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OOH Advertising: What Is It & How Can It Help Your Business?

OOH Advertising: What Is It & How Can It Help Your Business?




If you take a step outside and see an ad, you’re most likely seeing a form of out-of-home advertising. OOH ads encompass everything from colourful & descriptive billboards or posters on the side of high-rise buildings to video adverts that play before a cinema screening.

OOH advertising allows businesses and individuals to market their services or products to millions of viewers. The advancement in technology has allowed it to grow exponentially, improving the amount of reach and engagement these ads have, but when did this style of advertising begin & what’s the importance of using it for your marketing campaigns?

The History of OOH Advertising

OOH is one of the longest-running forms of advertising. In 1450 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, launching the modern era into a world of advertising, most notably through handbills. During the same century, ‘Flyposting’ became widely practised in Europe. Flyers and signs were used to display services and products to local townsfolk and were placed on fences, lamposts and the sides of buildings.

In 1835, the first proper billboard in the U.S. was created by Jared Bell, an events promoter who had aimed to advertise a local circus performance. The billboards created during this time were bright and colourful pictures that emphasised unique features of upcoming events, something that has not much changed when we consider today’s circus posters.

Fast-forward 80-odd years and WW1 had swept across Europe and the Wider World. The United States’ recruitment poster, captioned: “I Want You For U.S. Army”, is arguably one of the country’s most iconic images. A staggering 4 million copies were printed between 1917-1918 and distributed across the country, advertising for male citizens to sign up for the war effort through conscription.

The emergence of “DOOH”

DOOH, or “Digital Out-Of-Home” advertising, is simply the digitalisation of OOH. In some instances, physical OOH ads have become outdated; digital flyers & billboards allow for multiple ads to be shown in the same ad space at one time, providing businesses with the opportunity to market their wares to a much larger audience. A digital poster in the middle of a bustling high-street may switch between ads for a local restaurant that’s just opened, a local real estate business or a nearby supermarket advertising for employees. 

Before the emergence of digital ad displays, changing physical billboards and posters could become quite a taxing job, with multiple people being employed to traverse around a city to change the ad on show. 

DOOH is easily accessible, and numerous companies can now display their ads on a single billboard. The area in which your ads are being displayed can also be efficiently changed on digital screens, with certain ads being able to target particularly hectic locations, such as buzzing motorway junctions.

The benefits of OOH

Difficult to avoid

The sheer number of different OOH adverts means that we’re likely to see them everywhere we go, with 90% of consumers being exposed to some form of OOH advertising each week. A study by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America found that 50% of digital billboard viewers notice them “all” or “most” of the time and that 57% immediately visited a business after exposure to a digital billboard ad. 

A more accessible form of advertising

Some individuals are unlikely to see your adverts in a digital form, whether they be older citizens who don’t use technical devices or even those who use ad-blockers and cannot see your ads on Facebook, Google, etc. OOH advertising can be viewed by practically anyone. The average consumer spends 70% of their waking hours out of the home, providing you with the opportunity to market your products or services to a much larger audience.

Embrace your creative side

Creativity matters when it comes to advertising. The roles that designers and copywriters play in the creation of ads is often underestimated and according to a study by Ipsos, 75% of advertising impact is determined by creative quality. The option to create large-scale ads can test your creative side, but people tend to remember the bright, colourful & descriptive billboards over the dull & boring ones. 

Within the Out of Home Advertising Association of America’s study, billboard advertising was the most engaging form of OOH, with 85% of viewers actively looking at the messages all, most or some of the time. Creative billboards and posters draw people into the advert and the information being displayed.

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