5 Things That Make Outdoor Advertising More Effective

Outdoor advertising has become more competitive. Here are five tips to ensure your outdoor ads are noticed, and most importantly, remembered.

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Photo: Lucy Kirkness, Head of digital marketing consultancy, Little Digitalist; Courtesy Photo
Photo: Lucy Kirkness, Head of digital marketing consultancy, Little Digitalist; Courtesy Photo

Did you walk, drive, bike or catch the train into the office this morning? Even if you left your home office this morning to run errands you likely came across outdoor advertising. Whether it was a billboard, bus shelter display, or in-store advertising, it is very likely.

In fact, we probably see hundreds of outdoor ads every week. But think for a moment … how many of them can you actually remember? I’d wager, not many.

Outdoor advertising has become more competitive. Out of home (OOH) advertising revenue rose to $1.59 billion in early 2015, based on figures released by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). With continued growth and big spending by larger competitors, it’s important to make your efforts count.

Here are five tips to ensure your outdoor ads are noticed, and most importantly, remembered.

 

1. Less is more.

When it comes to text, less is more. Considering we tend to be on the move when outdoors, any form of advertising we see, whether it’s a large road-side billboard, or wall poster, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Get your messaging across in as few words as possible. As a rule of thumb, around 6 words is ideal.

Less is more can also be true when it comes to the size of your billboard. Large, flashy adverts can be costly, and usually come with lengthy monthly contracts. Smaller outdoor ad formats, which can easily be placed around town, are a perfect option for small businesses with a tight budget.

 

Photo Source: adsoftheworld.com
Photo: Amnesty International advertisement; Source: adsoftheworld.com

 

2. Don’t distract.

While it’s important to grab people’s attention, you don’t want to distract. This is especially true when it comes to billboards, which are mostly targeted to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. The last thing you want is a driver being so fascinated by your ad that they crash into a lamp post. The iconic “Hello Boys” Wonderbra ads, back in 2011, were guilty of this!

The Arbitron National In-Car Study suggests that 68% of people make buying decisions in their car. Pair this with the fact that an even larger percentage of people read outdoor advertising, and you’ll want to make sure yours is as quick and snappy as possible.

 

3. Be smart, but not too smart.

It’s no secret that a boring advert will be ignored, and a smart one will grab people’s attention. But be careful not to be too smart, you don’t want people to have to solve a complex puzzle when looking at your creative visual metaphors. Keep it smart, but simple.

 

Photo: Water Is Life advertisement; Source: adsoftheworld.com
Photo: Water Is Life advertisement; Source: adsoftheworld.com

Here are some examples of smart outdoor adverts that were instantly relevant and incredibly cool in 2014.

 

4. The more the merrier.

Outdoor advertising may not be cheap, but it can be very effective. Having one or a few scattered around probably isn’t going to give you the results you want. You want as many eyes on your ads as possible, so make sure you have enough to create impact.

 

 

For small business owners, using large billboard’s as a mass market medium may not be the answer. There are, however, plenty of other cheaper local options. There are various banner printing companies that offer cost-effective ad solutions once you’ve identified which outdoor advertising format to use and where to place them.

 

5. Get creative.

You have an opportunity to create something memorable, and most of all, eye-catching. Get creative with your artwork and visuals. When it comes to your messaging, don’t say it, show it.

 

Photo: Dry the River - No Rest: 3D paper-crafted horses; Source: adsoftheworld.com
Photo: Dry the River – No Rest: 3D paper-crafted horses; Source: adsoftheworld.com

 

For design inspiration, check out these simple and effective print banner advertisements.

 

This article has been edited and condensed.

Little Digitalist is an independent digital marketing consultancy, headed up by Lucy Kirkness who works with companies of all shapes and sizes, planning and executing enterprise-focused digital marketing strategies. Connect @LDigitalist on Twitter.

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