How Out of Home is Taking Its Place as a Primary Advertising Medium

Out of home has long been characterized as an “amplifying” medium, a way to augment and reinforce advertising in other channels. But recent developments in the advertising landscape are making clear that it’s time to start talking about Out of Home for what it actually is: the most cost-effective and brand-safe way to reach and engage audiences at scale.

Commanding 4% of ad spend in the US, it’s natural that Out of Home (OOH) has historically looked to draft off the much larger budgets of TV and digital. After all, what better way to complement the insulated digital experience of TV, online, and mobile advertising than with bold, life-sized messaging in the physical world? That logic has consistently attracted the top-spending OOH advertisers, including Amazon, McDonald’s, Apple, Geico, Google, American Express, AT&T, and Disney, who spend disproportionately on OOH. In fact, prior to COVID-19, OOH recorded over 40 consecutive quarters of growth, at the same time that every other major traditional advertising channel lost share. That growth has been driven by the digitization of screens and the overlay of location data that have enabled advanced audience targeting, dynamic creative executions, and attribution measurement on par with other digital media.

While the pandemic dealt a temporary blow to Out of Home, requiring people to stay inside their homes during the quarantine phase, we have already seen audiences return as cities have carefully reopened and multiple data sources show that vehicular and pedestrian activity have rebounded to pre-COVID levels, or in some cases even higher. But looking beyond the short-term effects, the current environment has underscored a number of fundamental challenges intrinsic to other major media channels, which draw a much sharper contrast with OOH, and its advantages, than ever before.

OOH vs. TV: Greater reach at lower cost

The steady fragmentation and decline of TV audiences, driven first by cable TV and then by the growth of online video, has been well-documented. The COVID-induced dearth of new content production earlier this year coupled with the explosion and quarantine-fueled adoption of subscription on-demand OTT services, has now created a perfect negative storm for TV advertising: ever-shrinking audiences on traditional TV and far fewer advertising opportunities with OTT services. Consumption of video is becoming a personalized, on-demand, interactive experience – great for consumers, but not so much for advertisers looking to drive mass exposure. Compounding these challenges are factors like ad skipping on traditional TV and fraud on CTV. Skyrocketing TV CPMs have helped the supply side preserve revenues, but the picture for the demand side hoping to achieve mass reach via TV is grainy at best.

By contrast, OOH can deliver virtually 100% reach in every DMA, at a fraction of the price. From a media planning perspective, it is the most effective way to reach mass audiences with high frequency and at low cost. This is precisely why it has long been used as a broadcast medium to announce events like movie premieres, product launches, and store openings. With the troves of data that can now be overlaid, advertisers are expanding beyond the “announcement” use cases above, to leverage the scale and power of the medium for deeper brand engagement and even to drive conversion. And it doesn’t hurt that OOH ads can’t be skipped.

OOH vs. Online: Complete control of the message and the medium

The online medium has long been beset with challenges including viewability, fraud, and transparency. The pandemic and political environment have particularly magnified concerns around negative content and brand safety. The underlying issue is that from UGC and breaking news to bots and ad blockers, brands simply don’t have control of the medium. Technology innovations will always try to help advertisers meet the latest challenges, from tracking viewable ads to stamping out the latest fraud scheme (and collect fees as a result), but the cat-and-mouse game will never stop. That won’t stop brands from advertising online, but there will always be significant struggles and risks that come with the lack of control in online advertising.

By contrast, OOH gives advertisers full control. In every other medium, the implied contract between the consumer and the publisher is “you are here for the content, but you have to stomach the ads,” which means the advertiser is not in control, but at the mercy of the content being relied upon to deliver the audience. OOH is the only major advertising medium that is not content-driven. The contract is simply “you are here, and there are ads.” The advertiser has full command of the message, including choosing the time, location, and physical context in which they deliver it. And it doesn’t hurt that the medium is always viewable and is never seen by bots.

OOH vs. Mobile: Life-sized engaging experiences vs. pint-sized interruptive ones

Mobile media consumption has exploded, and quarantines and social distancing have only further increased the amount of time we spend on our phones. But mobile advertising is a far cry from the experiences most brands hope to deliver. Quite simply, mobile ads are small and interruptive. Mobile ad spend will likely continue to follow consumption, but the physical limits and “look down” nature of the mobile medium structurally prevent the delivery of rich and immersive experiences.

By contrast, OOH is a “lookup” medium, delivering memorable, life-sized messaging in the real world. From attention-grabbing billboards to immersive brand trains and station dominations, to ubiquitous street furniture and place-based media, OOH gets noticed. Research shows it also generates higher recall than any other channel. A review of past OBIE awards for creativity in OOH reveals eye-popping and thought-provoking executions that are simply impossible within the confines of any personal device. And it doesn’t hurt that experiential marketing can be easily integrated into OOH campaigns.

OOH vs. Social: Reaching consumers with authenticity and trust

Advertising on social media has become a mainstay for brands, driven by unprecedented data and targeting capabilities. However, recent developments around topics ranging from politics to COVID-19 to racism, have raised new questions and challenges around social advertising. The divisiveness of social echo chambers and the boundaries of free speech are important topics to be sure, but not the ones that may be top of mind for an advertiser just looking to sell more widgets. Social media is a prime example of the medium becoming the message, and it’s starting to drown out the advertising messages that brands hope to deliver.

By contrast, OOH is only about the message. While it can be targeted to specific audiences, locations, and physical contexts, the medium itself is objective. It’s not an echo chamber displaying different messages based on political views, race, or income. It doesn’t try to masquerade as part of a news feed. It’s simply a real ad in the real world. Not surprisingly, research has shown that OOH is more trusted than any digital medium, including social, mobile, and online advertising. And it does hurt, more than ever, if trust and authenticity are in question.

As advertising finds its own “new normal,” brands will increasingly take notice of the advantages OOH offers compared to other channels. As they do, Out of Home will come out of the shadows of other media channels and take its place as a primary channel in the marketing mix, offering advertisers the most cost-effective and brand-safe way to reach and engage audiences at scale.


October 28th, 2020 | Written by Ari Buchalter | © Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Inc.

NEW: Budget Blast Campaigns

Advertise your message on 20, 30 or even 40 OOH locations for 30 days with your wallet in mind. With traffic counts ranging from 600,000 to 1.2 million per day, you are sure to get the best bang for your buck. The exposure for your campaign will be incredible!

The Budget Blast and Splash Campaign are perfect for now hiring campaigns, membership drives, organizations with multiple locations, events and ticket sales, and businesses with a large service area.

For additional information and to answer any questions you may have please contact us.

SPLASH CAMPAIGNS IN OMAHA

Imagine for a moment, the impact on your next event or message if you had up to 40 out-of-home advertising locations working for you. Better results? You bet! You can now book one of our splash campaign packages for 2020! Short term blitzes are our specialty and we want to be part of your next promotion.

Secure 20, 30 or even 40 OOH locations to help spread the word.  Last minute deadline, not a problem with flights going live in as quickly as 3 days. Learn more below or call us for more information today.

What 40 OOH locations can do for you.

  • Locations average 30K+/- impressions per day.
  • 40 locations would bring you an amazing 1.2 million impressions per day.
  • Best ROI: OOH can deliver your message to drivers and pedestrians with unmatched value and ease.
  • With one call you can secure your events campaign on our calendar.

For additional information and to answer any questions you may have please contact us.

The Global Angel Project Comes to Omaha

#OmahaAngelWings

We fell in love with the message and the look of the Global Angel Project by Colette Miller, so we brought it to Omaha the best way we can – on bus benches!

What Is It?

The Global Angel Wings Project is a spontaneous street art project first sprouting its wings in Los Angeles (City of Angels) in 2012. It was meant to inspire and remind humanity that we can be the good and the Angels of this Earth. Colette Miller, at first illegally and on the street, painted large wings for people to take photos with – there are now more than 25 wings in LA.

Wings have since been commissioned in Australia, Juarez, Mexico, Keyna, and along with the East and West Coasts of the USA. Colette worked with many charities such as the Free Arts for Abused Children, Paper and Fabric, LA Kitchen, Kayole Wings Miller Boxing club, Lifeguard Kenya, Children Uniting Nations and more.

 

In the video below, Colette talks about how the project went from an effort to relieve residents of Los Angeles of ad bombardment to the viral phenomenon started by people posing with the wings and shared the photos on social media.

Watch Around the Metro.

There are four sets of wings scattered around the city. When you find them, take a picture and let us know you found it with the hashtag #OmahaAngelWings. We’re excited to see all the Angels of Omaha! You can see tons of photos of the wings across the world via Colette’s Instagram.

Sources: The Global Angel Wings Project Facebook page, colettemiller.com

Outdoor Advertising: Bus Benches vs. Billboards

When putting an advertising campaign together, it’s wise to consider all advertising options and their pros and cons. Outdoor advertising, or out-of-home (OOH), has a huge audience –in cities like Los Angeles, for instance, bus bench ads can be seen by an audience of 35,000 to 50,000 people per day. Omaha bus bench locations’ average 30,000+/- vehicles per day. Essentially, bus bench advertisers have an enormous audience, held captive at red lights, busy areas, or in slow-moving traffic. You could say that OOH is today’s modern influencer.

Bus benches give your campaign “fresh air” in the real world with high-impact graphics and visuals to help take your message further. Just like billboards – bus bench advertising is highly visible and targets passengers, drivers, and pedestrians. Omaha bus benches do this for a fraction of the cost of billboard advertising.

Advertising with the Omaha Bus Bench Program will deliver your message to a highly- targeted area of your choice and provide effective coverage where traditional billboards or other out-of-home advertising may be limited. Not to mention, there isn’t an ad-blocker in the world of outdoor advertising.

Their Differences

There are a handful of ways bus bench advertising differs from billboard advertising; let’s discuss a few. First, bus bench ads can go from concept to “on the street” in as few as 24 hours, rather than a lead time that can take 3 weeks or more. This gives you the power to say what you want to say when you want to say it quickly.

Second, bus benches are located at street level, making them ideal advertising mediums and easily viewable to both drivers and pedestrians. Bus benches are located at key convergence points throughout selected markets, following bus routes in urban areas and residential neighborhoods. Because of that, they are visible to thousands, sometimes millions, every month and establish a strong local presence in the community. This also gives advertisers the ability to direct customers straight to their door with effective point-of-purchase marketing near supermarkets, malls, movie theaters, tourist attractions and more.

Third, bus bench ads can provide big, impactful coverage in specific geographic areas where traditional billboards are non-existent or restricted. Because there can be multiple bus benches in the same area where only one billboard can be visible, bus bench advertising works amazingly for businesses. The local family restaurant, bakery, pharmacy, boutique, etc., can benefit from brand recognition and more in a saturated area.

Then, geographic targeting can be used as the basis for targeting business to business or consumer demographics. We’re in a very mobile world and research shows that consumers are traveling farther than before, so it is wise to consider expanding your advertising to match their movement.

Consumer Engagement

Bus bench advertising amplifies other out-of-home and digital advertising media when added to any campaign. By extending the reach and frequency of ad campaigns, bus bench ads drive mobile, social, digital and real-world consumer engagement.

Because of their location and size, they give the public ample time to read and retain what they’re advertising. 83% of OOH ad viewers report looking at the ads at least part of the time. 20% of OOH viewers report they’ve immediately visited a business after seeing an OOH ad, and 75% of those visitors made a purchase.

Bus bench advertising delivers mass reach and has maintained audience while all other traditional channels have been beset with audience loss and fragmentation. OOH reaches 90% of US travelers in a month, and 80% in a week. 66 percent of US travelers report taking an action on their smartphone after exposure to an OOH ad.

Cost Comparison

Bus bench ads are typically priced the same across all markets but vary depending on the location of the bench and length of the advertising contract. Whereas billboards can range from a few hundred dollars per month to many thousands a month, depending on their size, location, traffic volume, and length of your campaign.

In Omaha, one static billboard can be the same cost 30 days as 23 bus benches across the City of Omaha. Having that many touching points throughout the OOH market means more views, stronger results, and less of a dent in your budget.

Another way to compare cost-effectiveness between bus bench ads and billboards is by Cost Per (1,000) Impression – CPM. Bus bench advertising has an average CPM of $0.07, compared to the average $2.00 – $4.00 CPM of billboards, or $6.00 – $16.00 for TV ads. That’s up to 35+ times less expensive for the same (1,000) impressions. So, you can save that money or advertise at multiple locations to maximize the impact of your campaign and gain more impressions.

Things to Consider

Whatever your advertising budget, bus bench ads will give you more Return on Investment (ROI) while providing great market coverage. In our fast-paced world, bus bench advertising is easily the most cost-effective way to deliver effective outdoor advertising for pennies on the dollar. With a street-level media network of bus benches across Omaha, the Omaha Bus Bench Program is outdoor that fits your needs.


For more information on bus bench advertising in Omaha browse the Omaha Bus Bench Program website HERE, or give us a call at 402-861-0384.

Sources: AllOut Media, Blue Line Media, Gaebler, Todd West Media, Creative Outdoor - October 2016, 2stallions.com, Hauler Ads, Outfront Media 2017, Outdoor Advertising Association of America 2018, Lamar Advertising Company, Ace Sign Co., Nielsen 2019.