Beyond Brand Awareness: 7 Ways Out-of-Home Advertising Drives Real-World Action

By David Koppelman, Managing Director at Billups

There is a misperception that while out-of-home advertising may work beautifully for brand awareness, it does not drive actions like online and other marketing channels do.

The fact is, OOH can do much more than build brand affinity and awareness, potentially reaching audiences through all stages of the marketing funnel and driving real-world actions.

Consumers are engaging with OOH ads like never before. According to a study by the Out-of-Home Advertising Association of America and Morning Consult, of 88% of consumers who noticed OOH ads over a 60-day period, nearly 8 in 10 took action. Actions they took included using search to look up information about the brand (44%), watch a TV program (41%), and visit the advertiser’s website or social media page (29%).

Here we explore some of the top tactics for getting maximum results from your OOH ad.

OOH Drives Search Engine Queries

Search engines are used every day by millions of consumers to find answers to questions or to learn more about a subject—including brands whose advertising they saw.

Brands have a number of tactics to maximize the effectiveness of their OOH placements at their fingertips, including placing their names in the creative to make them easily searchable and using a specific campaign message linked to an SEO-optimized landing page. Implementing these measures makes an ad more likely to drive search engine traffic to the brand’s website through OOH.

OOH Drives Social Media Visits

Social media presence is crucial for most brands. Nearly one-third of consumers who take action after seeing an OOH ad look up that brand on social media. Engaging activations, unique creative images and compelling messaging all encourage consumers to take pictures and share them on social media. Integrating the two marketing streams amplifies the effectiveness of your campaign.

How can a brand encourage social media visits through OOH ads? They can start by using the brand’s social media handles or campaign-specific hashtags, both of which increase the likelihood that audiences will engage with those social media accounts. They can also create a unique, strategic or immersive experience through advertising to amplify the brand’s OOH impact through social media shares, likes and follows. This can extend the life of a campaign and even the awareness of the campaign outside of the areas it physically lives in.

OOH Drives Website Visits

Websites enable consumers to share a brand’s message with their friends, connect with a brand, and buy products or services. Of those who respond to OOH ads, nearly one-third visit the advertiser’s website. That means the ad piqued their interest enough to research more about a brand rather than simply researching a product or service.

Brands can encourage consumers to visit their websites by including the brand’s website address or short code in their creative. If an advertiser is using a high dwell time format, it may make sense to include a QR code so audiences can quickly go to a landing page specific to a campaign. That can help to further determine the effectiveness of an outdoor campaign.

OOH Drives Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is a terrific way to amplify an OOH campaign and reach more of the target audience. While not as measurable, it is nonetheless effective at increasing brand awareness, with 1 in 5 consumers excited enough about an OOH ad to tell their friends and family about it.

Again, unique activations, such as experiential advertising, immersive experiences and 3D executions, have the power to surprise and excite potential customers, and encourage them to share the experience with others.

OOH Drives In-Person Visits

OOH campaigns are the single best way of reaching consumers on the move, particularly when they are out and about and primed for shopping or dining. Nearly one-quarter of consumers, in fact, visited a physical location in response to an OOH ad. For example, timely OOH campaigns, strategically placed along a restaurant or store’s path, can inspire consumers to go in and make a purchase.

OOH Audiences Turn on TV Shows

Entertainment ads personalize a brand or program for a consumer, and can make them curious to learn more. Four in 10 of consumers polled watched a TV program, more than one-third tuned into a radio station and nearly one-third went to see a movie in a theater because of an OOH ad they saw.

Brands can encourage entertainment consumption by making ads that are exciting and memorable and that also include information on where they can tune into a show or go see the latest summer release, for example. Also, a brand should make sure its name is written large enough for people to read in order to help audiences find the brand and engage.

OOH Drives Consumer Spending

Despite the unpredictable economy, consumers are still spending on lifestyle pursuits. Nearly 8 in 10 consumers polled said they are more purposeful in spending money on things that bring them happiness than in the past.

Gaining insights into how consumers are spending their money can provide valuable information on the types of things they are likely to purchase, and whether or not you as an advertiser should consider targeting them.

While Americans still feel inflation’s effects on their daily lives, 6 in 10 now believe that spending money and living in the moment are more important than 5 years ago. The pandemic changed our mindset, and people now value living for each day more than ever. That can be seen in the leisure activities they engage in, including sporting events, shopping, going to the movies and dining out.

A look at the most robust ad categories for OOH — including video streaming services, alcohol and luxury apparel — dovetail with consumer sentiment around spending money on experiences and entertainment. Travel is also on the upswing, as consumers seek out new experiences and have fun with loved ones.

Meanwhile, advertisers in those growth categories can benefit from some of the most prime locations for OOH ads, among them sports venues, shopping malls and movie theaters, as well as airports and other transit hubs.

OOH advertising has the power to drive real-world actions and meaningful consumer engagement beyond just brand awareness. By leveraging the potential of OOH and implementing innovative strategies, brands can connect with audiences on a deeper level and inspire action that yields more impactful results.