day. Having one OOH ad is okay, but having more around town will get you as close to a 100% showing as possible.

  1. Don’t Forget to Test Your Ad First

You’ve spent time brainstorming the perfect OOH ad. And sure, it looks great on your 27” computer monitor. But how can you be sure that imagery and messaging will translate well when blown up?

It’s important to test OOH ads with a simple “arm’s length test.” Here’s how you do it:

Print your OOH ad to about the size of a business card. Once printed, hold the ad out at arm’s length. Does it still have the same impact it did when it was on your larger computer monitor? If yes, great. If no, try and refine your message until it can pass this test with flying colors. Remember, you only have about 5 seconds to make an impression on motorists and pedestrians, so keep testing until you come up with an OOH ad that really pops and commands attention.

If you follow these 5 OOH ad guidelines, you will start to see a greater impact on your audience and a better return on your investment. That’s a win/win.

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