Category Archives: Expert Opinion

Using Billboards to Effectively Advertise Large Events

By now we are all used to outdoor advertising such as billboards, umbrellas, flags and banners, but a billboard remains one of the most effective ways to advertise a large event. They build awareness in a way that no other outdoor advertising media can manage and increases the chances of success of any large event. Say, for instance, that you are organising an exhibition or sports day, specifically targeted at the general public; one of the best, and most cost-effective ways to do this is to display a billboard in the same area as the event. Not only does the billboard announce the presence of the event, but it also appeals to the people in the area that will most likely be interested in attending this event.

Three additional reasons why you should use billboards to advertise large events:

  1. Cost-effective: Using traditional media can be costly. Large events usually target a specific group of people in a specific area. Using television, radio or print advertising can blow the marketing budget. Hiring a billboard in a prominent location for a limited period before and during the event will not only provide great value for money but will also get the message out there without the need for additional advertising campaigns. Of course, it is possible to combine traditional advertising media with billboard campaigns to make them more effective, but a billboard will usually be the most cost-effective solution.
  2. Large audience: If the billboard is located correctly it will be seen by a large audience and it will also be noticed by the right people. One strength of billboards is that they are large and hard to miss, and great design will draw the eye and impart information to the reader in a matter of seconds.
  3. High recall: Great design can vastly increase the recall rate. Therefore, it is very important to get a professional billboard company to do the design. They understand the dynamics of billboard design, and if the creative process is done correctly, the recall is especially high. Humorous or unusual billboards will often be discussed by people, and they will then carry over that recall to another audience member, which will boost your advertising power. It will also increase interest in the event when it is needed most.

The importance of audience data and Digital Out of Home

While the geographic footprint of our medium has always been well defined, clear audience quantifications for OOH typically has been a weakness. Ultimately, advertisers want to purchase audiences, so we have commissioned a first-for-Africa study to uncover where else our audience goes… and therefore the relevance of our network to our clients.

Huq is real-world consumer research database. By collecting anonymised location histories from an SDK (software development kit) in thousands of mobile apps, and marrying this insight with an advanced point of interest database (aka a really smart map that uses multiple sources), Huq makes it possible to measure consumers’ real world likes, wants and interests in a digital, quantifiable form.

In short, by taking-in the 10x millions everyday real-world actions of millions of consumers around the world, Huq enables OOH planners and advertisers to qualify purchase decisions based on their relationship with our specific OOH locations and where else they go.

Huq’s mobile panel stands out against other panels because of the quality of its data, and the unique insight that it gives us about audience’s relationships with the real world. It is a first party dataset (rather than third party, like ad exchange data for example) and it describes observed behaviours (rather than claimed behaviours, like an interview or diary panel would).

In South Africa, the Huq panel consists of over 250,000 unique users with a history of approximately 18 months collected via 1,138 different apps, and it is continually growing. For the Tractor DOOH network study, we observed 1,280 unique users who visited our network of locations. By mapping out our samples’ location histories and comparing against the Huq POI database, we are able to extract a wealth of insight about our screens’ audiences.

The below heat map shows the movements of each user that visited one of our digital screens over 18 months…

The first thing we wanted to understand was the average frequency of visits of our audience to our network. Huq’s database was able to demonstrate that our audience was visiting any combination of our network an average of 12 times per month (average monthly visits per user), with more than 90% staying on site for less than 5minutes. This very much corroborates what the forecourt managers were telling us, and is what one would expect from locations that exist as convenience shopping hubs. When we look at visits of day of week and time of day, we see that the peak hours are throughout the working day, with a small spike over lunch.

This is all great for understanding the viewing occasion of our audience, but where the Huq data gets really interesting is in its ability to describe our audiences relationships with other points of interests ie..where else do they go.

By analysing the specific locations (by brand or by category) that we were able to see our audience in, we can now show that 12.9%  of our audience (or 43,246 people) are also McDonald’s visitors and 19.8% (66,378 people) are café category visitors. We have access to hundreds of brands and category variable scores, so can build out and define audiences according our clients campaign targets. This is really exciting because we are now able to tie OOH exposures and investments to actual opportunities to buy.

Tractor Outdoor has built up a network of over 100 digital out of home screens across South Africa and have streamlined their content management systems making it possible for advertisers to have a single point of entry for what is arguably the biggest DOOH network in the country. By making use of HUQ’s audience metrics they are now able to develop a meaningful consumer journey which gives advertisers and clients a laser guided ability to target exactly who they wish to influence.

In addition this Tractor are also able to develop highly accurate cost per thousand (CPM) valuation metrics through the utilization of the Huq data, which enables buyers and planners to do like for like comparisons with other campaigns that they may be running online, and in many instances they have found that advertising on the Tractor DOOH Network is in fact a far more cost effective way of reaching an audience than many other online/digital campaigns.

Conrad Poulson, CEO of Huq Industries said “We are thrilled to be working with Tractor and IRL Consulting in South Africa and it’s great to put our global geo-intelligence datasets to use in new markets. The insight they’ve obtained is truly compelling, and offers a view of what the future holds for precision audience planning and campaign activation in Out-of-Home”.


Simon Wall is Managing Director of Tractor Outdoor (

Bruce Burgess is the Owner of IRL Consulting (


Top 5 out-of-home advertising trends

The static billboards of the past are increasingly being replaced by dynamic digital signs that update in real time and are activated by mobile devices or connected cars, pointing to how the integration of digital technology with out-of-home (OOH) advertising unlocks interesting opportunities for marketers.

Delta Airlines and Equinox Fitness showcased how digital is changing billboard advertising with a campaign this summer that used real-time flight data to encourage international travelers arriving at Los Angeles International Airport to “sweat away” their jet lag. Dynamic opportunities like this are helping drive channel growth, as OOH ad spend rose 1.2% last year compared to 2016, accounting for $7.7 billion, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). By 2021, a MAGNA Intelligence study predicts OOH spend will reach $33 billion.

Other changes are also evident as OOH advertising evolves. Trade organization Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, which has audited the circulation of OOH media in the U.S. since 1933, changed its name to Geopath in 2016 and is now embracing data, technology and media research to measure and analyze how consumers engage with OOH ads. In an interview with Marketing Dive, Geopath CEO Kym Frank discussed some of the changes taking place in the space and highlighted key trends impacting marketers.

Dynamic creative and custom triggers

While printed signs still dominate, digital OOH inventory is taking new shape and presenting advertisers with the potential to deliver more dynamic creative and custom triggers. Jukeboxes in bars, large format digital signs lining highways, digital bus shelters and signage in malls and restaurants across America are spurring marketers to experiment with the channel. In the past, such deployments were often considered experimental or a one-off test, but nowadays dynamic creative in OOH is becoming more scalable, Frank said.

For instance, advertisers can now change the creative based on the speed of traffic going past a digital billboard. If traffic is flowing at 60 miles an hour, drivers may only have time to read 10 words or so on a billboard. But if traffic is congested or at a standstill, drivers may be able to read up to 150 words. Messaging and creative can be instantly adjusted to match these conditions and better capture consumers’ attention.

“Digital is allowing advertisers to be more reactive and serve dynamic creative often based on custom triggers,” Frank said.

Integration of mobile into OOH

Advertisers can also dynamically trigger ads based on the types of mobile devices near the OOH channel, meaning an iPhone owner might see a different ad than an Android user. Advertisers are also geofencing their digital billboards so after drivers who have seen the ad leave the area, they can be retargeted with a personalized ad on their mobile device. For example, if searches for flu medication are peaking in the area, a billboard ad for a pharmacy might adjust the creative to promote certain products at the pharmacy and then the retailer can send passersby an offer.


With the changing technology behind billboard advertising options, potential advertisers have a tough choice ahead of them. Does it make more sense to invest in a prime spot on an LED digital billboard, or purchase a traditional static display? Are all the bells and whistles necessary to increase your customer base, or is the basic idea behind a billboard enough for a company to see a return on their investment?

The truth is, both types of billboards have great merits. It depends on the prospective clients of the company, the placement of the board and the budget for advertising. With these factors, a traditional static billboard may prove more effective, or vice versa.


Digital billboards open up a world of options for changing screens, special effects, stopwatches and other features. The options for these extra frills are pretty limited on a traditional billboard. Companies attempting to capture their target audience should definitely consider this. For example, a younger demographic will have a shorter attention span for advertising, as studies on commercials and ads have revealed.

The 8 second slots on a 64 second loop that digital billboards have may be the perfect way to keep the message short and sweet. It will catch the eye without giving the viewer the chance to be dismissed.

However, older travelers are used to looking at billboards as a way to break up the monotony of the road. You’re more likely to snag the attention of an older demographic, plus they will have a chance to see the billboard clearly as they approach it before the screen changes. Depending on the age of your prospective client, this may be an important factor in the decision process!

Digital Billboard Outdoor Media


Just as prospective customers are important to consider when examining advertising options, placement is key. While it may seem like a great idea to invest in a fast- moving digital billboard with all the bells and whistles, take a moment to decide on whether the location will work best for this approach.

The prime spot for a billboard to be located in? Where there’s a captive audience.

High traffic areas, where bumper to bumper traffic or frequent stop lights creates captive audiences, as do long stretches of road through the country with little else to look at.

Consider both locations. A frustrated individual caught in bumper to bumper traffic might find irritation receding with visual interest and something else to focus on. An LED digital billboard can offer this. However, an advertisement that stays static as a driver approaches may be appropriate for a highway billboard. After all, a restaurant or retail location off a nondescript exit doesn’t want a driver to miss seeing their ad when the screen changes!

Using Digital Billboards


For obvious reasons, LED and digital advertising with its various effects might cost more than a traditional billboard. Although placement and style will also affect the cost, it’s important for a company to ensure the addition of this expense makes sense for the company.

If the company draws in more clients through strategically placed advertisements, investing in the best of the best in this segment makes sense.

However, if word of mouth and repeat clientele brings in more income for your business, a traditional approach may make more sense!


The truth is, both styles of advertisement have valuable merits for a company to consider. Slight nuances in company marketing goals reveal which style will make more sense on an individual basis. Bottom line, strategic advertisement will improve your bottom line no matter which style you wind up selecting!

Shifting global media spend patterns

It is not news that print is in decline globally. According to Bloomberg, In the US in 2018 newspaper spend is set to decline by 18,7% and magazines by 14.5%. Magna tells us that in the US “TV ad sales are expected to drop if cyclical events like Fifa’s World Cup and elections are not factored in.” We also know about the growth of digital, which according to Statista will grow by 12.6% in 2018, which interestingly has come down from 2017’s 15% growth and 2016’s 17.1% growth.

The big recipients of this income from digital growth are predominantly the FAANG’s (an acronym for the market’s five most popular and best-performing tech stocks, namely Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) and other such social media and paid search entities. What is interesting is that these Silicon Valley titans push online ads, but then choose to spend this income on Out of Home Advertising.
Largest media market spending on OOH

In 2017 in the US (the largest media market on the planet), Apple, Google, Amazon, and Netflix made the top 10 spenders and users of OOH. This is driving growth in one of the oldest forms of marketing and is one reason why the category is the only traditional channel expected to grow this year.

The conviction that these tech companies have in OOH is so strong that Netflix concluded the purchase of billboards owned by OOH company Regency in West Hollywood in the second quarter of this year. The idea behind the purchase was to lock up prime advertising space for their own use.

This phenomenon is not particular to the US alone. Asia’s tech monolith, Alibaba has as recently as July ‘18 purchased a minority stake in Chinese OOH Company, Focus Media, for a notable price of USD$1.43bn.

OOH drives more online activity

Possibly this is the case because according to Nielsen, OOH drives more online activity per ad dollar spent than any other traditional media. OOH is 382% more effective than TV, 200% more effective than print, and 63% more effective than radio in driving consumers online.

” Things that people can physically see and touch are much more believable.”

Said Chris Garbutt, global chief creative officer for ad agency TBWA, which works with top tech companies including Apple and Intel. “It makes sense for these tech companies to use outdoor advertising.”

This renewed belief in Out of Home, presented by the smartest minds of Silicon Valley, known to be pundits of big data and ROI prove to show the medium as more relevant and more important than ever before. OOH is therefore seen as more of a “core” media buy than it was previously.

Posterscope OOH conversations

On Wednesday, 25 July, Posterscope South Africa hosted their annual out-of-home (OOH) media conference at the Exclusive Books Social Kitchen and Bar in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Welcoming attendees to the conference which attracted industry’s top media owners, Koo Govender, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Africa, set the scene for attendees giving them a summary of what could be expected and elaborated on the exceptional growth within Dentsu Aegis Network SA from 2017 to present and illustrated how Posterscope fits into the Dentsu Aegis Operating Model.

Govender then handed over to Donald Mokgale, the Head of Posterscope who then presented the OOH trends across sub-Saharan Africa that have been gaining traction. The rise of large formats, bigger sizes being demanded by clients for greater impact and measurement increasingly being demanded by clients to quantify ROI were just a few of the trends discussed.

Baseline Innovation, 3D prints and illuminated dye cuts are increasingly becoming the norm across SSA. An example of Africa’s first frozen billboard in Mozambique was displayed by Mokgale.

“Consumers are also starting to see more commuter focused inventory as well as spend by clients, a big opportunity for containers to be turned into vendor businesses to legitimise street vendors by selling from them,” stated Mokgale.

The launch of Daar es Salaam rapid transit (DART) in Tanzania was explored as well as opportunity for Wi-Fi solutions to drive more consumer engagement, and a large opportunity with Matatus in Kenya who are already integrating Wi-Fi and entertainment by mixing music with radio generics which form part of the package with digital logs.

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) growth has proven its effect with Nigeria growing in quantity and size with up to 40% DOOH penetration. A big opportunity expressed by Mokgale was gas station LEDs which are gaining enormous traction in countries such as Ghana. New innovative screens at Kenya’s airport baggage claim used self-facing camera’s which monitored eyeballs to the screens as well as how consumers engage on their mobile devices while waiting for their baggage, enables for measurement/tracking and a huge opportunity to integrate mobile advertising to drive awareness and even interaction like services such as transport from the airport as an example.

Donald Mokgale closed his section of the conference with the importance of Location Intelligence and stressed how location intelligence is becoming increasingly important to businesses, i.e. understanding all the points of interest, retail spread as well as household income within the radii of sites influencing OOH placements significantly. Overlaying the above-mentioned datasets enabling a more critical and efficient view of business opportunities.

Livia Brown, the head of the Western Cape Posterscope team, presented the proprietary tools that Posterscope utilises, to plan media and how integral data is in that mix.

An example from an alcohol brand was used for Livia to showcase some of the Posterscope tools as well as the importance of location intelligence. In it, she showed the planning process and what Posterscope calls a location data stack, where they overlaid social conversations about the category, then stacked on points of interest data i.e. where the product was available and then geofenced where the two data sets intersected and skewed OOH distribution as well as mobile placement which led to very compelling results for the client.

Posterscope uses social listening data from relative social media sites. A “shot” category was created to identify hotspots and to create a desired target audience. They overlaid the venues that the client wanted them to focus on with social listening to identify key focus area. Traditional OOH billboards and Facebook ad serve were then placed in the identified hotspot area for direct targeting and maximum ROI.

The conference concluded with Brown showcasing a live example of Posterscope’s tools using a brief, giving those in attendance a practical example of their offering… She illustrated how a brief is tackled using the tools and the methods available to Posterscope by presenting case studies… in them, she showed how it is the consumer and location data that answers the where question first, before any OOH media is selected, that all the work is done prior to establish where the investment should be happening in the first place by overlaying various datasets and interpreting them to direct media investment in each location.

The major takeout from the conference was that Posterscope is utilising their location data tools to show their data driven approach to planning. Brown, explained how Posterscope uses various layers of data to identify where they need to place campaign messaging to get the best out of clients marketing investment reducing wastage.

The main point of the conference was to reposition Posterscope with their location data tools to show that their approach to planning is data-driven.

Comments from attendees:

“I just wanted to express my thanks for a great OOH presentation last week Wednesday. I really enjoyed it and it was super to hear more from an agency perspective, and equally importantly on how we as media owners need to innovate to move forward to remain relevant in a landscape that is tricky to navigate,” Tess Chance, Mood Media Network.

“It was great to see how OOH has become arguably one of the most innovative media platforms in recent years, integrating data with location, demographics and consumer mindsets and intent.

The conversation has shifted, as OOH is now measurable through the OMC’s ROAD data, and this, coupled with location-based strategies, are providing marketers with powerful insights and compelling reason to include OOH in their media strategies.

Posterscope also overlays other tools such as Social media data, in order to capture the precise area that conversations are happening in, allowing OOH to be hyper-targeted and even more relevant than ever before,” Darren McKinon, JCDecaux.

What’s up in the world of Digital OOH in SA?

Craig Wallis, Business Unit Manager at The MediaShop offers a snapshot

The South African OOH (out of home) industry never ceases to amaze me with the incredible growth of media types, and its concomitant innovation. There are so many young, and passionate entrepreneurs out there that it bodes well for our country.

Possibly the most noticeable “new” media type is that of digital out of home (DOOH). If truth be told, dealing with all the various media owners that offer DOOH media can be rather daunting for a buyer like me. The reason for this is that the media owners have “skinned the cat” a hundred different ways when it comes to their media offering to prospective advertisers.

In order to get some semblance of understanding of all of these DOOH offerings, I decided to consolidate as many of the media owner’s offerings in order for me to have more of a global view of what’s digital in SA’s OOH industry.

What did I find?

Well, digital screens can be found in many different environments, so I took the liberty of classifying them all into four broad categories:

  1. Place Based Screens – Transit (airports, commuter nodes, taxis, buses, cars, Gautrain and forecourts)
  2. Place Based Screens – Non-Transit (salons, pharmacies, retail stores, clinics, medical rooms, pubs, restaurants and golf clubs)
  3. Roadside Digital Billboards (freeway and main arterial roads)
  4. Malls (screens, video walls and way finders / directory units)

N.B. I have not included sports stadia digital screens in the above.

There are around 50 media owners with Digital OOH platforms and almost 7 000 screens in their inventory. These screens vary in size from massive large format digital billboards to much smaller ones like iPads in Uber cabs. (I wonder what the total capital investment would be for all of these 7 000 screens?!?!)

I also calculated the total media value of all DOOH inventory at Rate Card rate and it came to just under R1.2 billion.

Factoring in varied discount rates, as well as likely annual occupancy levels for each of the above four categories, I calculated that the annual billings of the DOOH industry could be around R500 million. I must add that I feel that this figure is the very top end of possible DOOH spend.

What else did my “magic” Excel spread sheet reveal?

  • Roadside digital screens total around 160 screens which accounted for under 3% of all screens in SA, yet Roadside generates almost 40% of all DOOH media revenue. The reason for this massive variation is due to the fact that these small number of very large screens reach a massively large audience. This means that the media rental that a roadside digital screen can generate is astronomical when compared to that of a screen in a doctor’s waiting room or in a hair salon.
  • Place Based Transit screens comprised roughly 50% of the screens in SA, and they generate around 36% of total media rentals.
  • Place Based Non-Transit screens total about 38% of all screens in SA, and surprisingly generate less than 10% of all media rentals. This is possibly due to the relatively small audience reached per screen (think one screen in a doctor’s waiting room versus one massive screen in a taxi rank).
  • Mall screens on the other hand, comprise 10% of screens in SA, and generate around 16% of the media rentals. This is possibly due to paying a premium to reach top end shoppers at point of purchase.

A further thought came to mind whilst looking at my data and it was that it is fairly easy to compare a digital billboard with a similar static billboard. I wondered what the total media rental would be if I treated the current Roadside digital boards that I have on record as static billboards.

The current Roadside digital sites generate annual media rentals of R200 million (using my calculations, and assumptions as detailed above), however costing them as static billboards, they would only yield about R50 million in media rentals. Interestingly, it looks like converting a billboard from static to digital could increase revenues by at least 400%. Obviously, a large chunk of this revenue needs to fund the massive capital outlay for large format digital screens.

Given that advertisers pay a massive premium to be on digital screens, and the fact that they share it with other advertisers (around six other advertisers per screen) means that DOOH is way more expensive than static billboards. If an advertiser’s creative is not maximising the benefits that DOOH offers, then they could be wasting quite a lot of media spend.

Sadly, I still see many examples of creative that fail to utilise these benefits. Having said that, there are hundreds of examples of poor creative being gleefully posted on static billboards as well, but that in itself is a story for another day…

DOOH is going to keep on growing in SA as it has the world over, so brace yourself as you will find more and more environments becoming “digitised” allowing advertisers to target niche/sought after audiences.

Activations – Beyond the hashtag

In a world saturated with technology, staying close to your consumers is of paramount importance – especially if you want to cut through the clutter, be noticed and be exciting enough for consumers to want to engage and act.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But if used incorrectly it can damage a brand’s reputation. Campaigns that make use of technology still need the human element, especially campaigns that are tech-heavy. As shiny and exciting as a new tech driven experience is, consumers need to be driven to act and to immerse themselves in the brand world in order to become advocates of a brand. This is where face to face human interaction plays a key role.

As much as consumers enjoy engaging via social media and OOH digital platforms, the human element is vital to successful brand influence. From brand awareness, affiliation and action it all relies on the human factor. This is where activations come into the fray and provide the core impetus to a campaign.

Going forward into the foreseeable future, the hashtag isn’t going to be enough. We need to push for better, further reaching strategies that extend the life of campaigns beyond the hashtag and beyond tech and we need to do this by getting close and getting personal.

The Future

Great experiential marketing strategies will use digital OOH and social media to close distances between brands and consumers. Activations that are human centric need to be highly customizable so that engagement is personalized in order to create authentic relationships between brand and customer. Marketers and brand managers particularly need to constantly ask themselves: does it make sense to put X % of budget into digital or TV or should this rather be allocated to creating experiences?

It’s a new customer journey where the customer is always king – he wants to be treated as such from a brand or risk losing him to a competitor. Consumers expect brands to know them and provide the experiences they want. It goes without saying that consumers who have a great experience with a brand will spend more than a consumer who has had a bad experience.

In a transaction-based business, customer experience drives sales. And, it’s cheaper to have happy customers and brand followers than unhappy ones. In fact, after controlling for other factors that drive repeat purchases (for example, how often the customer needs the type of goods and services), customers who had the best past experiences spent 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.[i]

Activations augment hashtag marketing

Activations augment hashtag marketing and vice versa. Social media as part of an activations campaign can extend the reach of experiences, events and marketing stunts. It serves to broaden the audience and keep them up to date with what a brand is doing. It also creates a FOMO effect, which for brands is a coveted consumer state of mind as it drives sales and affiliation.

The bottom line is this: as more consumers interact with each other and with brands via social media, the more consumers hanker for new tech-driven brand experiences, the more we need to stay human centric.


Advantages of Outdoor Advertising over Social Media

If you are a digital marketer who hasn’t considered offline ads in recent memory, you need to give outdoor another look. Enough has changed in the past two years to make it a valid alternative to the crowded social media ad landscape.

Matt O’Connor founder and CEO of AdQuick, a platform that enables brands to buy outdoor advertising gives his views.

Here are the ways in which outdoor has advantages over social media:

  • It’s in the real world, so it’s not prone to click fraud—at least until someone invents bots that drive past billboards or take the bus and subway.
  • It’s super-high-frequency, with significant exposure and traffic. No other medium reaches consumers with the frequency of outdoor advertising. We all know that one billboard or subway ad that greeted you on your commute for months.
  • It reaches more than 90 percent of the population. Not everyone is online—and in particular online at the social media sites you’ve selected for your campaign—but within a community, chances are that almost everyone will see a local billboard or other outdoor campaign in the course of their daily activity.
  • It’s easily shareable on social media, because it’s so visual.
  • Geographic targeting is unmatched: You can select media right down to the longitude and latitude of the community you want.
  • It drives an outsized share of online searches. Out-of-home advertising is the most effective offline medium in driving online activity, according to Nielsen.

How do you make outdoor measurable? There are a variety of ways. Options include:

  • Campaign integration with Google Analytics to measure lift in site traffic by area. This technique has been proven to increase site traffic by more than 40 percent versus controls.
  • Integration with Google AdWords to measure cost per click and click-through rates by area, in order to quantify performance efficiencies in online advertising. As outdoor advertising drives up a company’s awareness, its online ads perform more efficiently.
  • Social media image recognition, an algorithm to scrape social media images to quantify the number of additional impressions using campaign images or tags. We at AdQuick did this for a campaign for Drake’s OVO fashion brand and found $6,000 worth of Instagram shares in one week from one New York billboard.
  • Shortcodes, which are beneficial for transit and pedestrian-focused campaigns. They give any campaign a call to action and make it more engaging, and results are easily measured simply by tracking shortcode usage.
  • Geo-fenced mobile ads to measure engagement rate by area. This technique involves creating and serving ads on smartphones that mirror the message on outdoor advertising. This gives advertisers another way to measure engagement and provides consumers with a way to learn more about a brand’s offering and quantify the boost OOH drives in other channels. This technique can lead to engagement rates that are 30 percent to 50 percent higher in areas with outdoor ads versus controls.
  • Geographic surveys (based on ZIP code), tracking brand awareness and channel attribution in the areas surrounding the outdoor advertising locations.
  • Movement tracking, to quantify the increase in foot traffic an outdoor ad drives to a brick-and-mortar location.

The Critical Role of Out-of-Home in the Marketing Mix.

With almost two-thirds of all consumer purchases made within half an hour of being exposed to Out-of-Home advertising, it’s time to revisit the critical role the medium plays in the broader marketing mix. Roadside Outdoor Audience Data (ROAD) now provides rich data on the consumption and impact of billboards, and integrated with other media stats allows brands to further craft effective, integrated campaigns. OOH should play a key role in this space, argues Howard Lonstein, Marketing Manager for Outdoor Network. 

When it’s possible to map the customer journey in intimate detail (turning on the TV over breakfast, passing billboards driving to work, surfing the web during the lunch hour, paging through a magazine at the dentist, listening to the radio on the way to gym), thanks to social listening tools and other data sources, it’s clear that marketing is entering a new era. Knowing where consumers go, what they pay attention to, what they need and where they shop gives us unique insight into how to reach them, and how we can customise messages to engage them in the most relevant way as they go about their day-to-day business. This makes media placement easier – and it also changes our approach to OOH enormously.

Harvard Business Review says the days of treating advertising touch points as if each works in isolation is long past and marketers should ask themselves which combinations of ad exposures work best to influence customers. Think static OOH doesn’t speak to smartphone-clutching millennials? A recent study of 1 837 smartphone users by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America found that OOH media is especially effective at reaching consumers before they search or shop online, while geo-fencing can work seamlessly with out-of-home formats to target consumers in a particular area. The context within which a consumer is exposed to brand communication becomes even more important as the clutter increases. The right message, at the right time, directed at the right consumer results in greater impact and ultimately in action being taken. Marketing Week has predicted that incorporating cellphone connectivity with OOH will become the norm, not a ‘special’ part of a campaign, and it’s hard to disagree. Remember that a customer can be ‘switched on’ at any time during the consumer journey – even stepping out from work to grab a sandwich.

It would be perverse to ignore the role OOH and impact can play in a campaign. It is commonly accepted now that OOH provides great frequency, which is a key driver in priming awareness for campaigns. This is particularly true in terms of digital platforms which reduce the CTP for the overall campaign, providing greater value for advertisers and brands. It is imperative that brands are exposed to these facts and the benefits that are derived when OOH is part of a broad campaign. It is worth noting that the OOH industry in the US recently reported its seventh consecutive year of revenue growth, with a more than 15% increase in 2016 from the previous year, according to The Outdoor Media Association – this reflects a global trend.  


Apple expanded its ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ print ad campaign by displaying 162 photos taken by iPhone 6 users (not professional photographers) on giant billboards in 73 cities across 25 countries, along with a 30-second TV ad and videos. Having photos blown up to billboard size gave a good idea of the power of the product without having to spell it out (less is always more on billboards), plus the scale was an ideal showcase for an ‘art gallery’ of images. OOH amplified Apple’s message and achieved enormous reach – the billboards received 6.5 billion media impressions and 255 million online impressions.

Coca-Cola has always loved multichannel marketing. The 23 000-pound ‘drinkable billboard’ it rolled out shot soda through a straw into a drinking fountain, complementing interactive TV commercials and downloadable coupons available from mall kiosks – in this way, it created a brand experience on a large scale, gaining traction via OOH, experiential, digital, social and broadcast channels. It was also vital in terms of increasing social media engagement.

Big brands know the value of high-impact, in-your-face media, but even smaller brands know that OOH delivers. A recent Posterscope US study showed that you can increase reach by as much as 303% if you add billboards to a mobile app and web campaign. Adding OOH to internet ads increases retention by two days, according to research conducted by Brand Science. A billboard can drive online research about a product and lead to online purchases, for example. In South Africa, radio and TV are hugely popular, but younger generations demand a brand experience that talks to them across different channels (and less traditional channels) – something that media planners need to take into account. The Brand Science study shows that ad retention of media one week after seeing an ad is 55% for OOH as against 49% for print and 35% for radio – and 58% of people report consciously looking at OOH ads, which is a higher rate of engagement than other forms of advertising can provide.

Seamlessly integrating OOH into your campaign can help to drive campaign objectives. OOH is a crucial touchpoint because it is so good at engaging with consumers in a way that builds relationships with brands; in fact, when used alongside above-the-line advertising, OOH has been found to play a crucial role in long-term brand-building. By leverage OOH in your campaign, you can reach more people more often, target the consumers most likely to be interested in your brand, drive consumer action, and optimise reach and frequency at a relatively low cost. All this points to a high return on investment, which is a prime consideration in today’s tough market.