But with so many different types of OOH advertising how can you decide which option to use? In this article, you’ll learn 10 types of OOH advertising and how you can select the right formats for your campaign to maximize your marketing budget and get great results.
What is Outdoor Advertising?
Outdoor advertising is a form of mass media, which is distributed in public areas to get your message in front of potential consumers. There are numerous formats and types of outdoor advertising, each with different advantages and disadvantages depending on your campaign goals.
What are the Different Types of Outdoor Advertising?
The possibilities for outdoor advertising are endless, but there are two key categories in which they can be placed: static and digital.
- Traditional, or “classic” outdoor media refers to placements that are static. This includes Billboards or Bulletins, Wallscapes, Posters, Transit Ads, and more.
- Digital outdoor media continues to grow and increase in popularity, and refers to placements that utilize digital screens. This includes placements like digital Billboards, digital Place-Based ads, and digital Street Furniture.
OOH advertisements can also be categorized by where they appear. Place-Based ads, for example, refer to advertising in locations like airports, bus shelters, train stations, arenas or stadiums, shopping malls, and more.
There are also types of OOH advertising that go beyond simple categorization such as experiential advertisements that invite the consumer to participate and guerilla marketing, which uses unconventional methods to gain maximum brand exposure.
1. Traditional (Billboard Advertising)
Now often called “classic” OOH, traditional OOH advertising consists of a standardized large format static unit designed to be viewed from a distance of about 50 feet. Often long term or “perm” placements can become part of an area’s geographic landscape. Billboards or “Bulletins” are what those not in the industry typically think of in terms of OOH advertising. Their high traffic location, visibility and long lifespan make them a very cost-effective form of advertising.
Bulletins or Billboards, as they’re commonly called, are large and impactful media types. Standard Bulletins are commonly 14ft x 48ft, 20ft x 60ft or sometimes 12ft x 24ft(Premier Panels). are usually located on major roads and highways, attracting high-density consumer exposure from both commuter traffic and pedestrians. Bulletins naturally have a high level of visibility due to their size, which can be enhanced through creative custom extensions and embellishments.
Digital billboards are computer-controlled electronic displays with technological capabilities that take OOH advertising to a new level. Advertisers can quickly swap out creatives to keep the messaging fresh, without the hassle of sending creatives to a printer for production. There are options to reach targeted mass audiences through programmatic advertising, where you buy your ad space based on the number of overall impressions rather than for a specific time period. Corner units have the added ability to be used for 3D digital displays that appear to pop out at your audience when viewed from a certain angle.
Versace 3D digital billboard promoting their Greca Goddess handbag placed on a busy NYC street corner.
2. Wallscapes and Murals
These formats have a great variety of sizes from large format for visibility to smaller walls that provide value by nestling into neighborhoods where other OOH formats may be restricted.
With the possibility to be even larger than Bulletins, Wallscapes are vinyl posters affixed to walls in heavily trafficked areas, providing long distance visibility and maximum impact.
Often hand-painted, murals can accommodate creative custom OOH designs for long-term exposure, creating mass-market awareness through their high reach and frequency levels. They are great for targeting audiences in neighborhoods and other areas where alternative formats may not be available.
Fall Prada campaign used a hand-painted mural to create the texture of a sweater.
Static and digital posters weave into the fabric of local neighborhoods, aligning your brand message to a specific audience or neighborhood culture. Posters cost-effectively extend brand awareness on a local level and are often placed on surface streets and secondary roadways. Often near retail outlets, smaller poster formats are used for product introductions and short-term seasonal or regional campaigns. They often come at a lower cost per thousand than other traditional formats.
Poster targeting key areas of Oregon to communicate the importance of masking up.
4. Street Furniture
Street furniture often offers a public amenity, in the form of bus shelters and benches and can be either static or digital. These advertising displays are positioned near pedestrian walkways for eye-level viewing, or at curbside to influence vehicular traffic. Street furniture connects with consumers on an intimate, face-to-face level. It can be leveraged to provide national coverage as part of a multi-market campaign or for hyperlocal targeting in a variety of categories.
Urban Street Furniture
Urban Street Furniture is a type of OOH advertising that allows you to target shoppers on the street at eye level. Primarily located on streets, kiosks target affluent shoppers in places where minimal advertising exists, making your brand top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase. Types of Urban Street Furniture include:
- Bus Benches
- News Racks
- Phone Kiosks
Bus Shelters follow bus routes in urban areas from key consumer convergence points throughout selected markets to residential neighborhoods. Bus shelter panels offer high-impact, uncluttered advertising showcases. Typically mounted in glass with backlit frames, bus shelter panels provide 24-hour visibility to vehicular and pedestrian traffic at high-circulation locations along metropolitan roadways.
Bus Shelter execution in Miami for Versace Eyewear.
Transit Advertising makes use of places where people are on the move and mobile advertising. It primarily references transit/rail formats such as Kings, USKs and wrapped buses, but also can include terminals and airports. Some locations have a longer dwell time for viewers to interact with your message whereas others have a very short dwell time due to the nature of the moving ad.
Airport media offers a variety of format types located throughout terminals in arrival and departure areas, ticketing areas, baggage claims, gate-hold rooms, concourses, retail shops and VIP lounges. Pros of airport advertising include a long dwell time, but one con is that airport advertising is often expensive.
Bus advertisements are one of the most noticed forms of OOH, according to OAAA. They provide cities with a moving canvas, that follow audiences throughout their daily journeys. This can be a great way to dip into neighborhoods that may have limited or no OOH due to zoning restrictions.
Visit Seattle leveraged Bus Advertising to spread promotion of exploring the city and nearby nature areas.
Rail and subway advertising offer interior and exterior opportunities for your brand to be seen by both commuters, and observers watching the train. This type of OOH advertising has a lengthy dwell time on platforms and interior placements, as on average commuters have at least a 27-minute commute to their place of work. Common inventory formats for subways include car cards, station platform posters, digital units, floor graphics and turnstiles.
Truckside advertising displays are made of specialized adhesive-backed masking films or non-adhesive, stretched vinyl banners attached to special frames on the sides or rear of trucks or tractor-trailers. This format has predetermined regular routes through metropolitan areas or interstate highways. Truckside advertising adds variety, frequency, and value to a campaign, and can be a great option in markets with restricted or limited outdoor advertising.
Taxi advertising reaches local commuters, businesses, and tourists while en route with high levels of recall among consumers. While most displays are attached to the roof or trunk of the vehicle, fully wrapped taxis are also gaining popularity. Some taxis even offer video screen advertising inside the passenger compartment.
Mobile billboard displays are poster panels mounted to aerodynamically-designed vehicles often used for national exposure and event marketing. Unlike busses or taxi cabs, in which routes are predetermined, advertisers can set custom routes to determine where their electronic display vehicles will be seen.
6. Arenas and Stadiums
Reach your audience with total demographic and circulation control. Stadiums and arenas provide an engaged audience, incredible visibility and the possibility of additional exposure through TV. Some options for arena and stadium advertising include scoreboards, dioramas, facade units, dashers, and replay screen spots.
7. Shopping Malls
Shopping malls reach an audience that is actively searching for products. Placements can be located at entrances, anchor stores, escalators, food courts and other high traffic areas. There are also kiosks, wall-mounted and free-standing displays, and multi-sided store directory units available. M
Luxury cosmetics brand Hourglass used mall formats along with other traditional placements to target their audience and increase brand awareness.
Place-based is a broad category that can contain just about any place imaginable. The two main types of place-based advertisements are interior and exterior advertising.
Interior display units are a dynamic all-in-one environment that captivates audiences in locations where they are already primed to shop and explore. These units are often surrounded by premium retail, restaurant, and public spaces and featured in locations like convenience stores, health clubs, restaurants, bars, and event spaces.
More than just signage, interior place-based advertising creates the opportunity to offer takeaways as well. Major markets throughout the world also make use of digital place-based advertising that reaches consumers while they wait in line or elevators, check-out counters, coffee shops, lobbies, convenience stores, gas pumps and transit hubs. This form is most often used to build brand awareness and reinforce existing advertising campaigns to targeted and mass audiences.
Exterior Place-based displays are useful for places where people congregate including college and high school campuses, military bases, convention centers, arcades, golf courses, parking garages and rest areas. Formats can include both static and digital. Exterior Place-Based advertisements are mostly used to reach target audiences and give exposure.
Experiential Advertising invites the viewer to participate. From pop-up displays to aerial banners to drones that carry your message to your audience, the limit is your imagination and budget.
Experiential advertising is often not measurable due to its nontraditional nature, but it can be extremely effective and leave a lasting impression on your audience. One of the best things about experiential advertising is that it truly stands out and has the ability to heavily influence your other media channels through its novelty.
Often innovative experiential advertisements can generate news articles or broadcasts and create a lot of buzz on social media. The more your audience interacts with your message and associates that with a positive or novel experience the more likely they are to recognize your brand later.
Old Spice created a stir online when they constructed a giant head and wrapped a custom truck to drive around Columbus, OH for the opening of a new barbershop.
10. Guerilla OOH
Guerilla and experiential advertising often go hand-in-hand. Guerilla marketing is often a low-cost form of nontraditional advertising that is sometimes sanctioned and sometimes not depending on what kind you are doing and the location. Guerilla can encompass and incorporate a number of other format types. When employing guerilla OOH tactics, consider whether there will be a fine associated with your marketing activities. It is also often difficult to directly measure the success of the campaign.
Light up the sky like Batman. This is generally a one-night-only event and can be extremely expensive. This is a form of nontraditional OOH advertising that is often difficult for municipalities to sanction, but can be quite effective for high-impact campaigns.
People can be a part of your OOH advertising efforts! This type of outdoor advertising is often used to promote events. Street teams can talk to your audience and engage them with your brand, or perform to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Wildposting is nontraditional inventory that can look like traditional inventory. Think of hand-painted Murals or Posters. Some municipalities sanction this type of inventory and have dedicated Wildposting sites, making them more traditional but still adding authenticity to the neighborhood look and feel.
The Body Shop executed a guerilla Wildposting campaign during Pride Month to show support for the Equality Act in targeted states Texas and Florida.
How Outdoor Advertising Attribution Works
Now that you know about the types of OOH formats, how can you know whether your creatives are having the desired effect? OOH attribution is the process of identifying who was exposed to a campaign’s OOH advertising and what actions they took as a result of that campaign either online or offline.
The primary way that attribution data is collected is through location observation data collected from mobile devices, which provides timestamps, location data and the associated mobile ad id. This lets advertisers anonymously determine traffic patterns of audiences in the physical world and what locations they visit.
In many cases, weather apps running in the background are a source of location observation data. As mobile privacy concerns increase and more people are opting out of sharing their location data, OOH measurement companies like Billups are finding new ways to determine footfall, reach and frequency of OOH advertisements.
Why Invest in Outdoor Advertising?
Just about anything and everything can be an outdoor advertisement. The limit is only your imagination and the power of the team behind you. A full campaign often integrates multiple strategically located formats to reach your audience. To choose the right format or formats for your campaign it’s important to understand your campaign goals, strategy and budget. Talking to an experienced OOH specialist can help you get started on the path to creating a measurable, memorable and meaningful OOH campaign. Get in touch with one of Billups’ OOH specialists or submit an RFP today to get started!