Out of Home Advertising | The Most Complete Guide

Times Square at night. Bright digital billboards and busy crowds and traffic.

Adverts in Times Square can expect around 1.5 million impressions each day

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II. Traditional Formats

II. Traditional OOH Advertising Formats

A. Billboards
1. Static billboards
2. Mobile billboards
3. 3D billboards

B. Street Furniture
1. Lamppost banners
2. Bus shelters
3. 6 sheet posters
4. Benches and bench-end ads
5. Kiosks
6. Telephone boxes

C. Transit Advertising
1. Buses
2. Taxis
3. Trains and subways

D. Other Niche Formats
1. Neon Signs
2. Bunting
3. Mobile flags
4. Correx boards & prisms
5. Murals
6. Projection mapping

I. The Basics

A. What is out-of-home advertising?


Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is a form of marketing that reaches consumers when they are outside their homes, in public places, or in transit. It encompasses a wide range of media formats, including billboards, street furniture, transit advertising, and more. 

OOH advertising is designed to capture the attention of people as they go about their daily lives, whether they are commuting to work, shopping, or engaging in leisure activities.

Unlike online or television advertising, which can be easily ignored or skipped, OOH advertising is hard to miss, making it a powerful tool for brands to increase their visibility and reach a broad audience.

A large billboard advert in a shopping centre in the UK

A large billboard advert in a shopping centre

B. A brief history of OOH advertising


The origins of OOH advertising can be traced back to ancient civilisations, where signs and inscriptions were used to promote goods and services.

However, the modern era of OOH advertising really began in the early 19th century with the introduction of lithographic printing, which allowed for the mass production of posters and billboards. As cities grew and transportation networks expanded, OOH advertising became an increasingly important medium for businesses to reach potential customers.

In the early 20th century, the advent of the automobile led to the proliferation of roadside billboards, which became a staple of OOH advertising. The development of new materials and printing techniques, such as vinyl and digital printing, further expanded the creative possibilities of OOH advertising.

In recent years, the integration of digital technologies has further transformed the OOH landscape, enabling dynamic, interactive, and data-driven campaigns that can target specific audiences and respond to real-time conditions.

C. Importance of OOH advertising in today’s marketing landscape

Despite the rise of digital marketing channels, OOH advertising remains a crucial component of many brands’ marketing strategies. In an increasingly fragmented media environment, where consumers are bombarded with online ads and can easily tune out or block unwanted content, OOH advertising offers a unique opportunity to engage with audiences in the real world.

One of the key advantages of OOH advertising is its ability to reach a wide and diverse audience. By placing ads in high-traffic locations, such as busy streets, transport hubs, and shopping centres, brands can ensure that their message is seen by a large number of people.

OOH advertising can be targeted to specific geographic areas, allowing businesses to tailor their campaigns to local audiences and maximise the relevance of their message.

Another important benefit of OOH advertising is its potential for creative impact. The large format and physical presence of OOH ads provide a canvas for eye-catching visuals and memorable messaging that can leave a lasting impression on consumers. When combined with clever placement and contextual relevance, OOH advertising can create powerful brand experiences that drive engagement and influence consumer behaviour.

In today’s digital age, OOH advertising also plays a vital role in driving online engagement. By incorporating elements such as QR codes, social media handles, and hashtags into their OOH ads, brands can encourage consumers to interact with their campaigns online, amplifying their reach and fostering a deeper connection with their audience.

Advertising boards in the London underground

II. Traditional OOH Advertising Formats

A. Billboards

Billboards are one of the most recognisable and enduring forms of OOH advertising. These large, often freestanding structures are typically located in high-traffic areas, making them an effective means of reaching a broad audience. Billboards come in various formats, each with its own unique advantages and creative possibilities.

1. Static billboards

Static billboards are the most common type of billboard advertising. These large, printed advertisements are mounted on a fixed structure and remain in place for an extended period. 

Static billboards are known for their high visibility and impact, as they are designed to capture the attention of passersby with bold visuals and concise messaging. They can help build brand awareness and recall by consistently exposing consumers to a brand’s message over an extended period.

2. Mobile billboards

Mobile billboards are advertisements mounted on vehicles and driven around a targeted area. This format allows advertisers to bring their message directly to their target audience, making them particularly effective for local businesses or events. 

Mobile billboards offer flexibility, as the advertisement can be easily changed or updated to reflect new promotions, products, or services. They can also generate buzz and word-of-mouth marketing due to their novelty and unexpected appearance.

3. 3D billboards

3D billboards are an innovative and eye-catching variant of traditional billboard advertising. These structures incorporate three-dimensional elements to create a more immersive and memorable experience for viewers. The use of 3D elements can help break through the clutter of conventional ads and capture the attention of consumers. 

While 3D billboards can be more expensive to produce than traditional static billboards, their unique visual appeal and potential for viral sharing can justify the additional investment for brands looking to make a bold statement.

A 3D billboard for the Meta Quest 2 in Piccadilly Circus, London

B. Street Furniture

Street furniture advertising involves using public structures and amenities as platforms for displaying promotional messages. Some common examples include:

1. Lamppost banners

Promotional banners placed on lampposts or street columns in busy urban areas, designed to capture the attention of both pedestrians and drivers. These banners offer a targeted and localised approach to outdoor advertising, allowing brands to reach specific audiences in high-traffic locations. 

Lamppost banners are often used to promote local events, businesses, and community initiatives, and their eye-catching designs can create a strong visual impact in the streetscape.

2. Bus shelters

Advertisements placed on the walls or roof of bus shelters, reaching both pedestrians and passengers waiting for buses. Bus shelter advertising provides an opportunity to engage with a captive audience in a specific geographic location, making it an effective way to target specific demographics or neighbourhoods based on the shelter’s location and bus routes. 

The large format and prominent placement of bus shelter ads can help brands build awareness and drive local engagement. Bus shelters are also one of the most popular locations for 6 sheet advertising.

3. 6 sheets

6 sheet posters are a popular form of street furniture advertising, often displayed in backlit units on street columns along busy roads. Measuring approximately 1200mm x 1800mm (4 feet x 6 feet), these posters offer high visibility for both pedestrians and drivers. 

As mentioned above, 6 sheet posters are commonly found on bus shelters, offering a captive audience waiting for public transportation. They can also be wall-mounted, capturing the attention of pedestrians and drivers in high-traffic areas. While traditionally printed, 6 sheet posters are also available in digital formats. They are often used for short-term or tactical promotions due to their flexibility and relatively low cost compared to other OOH formats. Their strategic placement near points of interest, such as shopping centres or transport hubs, helps to maximise impact and reach.

4. Benches and bench-end ads

Promotional messages displayed on the backrest, seat, or sides of public benches, targeting pedestrians and passersby in high-traffic areas. These ads offer a cost-effective way to reach local audiences and can be designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment or stand out in a playful and unexpected way.

5. Kiosks

Freestanding structures that serve as information or service points, often incorporating static or digital advertising displays. Kiosk advertising provides high visibility and engagement opportunities in high-traffic locations, such as shopping centres, airports, or city centres. By integrating advertising with the kiosk’s primary function, brands can capitalise on the existing attention and interest of the user.

6. Telephone boxes

Although less common due to the widespread use of mobile phones, telephone box ads can create a unique and nostalgic advertising opportunity. These ads can leverage the iconic nature of telephone boxes to create memorable campaigns that evoke a sense of history and tradition.

A lamppost banner in Brighton, UK

A lamppost banner in the UK

C. Transit Advertising

Transit advertising involves placing promotional messages on various modes of public transportation, such as buses, taxis, trains, and subways. These formats offer advertisers the opportunity to reach a large and diverse audience of commuters and travellers who are exposed to the ads for extended periods during their journeys.

1. Buses

Bus advertising can take several forms, including full or partial wraps that cover the exterior of the vehicle, interior posters or digital displays, and ads placed on the rear of the bus. These formats offer high visibility and exposure, as buses travel along busy roads and through populous areas. Bus advertising can generate high levels of frequency and repetition, helping to build brand awareness and familiarity.

2. Taxis

Taxi advertising involves placing promotional messages on the exterior or interior of taxi vehicles. Like bus ads, taxi ads offer high visibility and exposure as they travel through busy urban areas. Taxi advertising also offers the potential for targeted messaging based on the passenger’s location or destination.

3. Trains and subways

Train and subway advertising involves placing posters, digital displays, or wraps on the interior or exterior of trains and subway stations. These ads are highly visible to the large number of commuters and travellers who use these modes of transportation daily. Train and subway advertising offers the potential for long dwell times and the ability to target specific demographics or geographic areas based on the routes and stations served by the transportation network.

Advertising on a bus in the UK

D. Other Formats

In addition to the more common OOH advertising formats, there are several niche options that can be used to create unique and memorable campaigns. These formats offer advertisers the opportunity to stand out in a crowded media landscape and engage with consumers in unexpected and creative ways.

1. Neon signs

Neon signs are a classic and eye-catching form of OOH advertising that have been used for decades to promote businesses, particularly in urban environments. These vibrant, glowing signs are created by bending glass tubes into desired shapes and filling them with neon or other gases, which illuminate when an electrical current is applied. Neon signs can be custom-designed to feature brand logos, slogans, or other graphics, making them a unique and memorable way to attract attention and create a strong visual impact. While often associated with businesses such as restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues, neon signs can be effective for a wide range of industries looking to stand out in crowded urban landscapes.

2. Bunting

A series of small flags or pennants, typically made of fabric or plastic, strung together and displayed across a street or outdoor space. Bunting is often used to promote local events, festivals, or holidays.

3. Mobile flags

Portable, freestanding flag units that can be easily moved and placed in various outdoor locations. These flags are typically made of durable, weather-resistant materials and are mounted on flexible poles, creating a dynamic display.

4. Correx boards & prisms

Lightweight, corrugated plastic signs commonly used for outdoor advertising and directional signage. These weather-resistant and durable signs are a cost-effective option for short-term or temporary promotions.

5. Murals

Large-scale, hand-painted or digitally printed artwork applied directly to the exterior walls of buildings or structures. Murals can create a highly engaging and memorable advertising experience, while also contributing to the local streetscape and community aesthetic.

6. Projection mapping

A technique that uses specialised software and projectors to display digital content onto the surface of buildings or objects, creating an immersive and interactive advertising experience. Projection mapping can be used to transform any surface into a dynamic and eye-catching display

An example of mural advertising in Los Angeles

III. Digital OOH Advertising Formats

 

Digital technology has transformed the OOH advertising landscape, offering new opportunities for dynamic, interactive, and data-driven campaigns. Digital OOH (DOOH) formats combine the high visibility and impact of traditional OOH advertising with the flexibility and targeting capabilities of digital media.

A. Digital billboards

Digital billboards are large, electronic displays that can show multiple advertisements on a rotating basis. These billboards use high-resolution LED screens to display static or dynamic content and can be updated remotely in real-time. 

Digital billboards offer the ability to display multiple ads in a single location, enable timely and relevant messaging, and provide advanced targeting and measurement capabilities.

B. Interactive street furniture

Interactive street furniture refers to OOH advertising displays that incorporate touch screens, sensors, or other interactive elements to engage passersby and encourage participation. 

Examples include interactive bus shelters, kiosks, or vending machines. These formats offer a unique opportunity for brands to create immersive and memorable experiences that blend the physical and digital worlds.

C. Digital transit advertising

Digital transit advertising involves the use of digital displays or screens on buses, trains, subways, or other modes of public transportation. These displays can show static or dynamic content and can be updated remotely in real-time. 

Digital transit advertising offers a captive and diverse audience and allows for more dynamic and engaging content.

D. Point-of-sale (POS) displays

Digital point-of-sale (POS) displays are electronic screens or kiosks placed near the checkout area or other high-traffic locations within a retail store. These displays can show product information, promotional offers, or branded content and can be updated remotely to reflect current inventory levels or sales trends. 

Digital POS displays offer a highly targeted and contextually relevant advertising opportunity, reaching consumers at the critical moment of purchase decision-making.

Digital billboard advertisements at the Yankee Stadium

Digital billboard ads in the Yankee stadium in the US

IVBenefits of OOH Advertising

 

OOH advertising offers a range of unique benefits that make it an attractive option for brands looking to reach and engage consumers in a variety of settings and contexts. From high visibility and impact to cost-effectiveness and complementary effects with other media, OOH advertising can play a valuable role in a well-rounded marketing strategy.

A. High visibility and impact

One of the main benefits of OOH advertising is its ability to generate high visibility and impact. Unlike other forms of media, such as television or digital ads, which can be easily skipped or ignored, OOH ads are difficult to avoid and are often seen by a large number of people in high-traffic locations.

The large format and prominent placement of OOH ads, such as billboards or bus shelters, ensure that they are easily noticeable and memorable to passersby. This high visibility can help to build brand awareness, generate buzz, and drive top-of-mind recall, even among consumers who may not be actively seeking out information about a particular product or service.

Moreover, the creative possibilities of OOH advertising, such as the use of eye-catching visuals, bold colours, or innovative designs, can further enhance the impact and memorability of the ads. By creating ads that are visually striking and emotionally resonant, brands can leave a lasting impression on consumers and differentiate themselves from competitors.

B. Geographical targeting

Another key benefit of OOH advertising is its ability to target specific geographic areas or locations. Unlike other forms of media, which may have a broader or more dispersed audience, OOH ads can be placed in specific neighbourhoods, cities, or regions to reach consumers where they live, work, or play.

This geographic targeting allows brands to tailor their messaging and creative to the unique characteristics and preferences of local audiences, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of the ads. For example, a restaurant chain may use OOH ads to promote a new menu item or special offer in a particular city or neighbourhood, based on the demographics or dining habits of residents in that area.

Geographic targeting also enables brands to optimise their media spend and avoid waste, by focusing their resources on the locations and audiences that are most likely to generate a positive return on investment. This can be particularly valuable for small or local businesses, which may have limited advertising budgets and need to be strategic in their media planning.

C. Cost-effectiveness compared to other media

OOH advertising can also be a cost-effective option compared to other forms of media, particularly for brands looking to generate high visibility and reach a large audience. While the cost of OOH ads can vary depending on the format, location, and duration of the campaign, they often offer a lower cost per thousand impressions (CPM) than other media, such as television or print.

Moreover, the long dwell times and high frequency of exposure associated with many OOH formats, such as billboards or transit ads, can help to maximise the impact and value of the advertising investment. By repeatedly exposing consumers to the ad over an extended period, brands can build familiarity, trust, and loyalty, leading to a higher return on investment over time.

D. Complementary to digital advertising

While OOH advertising is often seen as a traditional or offline medium, it can also play a valuable role in complementing and amplifying digital advertising efforts. In fact, studies have shown that combining OOH and digital advertising can lead to higher brand awareness, recall, and engagement than either medium alone.

For example, OOH ads can be used to drive traffic to a brand’s website or social media pages, by including a call-to-action or QR code that encourages consumers to learn more or engage with the brand online. Similarly, digital ads can be used to reinforce the message or creative of an OOH campaign, by targeting consumers who have been exposed to the ads with relevant online content or offers.

Moreover, the use of mobile location data and other digital technologies can help to bridge the gap between OOH and digital advertising, by enabling more precise targeting, measurement, and attribution of OOH campaigns. By leveraging these technologies, brands can gain a more holistic view of the customer journey and optimise their media mix accordingly.

E. Ability to reach a wide audience

Finally, OOH advertising offers the ability to reach a wide and diverse audience, across a range of demographics, geographies, and contexts. Unlike other forms of media, which may be limited by factors such as device ownership, subscription rates, or media consumption habits, OOH ads can be seen by anyone who passes by the location where they are placed.

This broad reach can be particularly valuable for brands looking to generate mass awareness or drive consideration among a large and varied customer base. By placing ads in high-traffic locations, such as airports, shopping centres, or city streets, brands can expose their message to a wide cross-section of consumers, increasing the chances of generating new leads or sales.

This ability to reach consumers in a variety of contexts and mindsets, such as when they are commuting, shopping, or socialising, can help to create more relevant and impactful advertising experiences. By meeting consumers where they are and delivering messages that are tailored to their specific needs or interests, OOH advertising can help to drive deeper engagement and more meaningful brand interactions.

A large neon sign in Tokyo, Japan

A large neon sign in Tokyo, Japan

VPlanning an OOH Advertising Campaign 

To create a successful OOH advertising campaign, it’s important to follow a strategic planning process that takes into account the specific goals, audience, budget, and creative considerations of the brand. By carefully crafting each element of the campaign, brands can maximise the impact and effectiveness of their OOH efforts and achieve their desired outcomes.

A. Setting campaign goals and objectives

The first step in planning an OOH advertising campaign is to clearly define the goals and objectives of the campaign. This involves identifying the specific business or marketing outcomes that the brand hopes to achieve through the campaign, such as increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or promoting a new product or service.

When setting campaign goals, it’s useful to confirm that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This means that the goals should be clearly defined, quantifiable, realistic given the available resources and timeframe, aligned with the overall business strategy, and tied to a specific timeline or endpoint.

For example, a goal for an OOH campaign might be to increase brand awareness among a specific target audience by 10% within a three-month period, as measured by surveys or brand lift studies. By setting clear and measurable goals upfront, brands can more effectively plan and execute their OOH campaigns and track their progress and success over time.

B. Identifying target audience

Another critical step in planning an OOH advertising campaign is to identify the target audience for the campaign. This involves understanding the demographics, psychographics, behaviours, and preferences of the consumers that the brand is trying to reach and engage with through the campaign.

To identify the target audience, brands may use a variety of research and data sources, such as customer surveys, market research, social media analytics, or location data. By analysing this information, brands can gain insights into the characteristics, needs, and interests of their target consumers and tailor their messaging and creative accordingly.

For example, if a brand is targeting young, urban professionals with an OOH campaign, they may choose to place ads in locations that are frequented by this audience, such as coffee shops, co-working spaces, or transit hubs. They may also use messaging and visuals that resonate with the values and aspirations of this audience, such as highlighting the convenience, quality, or social responsibility of their products or services.

C. Choosing the right OOH formats

Once the campaign goals and target audience have been identified, the next step is to choose the right OOH formats for the campaign. This involves selecting the specific types of OOH media that will be used to deliver the campaign message, based on factors such as the audience, location, budget, and creative requirements.

There are a wide range of OOH formats available, each with its own unique strengths and considerations. For example, billboards offer high visibility and impact, but may be more expensive and less targeted than other formats. Street furniture, such as bus shelters or kiosks, offer a more localised and contextual approach, but may have lower reach and frequency than larger formats.

When choosing OOH formats, brands should consider the specific goals and objectives of the campaign, as well as the preferences and behaviours of the target audience. For example, if the goal is to drive immediate action or sales, formats that are located near points of purchase, such as POS displays or mobile billboards, may be more effective than formats that are located farther away.

D. Location selection

Location selection is another critical factor in planning an OOH advertising campaign. This involves identifying the specific geographic areas or locations where the ads will be placed, based on factors such as the target audience, campaign goals, and available inventory.

When selecting locations for an OOH campaign, brands should consider the demographics, traffic patterns, and context of each potential location. For example, placing ads in high-traffic areas with a large concentration of the target audience, such as shopping centres or entertainment districts, can help to maximise reach and impact. Similarly, placing ads in locations that are contextually relevant to the brand or message, such as near complementary businesses or events, can help to create a more seamless and integrated experience for consumers.

Location data and analytics can also be used to optimise location selection, by providing insights into the movement and behaviour patterns of the target audience. By analysing this data, brands can identify the most effective locations and times for their ads, and adjust their placement strategy accordingly.

The highly recognisable McDonalds ‘M’ sign

E. Creative considerations

The creative elements of an OOH advertising campaign, including the visuals, messaging, and overall design, play a critical role in capturing the attention and engagement of consumers. When planning an OOH campaign, brands should carefully consider the creative strategy and execution, to ensure that the ads are compelling, memorable, and effective.

Some key creative considerations for OOH advertising include:

* Simplicity and clarity: OOH ads should be simple, clear, and easy to read and understand at a glance. This means using bold, legible fonts, high-contrast colours, and minimalistic designs that can be quickly processed by passersby.

* Strong visuals: Visuals are a key element of OOH advertising, and should be eye-catching, memorable, and emotionally resonant. This may involve using high-quality images, illustrations, or graphics that clearly communicate the brand message and values.

* Compelling messaging: The messaging of an OOH ad should be concise, impactful, and relevant to the target audience. This may involve using strong headlines, benefit-oriented copy, or calls-to-action that encourage consumers to take a specific action or learn more about the brand.

* Contextual relevance: OOH ads should be contextually relevant to the location and environment in which they are placed. This may involve using local references, seasonal themes, or other elements that create a sense of connection and relevance for consumers.

* Brand consistency: The creative elements of an OOH campaign should be consistent with the overall brand identity and messaging, to create a cohesive and recognisable experience for consumers across all touchpoints.

F. Budgeting and ROI

Finally, planning an OOH advertising campaign requires careful consideration of the budget and return on investment (ROI) of the campaign. This involves determining the total cost of the campaign, including the media, production, and creative expenses, as well as setting clear metrics and goals for measuring the success and effectiveness of the campaign.

When budgeting for an OOH campaign, brands should consider factors such as the size and scope of the campaign, the specific formats and locations being used, and the duration of the campaign. They should also consider the potential ROI of the campaign, based on the specific goals and objectives that have been set.

To measure the ROI of an OOH campaign, brands may use a variety of metrics and tools, such as:

* Reach and frequency: Measuring the total number of people who are exposed to the ad, as well as the average number of times each person is exposed, can provide insight into the overall reach and impact of the campaign.

* Brand lift: Conducting surveys or studies to measure changes in brand awareness, perception, or intent among the target audience can help to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign in driving brand outcomes.

* Sales or conversions: Tracking changes in sales or other business metrics, such as website traffic or lead generation, can help to demonstrate the direct impact of the campaign on the bottom line.

* Attribution modelling: Using advanced analytics and modelling techniques to understand the relative contribution of OOH and other media channels to the overall campaign results can help to optimise the media mix and spending over time.

By carefully planning and executing each element of an OOH advertising campaign, brands can create impactful and effective campaigns that drive meaningful results and ROI. Whether the goal is to build brand awareness, drive sales, or promote a specific product or message, a well-planned OOH campaign can be a powerful tool for reaching and engaging consumers in the physical world.

Roadside advertising posters in the UK

VIEmerging Trends in OOH Advertising 

As technology continues to evolve and consumer behaviour shifts, the world of OOH advertising is also undergoing significant changes and innovations. From the integration of mobile and social media to the use of data-driven targeting and personalisation, emerging trends in OOH advertising are creating new opportunities for brands to connect with consumers in more meaningful and impactful ways.

A. Integration with mobile and social media

One of the biggest trends in OOH advertising is the integration of mobile and social media into campaigns. With the widespread adoption of smartphones and the growing importance of social media in consumers’ lives, brands are increasingly looking for ways to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds and create more seamless and engaging experiences for consumers.

Some examples of how mobile and social media are being integrated into OOH campaigns include:

* QR codes and mobile URLs: Adding QR codes or mobile URLs to OOH ads can allow consumers to easily access additional content or information about the brand or product, such as videos, coupons, or social media pages, directly from their mobile devices.

* Augmented reality: Using augmented reality technology, brands can create interactive and immersive OOH experiences that allow consumers to engage with the ad in new and exciting ways, such as trying on virtual products or exploring 3D environments.

* Social media walls: Displaying user-generated content or social media feeds on digital OOH screens can create a sense of community and engagement around the brand, and encourage consumers to share their own experiences and opinions.

* Location-based targeting: Using mobile location data to target OOH ads to consumers based on their real-time location and behaviour can create more relevant and personalised experiences, and drive higher engagement and conversion rates.

By integrating mobile and social media into OOH campaigns, brands can create more interactive, engaging, and measurable experiences for consumers, and extend the reach and impact of their messaging beyond the physical world.

B. Data-driven targeting and personalisation

Another key trend in OOH advertising is the use of data-driven targeting and personalisation to create more relevant and effective campaigns. With the growing availability of data on consumer behaviour, preferences, and location, brands are increasingly using advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to optimise their OOH campaigns and deliver more targeted and personalised messaging to consumers.

Some examples of how data is being used to drive OOH targeting and personalisation include:

* Demographic targeting: Using data on consumer demographics, such as age, gender, income, and education level, to create more targeted and relevant OOH messaging for specific audience segments.

* Behavioural targeting: Using data on consumer behaviour, such as purchase history, online search activity, and social media engagement, to create more personalised and timely OOH messaging that reflects the individual needs and interests of each consumer.

* Contextual targeting: Using data on the location, time, weather, and other contextual factors to create more relevant and dynamic OOH messaging that adapts to the real-time environment and circumstances of each ad placement.

* Retargeting: Using data on consumer exposure to previous OOH ads or online campaigns to create more targeted and sequential messaging that builds on prior interactions and drives deeper engagement and conversion.

By leveraging data and analytics to drive OOH targeting and personalisation, brands can create more effective and efficient campaigns that deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right time and place, and maximise the impact and ROI of their advertising spend.

C. Attribution and measurement advancements

Finally, another important trend in OOH advertising is the development of more sophisticated attribution and measurement techniques that allow brands to better understand and quantify the impact of their campaigns. With the increasing complexity and fragmentation of the media landscape, it has become more challenging for brands to accurately measure the effectiveness of their advertising efforts and attribute results to specific channels and tactics.

However, recent advancements in attribution and measurement technology are helping to address these challenges and provide brands with more accurate and actionable insights into the performance of their OOH campaigns. Some examples of these advancements include:

* Multi-touch attribution: Using advanced modelling and machine learning techniques to analyse the relative contribution of each touchpoint and channel to the overall campaign results, and allocate credit accordingly.

* Location-based measurement: Using mobile location data to track the real-world behaviour and movement of consumers who have been exposed to OOH ads, and measure the impact of the campaign on metrics such as store visits, sales, and brand engagement.

* Eye-tracking and facial recognition: Using computer vision and biometric technology to measure the attention, engagement, and emotional response of consumers to OOH ads in real-time, and optimise the creative and placement of the ads accordingly.

* Cross-channel measurement: Integrating data from multiple channels and touchpoints, such as online, mobile, and social media, to create a more holistic and accurate view of the customer journey and the impact of OOH advertising on overall business outcomes.

By leveraging these advanced attribution and measurement techniques, brands can gain deeper insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of their OOH campaigns, and make more informed decisions about their advertising strategies and investments. 

As the OOH industry continues to evolve and innovate, it is likely that even more sophisticated and powerful measurement and attribution solutions will emerge, enabling brands to fully optimise and maximise the value of their OOH advertising efforts.

A persons hands. They are holding and interacting with a mobile phone

Out-of-home advertising increasingly integrates mobile and social media

VIIFuture of OOH Advertising 

As the advertising landscape continues to evolve and new technologies emerge, the future of OOH advertising looks bright and full of exciting possibilities. From continued growth and expansion to new innovations and integrations, the OOH industry is poised for significant transformation and disruption in the years ahead.

A. Predictions for industry growth

One of the most promising aspects of the future of OOH advertising is the predicted growth and expansion of the industry. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic and social disruptions, the OOH industry has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability, and is expected to continue to grow and thrive in the coming years.

According to Outsmart, the trade body for the UK out-of-home advertising industry, OOH revenue in 2023 grew by +9.8% year-on-year with total revenues of £1.3bn.

The global OOH advertising market is projected to grow at a stead rate over the coming years. This growth is expected to be driven by a range of factors, including:

* Increasing urbanisation and population growth, which will create new opportunities for OOH advertising in cities and public spaces around the world.

* Growing demand for digital and programmatic OOH solutions, which will enable more targeted, personalised, and measurable campaigns and drive higher ROI for advertisers.

* Expanding use of data and analytics, which will help brands to better understand and engage with their target audiences and optimise their OOH campaigns for maximum impact and efficiency.

* Rising popularity of experiential and immersive OOH formats, such as augmented reality, 3D displays, and interactive installations, which will create new ways for brands to connect with consumers and drive engagement and conversion.

As these trends and drivers continue to shape the industry, it is likely that OOH advertising will become an increasingly important and valuable part of the overall marketing mix for brands and advertisers around the world.

B. Potential technological advancements

Another key factor in the future of OOH advertising is the ongoing development and adoption of new technologies and innovations. From AI and machine learning to 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), emerging technologies are creating new opportunities for brands to create more intelligent, dynamic, and engaging OOH campaigns that respond to real-time data and context.

Some of the most exciting technological advancements and possibilities for the future of OOH advertising include:

* AI-powered creative optimisation: Using machine learning algorithms to analyse data on consumer behaviour, preferences, and context, and automatically optimise the creative elements of OOH ads in real-time for maximum relevance and impact.

* 5G-enabled real-time targeting: Leveraging the high-speed, low-latency connectivity of 5G networks to enable real-time targeting and personalisation of OOH ads based on the location, behaviour, and context of individual consumers.

* IoT-integrated OOH displays: Incorporating IoT sensors and devices into OOH displays to create more interactive, responsive, and data-driven experiences for consumers, such as personalised content, gamification, or social media integration.

* Augmented reality and 3D displays: Using advanced visualisation and projection technologies to create immersive and engaging OOH experiences that blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds, such as 3D product demonstrations, virtual try-ons, or interactive storytelling.

* Blockchain-enabled verification and transparency: Leveraging blockchain technology to create more secure, transparent, and verifiable systems for tracking and measuring the delivery and performance of OOH ads, and ensuring that advertisers are getting the value and ROI they expect.

As these and other technological advancements continue to shape the OOH industry, it is likely that we will see even more innovative and impactful OOH campaigns in the years ahead, as brands and advertisers find new ways to leverage data, creativity, and technology to connect with consumers in the physical world.

C. Integration with other marketing channels

Finally, another important aspect of the future of OOH advertising is the increasing integration and convergence with other marketing channels and touchpoints. As consumers become more connected and multi-channel in their behaviour and preferences, it will be essential that brands and advertisers find ways to create seamless, consistent, and integrated experiences across all touchpoints and channels.

Some of the key ways that OOH advertising is likely to become more integrated with other marketing channels in the future include:

* Omnichannel attribution and measurement: Using advanced attribution and measurement techniques to track and analyse the impact of OOH ads across multiple channels and touchpoints, such as online, mobile, social media, and in-store, and to create a more holistic and accurate view of the customer journey and the ROI of OOH campaigns.

* Programmatic cross-channel activation: Leveraging programmatic platforms and technologies to automatically activate and optimise OOH ads in real-time based on data and insights from other channels, such as online search, social media, or mobile location data, and to create more targeted, timely, and relevant OOH experiences for consumers.

* Integrated creative and messaging: Developing integrated creative and messaging strategies that align and reinforce the brand’s overall positioning and values across all channels and touchpoints, and that create a more cohesive and memorable experience for consumers as they move between the physical and digital worlds.

* Cross-channel experiential marketing: Creating immersive and engaging experiential marketing campaigns that blend OOH, online, and in-person elements to create unique and memorable brand experiences for consumers, such as pop-up shops, events, or installations that integrate OOH ads, social media activations, and e-commerce functionality.

As these and other forms of integration and convergence continue to evolve and mature, it is likely that OOH advertising will become an increasingly important and strategic part of the overall marketing ecosystem, as brands and advertisers seek to create more seamless, personalised, and impactful experiences for consumers across all touchpoints and channels.

Overall, the future of OOH advertising looks bright and full of exciting possibilities, as new technologies, data, and innovations continue to shape and transform the industry. By staying ahead of the curve and leveraging these emerging trends and opportunities, brands and advertisers can create more effective, impactful, and integrated OOH campaigns that drive real results and value for their businesses and their customers.

Augmented reality  glasses are growing in capability, opening up opportunities for OOH experiences

VIII. Resources 

For brands and advertisers looking to learn more about OOH advertising and stay up-to-date on the latest trends, best practices, and opportunities, there are a wide range of resources available. From industry associations and trade organisations to publications, blogs, and tools, these resources can provide valuable insights, guidance, and support for planning, executing, and measuring effective OOH campaigns.

A. OOH advertising associations and trade organisations

One of the best places to start for those new to OOH advertising is with industry associations and trade organisations. These groups bring together OOH professionals, experts, and thought leaders from around the world to share knowledge, best practices, and advocacy for the industry. Some of the most prominent and influential OOH associations and trade organisations include:

* Outsmart: The trade body for the OOH industry in the UK. Offers a range of resources including major research pieces, case studies, industry news, statistics and more.

* IAB UK: Essentially the industry body for digital advertising in the UK. IAB UK brings together members from across the industry to share digital advertising news, including digital out-of-home advertising case studies and news.

* World Out of Home Organization (WOO): A global organisation representing the interests of the OOH industry worldwide, providing research, best practices, and thought leadership on key issues and trends affecting the industry.

B. Industry publications and blogs

Another valuable resource for staying informed and inspired about OOH advertising is industry publications and blogs. These outlets provide news, analysis, case studies, and thought leadership on the latest trends, innovations, and best practices in OOH advertising, as well as insights and perspectives from leading experts and practitioners in the field. Some of the most popular and influential OOH publications and blogs include:

* Billboard Insider: A leading online publication for the OOH industry, providing news, analysis, and commentary on key developments and trends in the field.

* Campaign – Campaign is a leading source of news and insights for the advertising and media sectors in the UK. They cover a wide range of topics, including outdoor advertising, with deep dives into campaign analyses, industry trends, and interviews with key figures.

* Marketing Week – This publication offers extensive coverage of the UK marketing industry, with specific focus on different advertising mediums, including OOH. Their articles, opinion pieces, and case studies can provide valuable insights into the evolving landscape of outdoor advertising.

* The Drum OOH: A section of the leading marketing and advertising publication The Drum, dedicated to coverage and analysis of the OOH industry and its intersection with other marketing channels and disciplines.

C. Tools for planning and measuring OOH campaigns

Finally, to effectively plan, execute, and measure OOH campaigns, brands and advertisers need access to the right tools and platforms. From media planning and buying to creative development, tracking, and attribution, there are a wide range of tools available to help brands and advertisers optimise and measure the performance of their OOH campaigns. Some of the most popular and effective tools for OOH advertising include:

* Route: Route provides audience estimates for out-of-home (OOH) advertising in Great Britain. It tracks not just exposure to ads on posters and screens but measures actual viewership. As a not-for-profit Joint Industry Currency, Route’s data supports the trading and evaluation of OOH advertising spaces.

* Geopath: The leading audience location measurement platform for the US OOH industry, providing data and insights on the reach, frequency, and effectiveness of OOH ads based on consumer movement and behaviour.

A large billboard in a UK shopping centre. A blurred person walks in the foreground.

A large shopping centre billboard in the UK

IX. Conclusion

As this guide has hopefully demonstrated, out-of-home advertising is a powerful and versatile medium that offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for brands and advertisers. From its ability to reach large and diverse audiences to its potential for creative impact and engagement, OOH advertising can play a key role in building brand awareness, driving sales and conversions, and creating memorable experiences for consumers.

A. Recap of key points

Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the many facets and possibilities of OOH advertising, including:

* The different types and formats of OOH advertising, from billboards and street furniture to transit and place-based media.

* The key benefits and advantages of OOH advertising, such as high visibility, geographic targeting, and cost-effectiveness.

* The process and best practices for planning and executing effective OOH campaigns, including setting goals and objectives, identifying target audiences, selecting the right formats and locations, and crafting compelling creative and messaging.

* The latest trends and innovations in OOH advertising, such as the integration of mobile and social media, the use of data-driven targeting and personalisation, and the development of new attribution and measurement techniques.

* The future outlook and potential for OOH advertising, including predictions for industry growth, technological advancements, and integration with other marketing channels.

By understanding and leveraging these key aspects of OOH advertising, brands and advertisers can create more effective, impactful, and measurable campaigns that drive real results and value for their businesses.

B. Importance of OOH within omnichannel marketing strategies

One of the most important takeaways from this guide is the importance of OOH advertising within broader omnichannel marketing strategies. As consumers become more connected and multi-channel in their behaviour and preferences, it is important that brands and advertisers find ways to create seamless, consistent, and integrated experiences across all touchpoints and channels.

By leveraging the unique strengths and capabilities of OOH advertising, such as its ability to reach consumers in the physical world and create impactful and memorable experiences, brands and advertisers can more effectively engage and influence consumers at all stages of the customer journey. Whether used as a standalone medium or as part of a larger cross-channel campaign, OOH advertising can help to amplify and reinforce the brand’s message and values, and drive greater awareness, consideration, and conversion among target audiences.

C. Encouragement to experiment with OOH advertising

Finally, this guide is intended to serve as a call to action for brands and advertisers to experiment with and invest in OOH advertising. Whether you are a seasoned OOH veteran or a newcomer to the medium, there has never been a better time to explore the many possibilities and benefits of OOH advertising.

With the rapid evolution of technology, data, and creative capabilities, the OOH industry is poised for significant growth and innovation in the years ahead. By staying informed, inspired, and engaged with the latest trends and best practices in OOH advertising, and by partnering with the right vendors, platforms, and experts, brands and advertisers can unlock the full potential of this powerful and dynamic medium.

So if you haven’t already, we encourage you to take the first step and start experimenting with OOH advertising today. Whether through a small pilot campaign or a larger strategic initiative, OOH advertising offers a wide range of opportunities and benefits for brands and advertisers of all sizes and industries. By leveraging the insights and guidance provided in this comprehensive guide, you can create more effective, impactful, and measurable OOH campaigns that drive real results and value for your business and your customers.

Bay Media are an advertiser based in the UK and Europe.

Our services include some of the formats touched upon in this guide, including lamppost banner advertising, for which we are the UK’s biggest provider. We also offer backlit roadside posters and billboards in shopping centres.

Contact us to find out more about getting your business noticed locally.