Skip to content Skip to footer

How an OOH marketing strategy can improve your online visibility

17 April 2023
IV 4019
IV 4019

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is one of the best ways in which brands can attract a wide and diverse audience. In fact, OOH was the only method of advertising assessed in the 2022 Touchpoints report to be able to reach over 90% of all adults per week.1

Businesses of all sizes rely on OOH ads to reach their target audience, with many using OOH to drive traffic online, in-store, and into other marketing channels. The ability of OOH marketing to drive online visibility has now been backed up by data, in the form of ‘The Point of Search’ OOH study.2

In this article, and against the backdrop of this research study, we’ll explore how having an out-of-home marketing strategy can improve online visibility for your brand, and consider what you can do to make your OOH advertising more effective.

Suggested reading: Read our blog,​​Is Billboard Advertising Effective in 2023? And Can You Measure It?, to learn more about the place of OOH in an online world.

What is an OOH marketing strategy?

OOH marketing, also known as OOH advertising, is an advertising method used to share products or services with a wide or targeted audience who are ‘out-of-home’. It can be used to get your message out there and demonstrate what you have to offer, and is often used as part of a wider marketing strategy.

OOH ads can take many forms — from paper billboards and signage to modern digital displays. Which style you choose will depend on your target audience and the message you want to convey.

OOH ads can help to grow your brand reputation, increase awareness around a particular product or service, and encourage people to visit your store or online site. When used as part of a broader strategy, out-of-home ads can also help to drive traffic to your website.

How does an OOH marketing strategy improve online visibility?

The straightforward answer to this question is that OOH marketing improves online visibility by encouraging people to search for your website. This might seem obvious, but your ad’s success will really be dependent on how well your ad targets key consumer need states and emotional triggers.

Some of the best ways to improve online visibility through better OOH design and formatting include:

  • Including a call to action (CTA): A CTA encourages viewers to take a specific action, and can include phrases like ‘visit our site today’, ‘get started’, or ‘subscribe’. This is a simple but effective way to encourage searches.
  • Creating impactful visuals: Visual cues (think dramatic imagery, bold fonts and concise messaging) are designed to capture your audience’s attention and elicit an emotional or psychological response. Due to their bright display and high resolution quality, digital billboards are especially effective at creating visual cues.
  • Advertising promotions: Time-sensitive or site-specific promotions can help viewers to feel that they are getting a unique, personalised deal. This will encourage them to search for your site and make the most of your promotions.
  • Developing flexible campaigns: Digital OOH particularly offers a high level of flexibility when it comes to advertising promotions. Digital displays can be scheduled according to the time of day, day of the week, and can even change depending on the temperature, allowing you to get even more creative with your campaigns.

It may be surprising to learn that OOH ads are often able to drive online visibility to a greater extent than digital advertisements. This is because digital marketing ads don’t have a guaranteed audience: viewers are often distracted by web pages, or the ads are being hidden by ad blockers.

According to attention technology company Lumen, only 9% of desktop ads are viewed, a number increasing to 43% for online mobile ads and 100% for OOH.3 When people see your OOH billboard, they’re more likely to both remember and search for your brand.

Suggested reading: Want to learn more about how to increase the visibility of your OOH campaign? Read our blog, How to choose the best OOH locations for your ads, for more information.

It reaches people with a range of needs

‘The Point of Search’ study reveals that 58% of those who spend more time out of home will conduct searches across a broader range of categories than those at home.

Mobile searches driven by OOH ads also cover a wider range of need states. A need state is something that motivates a consumer to purchase — and it’s a vital part of how consumers interact with an ad or brand.

By reaching people with a range of needs, OOH ads are more likely to be seen by audiences who will benefit from a specific product or service.

IV 4019

It increases OOH and online brand awareness

Out-of-home advertising can be used to increase on and offline brand awareness, allowing your audience to become comfortable hearing and seeing your brand in their day-to-day lives.

And research now shows that the dynamic triggers that can drive online searches even more, depending on the location, time of day, and weather. If done carefully, OOH can help you to associate your brand with specific need states or triggers, so that people will think of your company each time they perform a specific action or need a specific product.

IV 4019

It encourages people to make purchases

OOH marketing doesn’t just drive people to your website — it also encourages them to purchase. ‘The Point of Search’ study reveals that mobile searches conducted in out-of-home locations are 38% more likely to lead to a purchase, a staggering increase considering the difficulties many companies face with overcoming basket abandonment and slow buyer journeys.

The more people learn about your brand via OOH ads, the more likely they are to search for your brand; the more people search for your brand, the more will make purchases. This snowball effect can then lead to increased ad budgets and, in turn, more people learning about your business — OOH campaigns are a great way to ensure your brand meets long-term success.

IV 4019

Creating a successful OOH campaign

Now that we’ve established how an OOH marketing strategy can improve online visibility and sales, let’s look at what can be done to ensure your outdoor ads are effective. Here are some of our top tips for creating a successful campaign:

Use emotional triggers

The best way to use out-of-home ads to drive online traffic is through emotional triggers. Which types of triggers you use will depend on the message you are trying to get across — but here’s a few suggestions:

  • Bold, short copy: this can help capture the viewer’s attention, and is estimated to drive search by 58%.
  • Humour: if you can make people laugh, they are more likely to remember your brand. Who can forget the iconic Snickers ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ billboard campaign?
  • A prominent product shot: OOH ads are all about catching people’s attention. Using a prominent product shot can help to highlight what your brand is all about, and what products are on offer. According to ‘The Point of Search’ study, a prominent product image can drive search by 54%.

Using emotional triggers is also a great way to develop your brand image. For example, if being fun and creative is part of your brand identity, you can demonstrate this by including humour triggers in your ads.

Pro tip: There are lots of different types of outdoor advertising, including digital and classic billboards that come in a range of sizes. Make sure your OOH campaign fits the needs of your audience — so if you’re a local advertiser targeting smaller markets, for example, try using smaller OOH ad formats that emphasise your brand’s approachability.

Consider your target audience

Keeping your target audience in mind through each step of designing, developing, and releasing your billboard can make a massive difference to your ad’s impact. Search typologies have been shown to mirror need states, meaning that your ad should be relevant to what your target audience wants or is doing. Consider the following examples:

  • 62% of food, drink and grocery shopping searches are ‘doing’ searches
  • 57% of finance related searches are ‘understanding’ searches
  • 34% of career searches relate to ‘self-discovery’ or ‘progressing’

This clearly demonstrates that an out-of-home ad design should be directly influenced by your target audience’s demographic, interests and pain points. For example, If you’re a food brand and your target audience is grocery shoppers, an OOH ad that encourages ‘doing searches’ will be more effective.

Think of billboards in locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco: they’re often placed over motorways or main roads into the centre, encouraging people who are headed towards the shopping district to try a new brand.

Utilise your environment

Your OOH ad’s placement and format will impact the number of searches for your website or product. To maximise your online visibility, try using your ad’s environment — whether that’s a busy road, city centre, or local town.

OOH mobile searches have a wide range of triggers, particularly with regard to location needs, people’s visual senses, and the activities people are doing. Try using bold, digital billboards to capture people’s attention, and make sure your creative imagery and words clearly convey your brand message.

Pro tip: Alight Media has more than 300 digital billboard screens across the country in a range of formats, sizes, and locations — helping businesses stand out from the crowd through impactful and memorable OOH ads.

Integrate smart design

A good OOH ad design should trigger emotion in its viewers. You can make your design work harder by featuring website links and prominent logos, so that your viewer knows exactly who you are — but encouraging emotion is the best way to make your billboard memorable.

Grow your brand awareness in 2023

The findings of ‘The Point of Search’ study have illustrated that out-of-home marketing strategies are a cost-effective way to drive online visibility and encourage searches. Unlike some other forms of advertising, which may struggle to get views and impressions, OOH has incredibly high visibility — and can ensure that your ad is seen by a wide audience.

Alight offers a wide range of billboard spaces in prime locations throughout the UK. We are committed to supporting businesses no matter their size, and support a number of local and national advertisers. We also offer a full design service, helping you to create a digital OOH ad campaign that supports your other marketing objectives.

Contact us today to learn more, and to speak to one of our advertising experts.

Unless otherwise stated, all statistics in this article are from ‘The Point of Search Study’ by Clear Channel, JC Decaux, Global, and Posterscope.4

1 IPA | Making Sense: The commercial media landscape 2022

2 JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Global and Posterscope launch collaborative research study 'The Point of Search'

3 Resources – Lumen

4 JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Global and Posterscope launch collaborative research study 'The Point of Search'