Managing an effective outdoor campaign

Estimated time:  50 minutes

Category: Outdoor Media


Outdoor advertising can either be a massive success or a huge risk, and it all depends on hitting exactly the right tone, getting a great, eye-catching design and ensuring that your advertisement is seen across an effective range of locations.

One of the most effective ways to use outdoor advertising is as an aligned, integrated strategy with the rest of your marketing campaign. Due to its unique strengths and attributes, outdoor advertising can be used to support campaigns conducted across multiple platforms. In fact, outdoor ads that list a website or tell people to follow a certain hashtag can drive traffic to those respective campaigns and increase their power and reach..


Outdoor advertising helps you reach the masses effectively. Choosing the right advertising location can really help boost the number of customers engaging with your brand. When it comes to outdoor advertisements, the content location of an ad matters as does the type of advertisement displayed – whether it is a static billboard or a digital one. If businesses wish to utilize their time and monetary resources to the fullest, htye will need to select the proper medium, create effective content and leverage the positioning of an advertisement.


By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the various channels and content used for an effective outdoor advertising
  • Understand what strategies work with outdoor advertisements.
  • Understand the metrics of outdoor advertising.


  • Outdoor advertising channels
  • Outdoor advertising strategies
  • Metrics of outdoor advertising

Detailed Learning


Understand the various channels and content used for an effective outdoor advertising


Most companies use outdoor advertising in their marketing strategy in alignment with other forms of advertising such as print, television, the internet as well as radio.

Each advertising medium has its own pros and cons with some being more preferable than others depending on the message you want to send. The most common types of outdoor advertising channels include:

Highway Billboards:

Located along freeways and other traffic routes.

Urban Billboards:

Target various audiences, not just those in cars driving along the highway. They are usually smaller than highway billboards and get less visibility.

Digital Wallscape:

Advertising covers the entire side of a building. An upgrade from traditional wallscapes, digital wallscapes include animation and HD video


Can be placed anywhere. The most popular locations are subway stations, bus stops and information kiosks.

Bus advertisements:

Work best in a specific niche. They also need to be very eye catching as the audience only sees it for a second before the bus drives away.


You are manager of a retail boutique which is promoting an end of season sale. List what type of outdoor advertisement would be most effective for promoting your sale. List more than one type if applicable.


Understand what strategies work with outdoor advertisements.


Keep it simple.

If people are driving or travelling on a train or bus, there will only be a small window for you to make an impact on them. To this end, make sure your advertising message is short and to the point – don’t make it too complex. Get one idea across succinctly instead of trying to tell multiple stories about your brand or sell multiple products.

Place it appropriately

Make sure you have your advertisement in a range of locations – this might be on the side of a bus, on a billboard, in a train station or on a bus shelter. Make sure they are strategically placed to ensure that people will have maximum exposure. Outdoor is an advertising channel that relies on multiple impressions.

Don’t wait by the phone

Outdoor advertising is a long-term strategy. The aim should be to embed a product or your brand in the consumer’s mind through prolonged exposure. Calls to action might not necessarily be the right avenue for your outdoor campaign. Aim instead to build your profile and recognition so that your business is generating audience awareness.

Scale the colours back

An all-out visual assault of colour may be tempting, but most effective outdoor advertisements use one bold colour and a few more muted colours, typically in line with your branding. Think of the most recognizable brands – banks, fast food outlets, transport companies – their coloured branding is consistent and never over-the-top.


You are promoting a recently opened dance academy using a series of outdoor ads. What is your plan of attack?


Understand the metrics of outdoor advertising.


The largest size of billboard available in any campaign is known as a “bulletin,” but billboard sizes can vary greatly depending on location. However, the typical size of an advertising billboard is 14 feet high by 48 feet wide.

In the past, billboards were created using sections of paper pasted together to form one image. Nowadays, digital printing on vinyl material allows the entire image to be printed on one sheet and can be erected very quickly and easily.

The typical length of time for a billboard buy is 12 weeks. For this reason, it’s important that billboards have content that is somewhat evergreen. Billboards are the ideal place for long-term messaging, but anything more reactive should go somewhere else.

Digital billboards allow creative executions that can be personalized, or swapped out with other creative ads. Sometimes, clients can choose to timeshare their ads with other companies, with the creative swapping out every few minutes.

Many different aspects can affect how much you will pay for billboard advertising. The three primary factors are:


The total volume of traffic that passes the billboard, which is derived from transportation authorities. The circulation does not take into account whether passersby see your ad or not.


The age, gender and income level of people who typically pass by a billboard. Expect to pay more to advertise to people with higher income levels.


The number of people who actually see the ad, based on the size of the billboard, visibility, the speed at which people are passing, etc. This is derived from the circulation and the geo-positioning of the billboard.

Despite the higher cost, there are a few key advantages to using a digital billboard instead of a traditional print billboard. Digital billboards are:

More dynamic

With digital ads, you can have a moving image. This works to capture pedestrians attention far more than a standard billboard.

More targeted

By showing different ads during specific times of day, you can target people on their lunch break or during the after work commute, and adjust your message accordingly.

More flexible

You can make changes to your creative at no additional cost. You can also stream live data and user-generated content from your website/social media in real time.

Finally, let’s talk about the key performance indicators (KPIs) that can give you a clue into the effectiveness of your outdoor campaign. There are several factors that play into how desirable a billboard spot is:

How fast people are going by

People are way more likely to see your ad if they are on a congested highway versus a train route where travelers pass at 40 mph. Getting location metrics and proximity monitoring can give you an idea about which spot gives you the greatest ROI

Proximity of the billboard to the public

How easy is it for your audience to see the billboard? It is directly in the centre of a busy square with high visibility? Is it on a quiet street obscured by trees? These answers will give you a clue as to whether you have enough visibility or if you need to change your location.

Where typical travelers are going

This can help with targeting. Are you advertising your law firm to locals, or people that are just passing through the town? Maybe having a billboard for a restaurant a few miles before the exit from the highway would be effective. Also, are people headed to the shops on the way home from work? This would be a desirable spot for a retail store.


List down at least three billboards you came across today, their location, size, the type of traffic passing by. Analyze what factors make these ads effective or ineffective.


You are involved in a blood donation drive with a large budget. Which outdoor advertising channel will you use? Why? What factors do you think will influence its success?



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