Best practices in outdoor advertising

Estimated time:  70 minutes

Category: Outdoor Media

OVERVIEW & PURPOSE

Consumers are no longer looking at billboards in the same way they did twenty or thirty years ago. While the outdoor advertisements may still be considered a premium advertising space, consumers are engrossed in their smart phones, tablets, and gaming systems. Eyes are down, not up, for much of our day.

Outdoor advertising is about catching the attention of your audience through brilliant and stimulating outdoor art and copy. As the biggest and most prominent form of outdoor advertising, billboards are the best examples (and acid tests) of doing outdoor advertising right. As an advertising strategy, billboards can still play an important role in your brand’s presence outside of the digital realm.

With outdoor advertising upping the stakes and becoming increasingly more competitive, plus digital advertising becoming the medium of choice, outdoor ads are changing in their application from sole method of advertising to a complementary marketing strategy to be used in tandem with other forms of advertising.

RATIONALE

Knowing the best practices in outdoor advertising will help you craft a campaign that works. Industry practices are designed for a reason, and understanding these will help you make outdoor advertising like a professional!

OBJECTIVES

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

  • Understand the key elements that drive the success of outdoor advertising
  • Adopt best practices in outdoor marketing

TOPICS/IDEAS COVERED

  • Key elements of outdoor advertising success
  • Best Practices in outdoor marketing

Detailed Learning

LEARNING OBJECTIVE 1

Understand the key elements that drive the success of outdoor advertising

KEY TEACHING POINTS

Below are some of the key elements that drive the success of your outdoor advertising campaign.

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING DEMANDS ATTENTION

Outdoor stands alone so it doesn’t have to compete with other ads like other mediums. Often big in size, outdoor advertising makes itself very visible at both close and large distances.

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CAN BE VERY COST EFFECTIVE

Outdoor Media Association, performed a studied and found that outdoor advertising delivers a high Return of Investment in all categories.

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING HAS A HIGH REACH WITH A MASS AUDIENCE

This is a great marketing platform for brands or business that are trying to reach a broader audience. Outdoor advertising is public and has access to consumers that can sometimes be difficult to reach.

IT IMPACTS THE PATH-OF-PURCHASE

According to APN Outdoor, 70% of purchases are occurring outside of the main shopping and retail centres.

OUTDOOR IS AN ENGAGING MEDIUM

Unlike most mediums, outdoor is actually liked by consumers.

OUTDOOR ADVERTISING IS A TEAM PLAYER IN THE MARKETING MIX

Outdoor advertising can and has been proven, to work best with other mediums.

The thing is, outdoor advertising offers up a slew of advantages even in this day and age. The three main drivers of success with your outdoor advertising campaign include:

Visibility:

Advertising billboards are placed strategically along major thoroughfares and highways, thus, increasing the possibilities of being seen by a great number of consumers all throughout the day.

Access to Targeted Audience:

Since billboards can be placed in areas chosen by advertisers or companies, it will be easier for these companies to reach a particular or specific consumer group they sell their services and products to.

Audience Conversion:

The strategic location and unique design of billboards are instrumental to making sales and converting an audience into an instant customer.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE 2

Adopt best practices in outdoor marketing

KEY TEACHING POINTS

Six Words or Less is Ideal

Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard. So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across. You can push this to a few more words depending on their length and ease of reading, but as a rule of thumb, less is more here.

Get Noticed, But Don’t Be a Huge Distraction.

Most of the time, billboards are aimed at drivers, bikers, cyclists or pedestrians (which is why you have just a few seconds to get a message across). This causes an interesting dilemma for the advertiser; you want to get noticed, but you don’t want to be responsible for major, or even minor, accidents.

This is Not the Place for Direct Response

There are some truly awful billboards covered in phone numbers and website addresses. And without a doubt, 99.9% of the people who actually read the billboard will not call or visit the website. A billboard is a secondary advertising medium, which means that it’s ideal for brand-building and supporting a campaign

Be Smart, But Not Too Clever

A boring billboard will be ignored. A smart billboard will grab the attention and leave a lasting impression. A billboard that’s trying to be too clever, well, it will get lost on the audience.

The More Billboards, The Better

One billboard is not cheap. But it’s also not very effective either. Billboards are a mass market medium, but they need support. So, you want more than one, and you want as many eyes on them as possible

Don’t Say It, Show It

Get creative with your billboard ideas. A flat billboard is the standard, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. You can go 3D, have moving parts, have people interacting with it and even have your billboard animate.

Avoid Repetition of Any Kind

You have some premium space to work with here. It costs a lot of money to put a billboard up, and keep it up, so use every inch of the space wisely

Keep It Simple

A billboard is a quick read. Most of the time, you see it as you drive past it at 55mph in your car, so it needs to get the message across in the most effective way.

Be Wary of Logo Size

One of the most parroted pieces of client feedback ever given in advertising is “make the logo bigger.” The reason for that is easy to understand

Do The “Arm’s Length” Test

So, you have followed all of the rules above. You’ve designed yourself one fantastic billboard. It’s clean, it’s concise, it’s got contrasting colors, it’s interesting, and it will work.

ACTIVITY

Do you have any suggestions to add to the above list of best practices? List them below and explain your rationale.

EVALUATION

You are coordinating an outdoor advertising campaign for a local trade fair. Outdoor advertising is a big part of your campaign. Analyze why your team amy have chosen outdoor for advertising the event. Then, pick three best practices above that you think would be most applicable to your campaign. Explain your choices

FURTHER READING

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/six-steps-to-making-a-great-billboard-ad-38479

https://www.amba.agency/blog/billboard-design-best-practicesbillboard-design-best-practices

https://www.envision-creative.com/5-best-practices-for-a-memorable-billboard-design/