At least 68% of consumers make purchasing decisions while in a car. So how can you capitalize on that? Get into outdoor advertising with the most eye-catching designs so that your ads stand out from the rest. Here’s how you can do that easily.
What Is Outdoor Advertising?
Outdoor advertising, also called out-of-home (OOH) advertising, involves promoting products or services in public places such as sidewalks, bus benches, or billboards. A business can use outdoor advertising to reach people who are out and about, and it can be a cost-effective way to reach a large audience. You can use it to target a specific demographic, which is a convenient way to reach many people.
Why Use Outdoor Advertising?
Outdoor advertising has several benefits over traditional digital ads:
- A cost-effective way to reach your target audience.
- It is seen by many people, increasing your brand’s visibility.
- Increases the effectiveness of your advertising by targeting specific locations.
- Promotes special events or sales.
- Create a personalized message for your target audience.
- A flexible marketing tool can be used to achieve various marketing goals.
- Builds brand awareness and creates an association with your product or service.
- Reach a local, regional, or national audience.
- Complements other marketing efforts.
Outdoor advertising ROI
Outdoor advertising has an average return on investment (ROI) of about 497% (if you spend $100, you get $497 back), making it a popular choice for advertisers. Traditional outdoor advertisement formats are commonly the cornerstone of OOH campaigns and are familiar sights throughout roadways and cities. Research has also shown that outdoor advertising can significantly enhance the effectiveness of search-driven ad campaigns, especially when it comes to ROI. Specific ways to measure OOH campaign ROI include tracking product sales, website visits, and brand awareness.
Outdoor advertising statistics
There are a lot of vanity stats, but here are the outdoor statistics that can help you improve your ROI:
- On average, consumers travel 25+ hours and over 159 miles on the road a week.
- 81% of travelers notice a static billboard or digital billboard, with 71% of people consciously looking at billboards when driving. Over 50% of people have been highly engaged by a billboard they’ve seen in the last month.
- Global outdoor advertising spending is estimated at 39.4 billion USD, making up 5.17% of global ad spending.
- Outdoor advertising is expected to experience a decline in ad spending by a minimum of 10% while costing 80% less than other forms of advertising.
- 66% of consumers have used their smartphones in response to seeing an out-of-home ad, and nearly 26% of customers have visited a website in response to outdoor advertisements.
- Outdoor ads can also lead to a 38% increase in mobile interaction between brands and their customers.
Outdoor advertising trends
Outdoor advertising trends for 2023 include an increase in digital outdoor advertising, brands embracing the power of storytelling, growth in advertising opportunities, the need for storytelling, digitization of billboards, interaction with smartphones, artificial intelligence in OOH ads, smart and location-based ads, creativity-driven ads, multi-channel focused ads and cost-effective ads.
In the past five years, outdoor advertising has seen an 11 percent annual growth rate (CAGR). Digital outdoor advertising is expected to contribute to almost 30% of OOH revenues worldwide.
In 2022, outdoor advertising made a comeback with trends such as storytelling in advertisements, digitization of billboards, interaction with smartphones, artificial intelligence in ads, mobile integration in outdoor advertising, and more cost-effective ads. Digital billboards are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to be updated easily and displayed at specific times. Additionally, multi-channel integration is becoming more important as brands look for ways to reach their customers through multiple mediums.
How To Design Outdoor Advertisements?
Over the years of helping companies optimize their outdoor advertising, primarily on billboards, we noticed a trend. Most marketing experts will spend thousands upon thousands tweaking the location and seasonality of their ads, but they overlook the fundamentals—getting a professional design.
If you’re a designer, your time will be well-spent optimizing the design. But most marketers are not designers and will be better off outsourcing outdoor advertisements to a professional designer. A cost-efficient method that works very well for small businesses but is also gaining popularity among companies is hiring unlimited graphic design services.
These are 2 to 3 times cheaper than hiring an in-house designer while delivering equal quality designs and removing the hassle of hiring. We saw many companies achieve great success with this approach by also outsourcing other aspects of their business, including logo and branding, UI/UX design, and blog design.
In our experience, the best solution is Awesomic. Low-budget start-ups should use the Light plan ($699), which gives you all the basics. Those who need more advanced designs or require more design time should get the Pro ($1,995) or the 1 to 1 plan, which you can also stack.
Cheaper than an in-house design — in-house designers cost at least 2 to 3 times more.
Free trial — get a 7-day trial for $7 to test the designers.
Types of Outdoor Advertising
1. Billboard Advertising
The most popular and effective form of outdoor advertising is billboard advertising, which promotes a product, service, or event using large, printed signs.
It is common for billboards to be placed along busy roads and highways where motorists and passengers can easily see them. Despite their size and visibility, billboards are an effective form of advertisement. When appropriately used, they can generate a lot of interest and attention for a product, service, or event.
When it comes to billboard advertising, it’s all about making your message stand out. To do this, keep your message clear and concise, use eye-catching images that people can easily understand, and strategically place your billboard in high-traffic areas where your target audience is likely to see it.
But it’s not just about the message, the physical appearance of the billboard is also important. Make sure it’s big enough for people to read from a distance, use bright and attention-grabbing colors, and choose font and text layouts that are visually appealing. And don’t forget to make it engaging by adding an enticing offer or a call to action. But remember, no matter how great your billboard is, it’s important to test different messages and images to see what resonates with your audience and make adjustments as needed.
There are 15 types of billboards, but with a more granular classification, we can divide them into three main groups:
- Static. Despite many advertisers moving away from static billboards to digital and mobile options, there are still some advantages to this older form of advertising. A static billboard is typically cheaper to build and maintain than a digital one, and it also has a captive audience—drivers stuck in traffic with nothing else to do but look at the billboards. Last but not least, billboards are often harder to ignore than other forms of advertising, so they are more likely to be seen and remembered.
- Mobile. A mobile billboard is a form of outdoor advertising that places billboards on a trailer or truck and drives it around busy areas. This type of advertising is a great way to reach a broad audience with a message or product in active regions like downtown streets or highways.
- Digital. Digital billboards are computer-controlled electronic displays that show high-resolution images and videos. Digital billboards can display static or animated advertising content and can be rented on a short- or long-term basis by businesses. Although they are a part of out-of-home advertising, they are where digital marketing and outdoor advertising intersect.
2. Augmented Reality Billboards
Outdoor advertising is constantly evolving; one of the latest trends is using augmented reality billboards. This technology allows for a truly interactive experience for viewers. By using a smartphone or other device, people can see and interact with 3D images that are superimposed on the real world around them. It’s not just about providing a cool and unique experience, it’s also a creative way to engage with customers.
For example, users can play interactive games or quizzes in public spaces or even view a 3D image of a product and make a purchase through their smartphones. It’s definitely a game-changer in the world of outdoor advertising.
3. Lamp Posts
A lamp post advertisement involves attaching a banner or poster to a lamp post, usually using specialized attachments. A lamp post banner or sign is usually about 2 meters wide and 3 meters tall, although this can vary depending on the lamp post’s size.
Lamp post advertising is particularly effective in busy areas with high foot traffic, such as shopping districts, business districts, and residential areas where people walk to and from work or run errands. You should place the banners or posters at eye level to make them easily seen.
Advertisements can be installed on bridges by hanging banners or signs or using the bridge as a canvas to paint a mural or other ad. Bridge advertising is a form of outdoor advertising that utilizes a city’s infrastructure.
An advertising campaign on a bridge is an excellent way to get visibility in a large city since bridges are often near major thoroughfares or busy areas. For example, if a company is looking to reach commuters in a city through bridge advertising, advertising on a bridge that spans a busy highway would be a wise choice.
Advertisements on bridges can also be used to support local teams and events, such as banners and signs promoting a significant sporting event in a city.
4. Guerilla Advertising
Businesses must find new and innovative ways to reach their target audience as marketing trends shift from traditional television and radio ads to digital and interactive advertising. Despite its apparent advantages, guerrilla advertising is an often overlooked form of marketing.
In general, guerrilla advertising is any marketing campaign conducted unconventionally, often involving unusual tactics or surprising the audience. To create an experience that the viewer will remember long after seeing the ad, we aim to create a memorable and impactful one.
You can learn more about guerilla marketing from this 5-minute video with examples:
Guerrilla advertising campaigns can be executed in a variety of ways, but some common strategies are:
- Ambush marketing: Companies use this technique to get their message out by hijacking another company’s event or sponsorship opportunity. In hopes of being seen on TV during the Super Bowl, a company might give out branded t-shirts or hats to people lining up outside the stadium.
- Street teams: This is when people gather to promote a product or brand, either by handing out free samples, flyers, or other promotional items.
- Flash mobs: A flash mob occurs when a group of people suddenly appear in a public place and perform an elaborate dance or other types of performance to promote a new product or service.
- Guerilla projection: It is a method of displaying video or images on public surfaces without the owner’s permission. This is commonly used in high-traffic areas to reach a large audience.
- Building wraps: A banner or other promotional material is placed on the exterior of a building to generate buzz about a new product or service.
- Vehicle wraps: Wrapping a vehicle in a promotional message is a great way to generate brand awareness and reach a large audience through mobile advertising.
- Street art: The practice of leaving branded messages or images in public spaces can take many forms, such as graffiti, wheat pasting, and street chalk art.
- Public relations stunts: A company will do something outrageous to gain media attention, such as setting a world record, hiring a celebrity spokesperson, or creating a controversial advertisement.
5. Point-of-Sale Displays
A point-of-sale display is marketing material placed near the register or point of purchase in a store. The purpose of a point-of-sale display is to catch customers’ attention and persuade them to purchase a product. In addition to being available in cardboard, plastic, and metal, point-of-sale displays can also be temporary or permanent.
There are 10 types of point-of-sale displays
- Signs and posters: These are the simplest and most budget-friendly POS displays. They can advertise specific products, promote sales or discounts, or brand your store. You can place signs or posters on walls, shelves, or anywhere near the point of sale.
- Shelf displays: These are standard in grocery stores and other retail establishments. They can be used to promote products, increase brand awareness, or drive sales. Various materials are available for shelf displays, including paper, cardboard, wood, or metal.
- Coupons: POS displays that feature coupons can be a great way to boost sales, especially for slower-moving items. Coupons can be placed on POS displays or given to customers in person.
- Interactive displays: Engage customers and excite them about your products with interactive POS displays. These can range from simple games and contests to elaborate virtual reality experiences.
- Floor displays: These are ideal for promoting special offers, new products, or seasonal items. You can customize the shows with your company name, slogan, and contact information.
- Countertop displays: These are smaller than floor displays but just as effective. They can be placed near the register or in high-traffic areas to promote impulse purchases. The materials used to make countertop displays are cardboard, wood, acrylic, and metal.
- Window displays: Use window displays as POS displays to promote your brand, products, or sales. Window displays can be static or interactive and are usually displayed in storefront windows, but they can also be displayed in other high-traffic areas.
- Hanging displays: These can be hung from a ceiling, wall, or rack. Hanging displays are typically made of cardboard, paper, or plastic.
- Trade show displays: These are used to promote businesses or products at trade shows. They can vary in size and style but usually incorporate graphic design to emphasize the company or product. They also typically include a space for attendees to leave their contact information.
- Sampling stations: This is a physical location where potential customers can interact with a product or service before they buy it. This could be a food or beverage tasting, a product demonstration, or a short service trial. Sampling stations provide a great way to connect with potential customers and secure customer feedback.
6. Transit Advertising
Transit advertising is a form of advertising that is placed in or on modes of public transportation or in public transportation areas. It can be used to strategically target a brand’s message and reach a large audience daily. Transit advertising can come in many forms, such as print advertisements, digital displays, and audio ads. It is also cost-effective, as businesses can rent transit media to garner large impressions at a low cost.
The cost of transit advertising varies depending on the type of ad, the number of buses used, and the location. Bus wraps, which cover the entire exterior of a bus, can cost up to $6,000 or more. Interior ads typically range from $25 to $125, while exterior ads can range from $100 to $6,000 and up. Bus shelter ads are also an option and can be seen by pedestrians and drivers alike. In Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, bus ads rates start at around $10,000. The average cost for a full bus wrap is approximately $4,500.
7. Retail Advertising
Retail advertising is a type of outdoor advertising that promotes special sales or events at a retail store. It can be found on signs or billboards near the store window. Newspaper, television, and radio advertisements are examples of retail advertising.
In retail advertising, stores promote special sales or events, such as holidays or clearance sales, to encourage customers to shop there and increase interest in their products or services. Retail advertising is often used to announce brand-new products or services and promote upcoming events.
In retail, ads are usually short-term and designed to create a sense of urgency. They are often placed close to the store so customers will see them as soon as they pass. Combining this type of advertising with other marketing efforts, such as in-store displays or promotions, is the most effective way to market your business.
8. Street Furniture
Street furniture advertising is a form of out-of-home (OOH) advertising that is placed on street furniture in close proximity to pedestrians for stand-out, eye-level viewing. It includes ads at bus shelters, transit stations, newsstands, benches, and kiosks, as well as a shopping mall and convenience store panels. Street furniture advertising is a low-cost form of outdoor media designed to reach audiences within the local communities. It provides a unique media opportunity to reach your audience as they walk through their neighborhoods.
Street furniture ads are positioned at eye level for easy viewing and to provide a high-impact connection with pedestrians and commuters alike. Street furniture advertising can be used to target and reach key audiences in cities with high volumes of vehicular traffic.
9. Aerial advertisement
The two most common types of aerial advertising are skywriting and banner towing, which uses lighter-than-air aircraft to create a spectacle in the sky. Aerial advertising is made up of two types: skywriting and banner towing. A skywriting message is written in the sky by an aircraft using smoke-emitting devices. During World War I, this advertising method was widely used to boost morale during the early 1900s.
Banner towing, the practice of pulling a banner behind an aircraft while in flight, is a form of aerial advertising commonly used to promote concerts and festivals. Aerial advertising has the advantage of reaching a large audience. As a costly marketing strategy, it is essential to consider your goals and budget before deciding whether or not this is the right one.
A-frames, also known as sandwich boards, are outdoor advertising usually seen on sidewalks and high-traffic areas. They are generally double-sided and feature a graphic or message on both sides. By capturing pedestrians’ attention, A-frames are an effective way to increase foot traffic to your business.
It is possible to employ A-frames for various advertising purposes, such as promoting sales or special events, advertising upcoming products or services, or directing customers to your business. Additionally, A-frames can serve as directional signs for your business, helping customers find it. Use bright colors and eye-catching graphics to make your A-frame stand out. Make sure your message is clear and concise to grab the attention of your target audience.
How To Design Outdoor Ads?
If you don’t have in-house designers, who are frankly quite expensive, you can hire a freelancer or an agency to create your outdoor ads. Depending on the consistency of your graphic design needs and your budget, there are a few options:
If you need designs consistently…
For other graphic design needs, graphic design agencies are the most cost-efficient option. Currently, unlimited graphic design for a monthly fee is the most popular, which is less expensive than hiring an in-house designer.
- High budget: Awesomic, Bunny Studio ONE, Vecteezy Studio
- Low budget: Kimp, Kapa99, Manypixels
If you need just this one…
Crowdsourced services and freelancers are your best bet for one-time projects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the most widely used form of outdoor advertising?
The most common form of outdoor advertising is billboards, which are large signs placed along highways and other high-traffic areas. They are incredibly effective at reaching a large audience.
What are the benefits of outdoor advertising?
Outdoor advertising has many benefits, including the ability to reach a broad audience, the flexibility to change messages quickly, and the relatively low cost of production and placement. It is also very effective to target a specific audience with outdoor advertising, such as commuters or residents.
How effective is outdoor advertising?
Advertisements placed in public spaces, like billboards or buses, can effectively reach a broad audience but are often expensive and non-targeted.
How can I make my outdoor advertising more effective?
To make outdoor advertising more effective, choose the right location, design an eye-catching ad, and ensure it’s well-lit.
- Wikipedia Contributors. Point of sale display. Wikipedia. Published September 5, 2022. Accessed November 19, 2022.
- Nguyen, Ginny. “9 Types of Outdoor Advertising (with Real-World Examples)“. Penji, May 24, 2021.
About your guide
Matic Broz is a multifaceted creative professional, with experience as a photographer, graphic designer, and business owner. He has a decade of experience in helping other creatives improve their craft and start their own businesses. His writing and research have been featured in notable publications such as The Guardian, PetaPixel, and USA Today. Additionally, his scientific research has been recognized with a cover feature in the prestigious MDPI-owned journal. In his leisure time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and spending time with dogs. Read more
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