Marketers Are Changing How They Think About OOH — Here’s Why

The way marketers are thinking about out-of-home advertising is changing. Static billboards are out, and the digital revolution is well underway. Location data is increasingly being used to help retailers target outdoor ads to specific groups of consumers, while the ability to combine artificial intelligence with advanced techniques like travel pattern analysis is giving brands an even better understanding of customer routes. Online advertising may have dominated media spend over the past decade, but the widespread use of ad blockers and stricter regulations over third-party data is creating a momentum shift. OOH advertising feels poised for a true comeback.

A new report from Reveal Mobile details how a range of OOH campaigns performed in real-world settings. The report paints a clear picture of what’s possible in OOH measurement and how OOH media can be used to drive customer acquisition and activation. 

“Reveal Mobile measures hundreds of out of home campaigns every year for ad networks, brands, and retailers. As a result, we have become a clearinghouse for campaign performance. We measure exposures and conversions — think website checkouts, app installs, [and] store footfall,”  says Dan Dillon, Reveal Mobile’s chief marketing officer. “This report is a small cross-section of the campaigns we’ve measured in the recent past. We published it because we believe the OOH industry is as strong as it’s ever been, and we want to showcase its impact.”

One of the biggest reasons for the comeback in OOH has to do with the enhanced measurements now possible by integrating location data. Today, nearly all sophisticated brand marketers are using precise location information from audiences to determine who sees their OOH ads and who takes action as a result.

To demonstrate how these audience measurement capabilities play out in the real world, and illustrate what’s possible in setting and measuring goals for OOH campaigns, Reveal Mobile compiled a set of campaigns across a range of consumer segments, geographies, ad formats, and goals.

Looking at how a single brand was able to reach retail clothing shoppers, Reveal Mobile found that a DOOH campaign running in gyms and supermarkets, digital billboards, and atop rideshare vehicles led to a 52% net lift in store visitation among consumers. Broken down by geography, the analysis showed a 38% net lift in Los Angeles and a 67% net lift in New York. 

Reveal’s analysis was taken from campaigns running during the cold weather months. Despite that, campaigns in New York still generated a greater lift than those in Los Angeles, demonstrating that OOH ads are highly effective at influencing consumer behaviors even during times when people are less likely to be heading outside.

“The fact that an out of home campaign for a major clothing retailer drove a 67% net lift in store visits in wintry New York City is certainly noteworthy,” Dillon says. “It’s impressive that shoppers are as responsive to OOH ads as they are, even when you might think exposure to these ads is compromised by factors beyond the marketer’s control.”

Reveal Mobile also looked at the results of a campaign targeting food ordering and delivery, focusing on the impact of OOH advertising on food delivery website visits and placed orders. In that case, a campaign running on digital OOH in gyms and supermarkets, as well as roadside screens, resulted in a 79% net lift. 

Reveal’s analysts found that exposure to OOH ads drove purchase behavior more effectively than website visits. In other words, users who end up on a website are more likely to make a purchase if they were previously exposed to an OOH ad.

“I hope marketers take away the idea that the out of home channel can be measured just like Instagram, OTT, display, or any other digital channels that drive customer activation and acquisition,” Dillon says.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.