Believe it or not, now is the perfect time to launch an outdoor advertising campaign. But aren’t fewer people on the roads because of the pandemic, you might ask.
Traffic did slow down early on in the pandemic, but it quickly rebounded. After all, going for a drive with your family is a safe activity.
Outdoor is one of the few media tactics that delivers a large reach that is increasing over time. Plus, research shows consumers forget brands that don’t maintain an outdoor presence. Which means your competition could sneak up on you if you pause your efforts.
Outdoor ads work
A 2019 Nielsen Out of Home Advertising study found that U.S. travelers spend about 22 hours in a vehicle each week. Another study found that 71% of people consciously look at billboards while driving. Those numbers are still pretty accurate even in the midst of the pandemic recovery.
Nielsen also found nearly 25% of people talked about an ad or product with others after seeing an outdoor ad. And 33% have searched for an advertiser’s brand online after seeing an outside of home ad.
Outdoor advertising is an excellent top of the funnel activity. It creates widespread awareness and builds positive brand sentiment. It’s also used for more bottom funnel tactics such as promoting a special offer.
Outdoor advertising design tips
Your outdoor advertisement could reach hundreds of thousands of people. Make it memorable. Here are our top tips for ensuring your outdoor ad leaves a lasting impression.
You want your advertisement to stand out and capture attention. Using high contrast colors is a good way to do that. Stay true to your brand standards and palette, of course, but bright and bold work best. Avoid colors that blend into the surrounding environment.
Find your “hero” image
The most successful campaigns have powerful yet simple and clean imagery. Having just one or two images ensures audiences direct their eyes to exactly what you want them to see. It also makes the design itself more impactful. Most importantly, your image must be high-quality, especially if it’s enlarged to bulletin board size of 14’ x 48’.
Make sure your logo is visible
It would be terrible if someone saw your billboard and didn't connect it to your business. While a mystery billboard can be effective with the right strategy, it's not right for everyone. Make sure your logo and/or company name is visible or you risk wasting your efforts.
Use a concise headline + big type
When it comes to text on an outdoor ad, less is more. Your message has to be easily digestible and readable to someone traveling 70+ MPH, eating a sandwich, and adjusting the radio. Use large, legible typefaces that stand out from the background. Try to keep your message less than seven words.
Also, your headline should be consistent with other campaign messaging to build cohesiveness.
Balance your design
Balanced design doesn’t mean that everything should be the same size and symmetrical. It’s about using the content you need without overwhelming audiences. Also, your logo should never be the focal point of the board, your hero image should. Make sure the design of the billboard leads audiences’ eyes to that hero image.
(Re)Consider a CTA
A call to action gives people a clear next step, but it’s not always necessary. Travelers only have about 5 seconds to read your board. If you think they’ll grasp your CTA in that time, go for it. If not, it’s okay to not have one.
Know your location
And finally, be strategic about where you place advertisements. Place them where your target audience is likely to be.
Use messaging and designs that resonate with people in that area. The design you use in a downtown poster might be different from what you put on an expressway exit to a suburb.
Also, consider the physical environment around your board. If you can reference it or use it to your advantage, it may be worth it.
Types of outdoor advertising
While the design of an outdoor ad is arguably the most exciting part, a lot of planning has to happen on the front end before the design takes shape. One part of that planning process is deciding what types of outdoor to use.
Vinyl + digital bulletins
The wide world of outdoor advertising has many options beyond the traditional expressway vinyl bulletin shown below. There are also digital billboards that cycle through multiple advertisements.
Advertisers can choose smaller poster billboards (10’5” x 22’8”), which are typically found in slower traffic areas and secondary roads.
With transit advertising, advertisers can wrap all or part of a vehicle with an ad or place a small one inside. Transit hubs like airports and subways also offer ad opportunities.
Large shopping centers and malls offer great foot-traffic opportunities, especially during the holiday season. We used this tactic as part of a campaign for Mercantile Bank.
Murals or wallscapes allow you to create large-scale designs on the side of buildings. In some cases, you can leverage the environment around—or on—the building to support your design.
Pair outdoor with other tactics
Even though you have the potential to reach a lot of people, an outdoor campaign shouldn’t be a standalone effort. It should always be part of an integrated strategy that incorporates multiple tactics.
Think about it. A billboard can only say and do so much. It can’t tell a long-form story. Customers can’t tap the website link on it. You need the support of other traditional advertising tactics, digital ads, organic social media, email, and public relations.
These other tactics will give you a chance to tell your story more fully and direct people to places like your website, a landing page, or other resources. When the paid, earned, and owned ecosystem of tactics is working together, your reach is greater, and your impact is stronger.
Find a partner with experience
You could choose to navigate an outdoor media buy yourself, but there are benefits to partnering with an advertising agency. Outdoor planning and buying can be a time-consuming process because of all of the different options, locations, and inventory changes.
Working with an agency ensures that the proper time is spent on the evaluation process, and that you’re getting the best value for your budget.
Are you interested in learning more about outdoor advertising and how it can help your organization? Talk to our media planning and buying experts at moc.mddmaet@aidem.