While the Covid-19 outbreak may have taken a temporary toll on the demand for out-of-home (OOH) advertising in the UK, there’s no doubt that this market remains on an upward trajectory in the longer-term.

This was reflected clearly by last year’s figures, which revealed that total OOH revenue in the UK during Q2 grew by an impressive 9.4% year-on-year.

In purely financial terms, this meant that quarterly revenues increased from £284 million in Q2 2018 to £310 million in Q2 2019, with both digital and traditional channels enjoying sustained growth.

While the demand for all types of OOH advertising may be on the rise, however, we recognise that execution is everything when creating a successful outdoor campaign. With this in mind, here are the most common OOH marketing mistakes and how you can avoid them when cultivating your campaigns.

Not Knowing all of Your Options or Doing the Requisite Research 

Ultimately, OOH media works best when it’s incorporated as part of an integrated campaign, thanks largely to its engaging nature and ability to assist conversions (especially through mobile channels).

To successfully achieve this objective, however, you have to understand the precise role that OOH media will play within your target customers’ journey, while simultaneously undertaking research to determine how best to leverage associated channels.

This means conducting clear market research before you launch your campaign, in a bid to learn more about your target audience and the similar marketing materials that have been created by your competitors.

The latter point is particularly important, as it enables you to analyze the performance of historical outdoor ads in your marketplace and distinguish between those that have been successful and others that have failed to deliver a viable ROI.

If undertaking detailed research enables you to create engaging and effective outdoor ads, then so does having a broad comprehension of all of your available options.

This means looking beyond expensive digital media and billboards, which despite dominating the OOH market, offer minimal exposure by rotating up to six different messages during each 60-second period.

Conversely, traditional ads and billboards are significantly cheaper and capable of optimising exposure for your brand over the course of your booking, arguably creating greater awareness and helping you to achieve far greater value for your marketing spend.

The same principle applies to the size of your ads, with billboards available in an especially diverse range of dimensions to suit a host of different applications.

So, it’s imperative that you review the full range of options at your disposal before committing to a specific type of billboard in a chosen location.

Failing to Appreciate the Power of Defined Goals and Objectives

What constitutes success in an OOH ad? Well, the answer to this question is truly objective, as this can be measured according to an array of different metrics from impressions and social media interactions to bottom line sales.

This is why it’s imperative that you set clear and prioritised marketing objectives from the outset of your campaign, so you can measure its results concisely and in context before identifying whether or not it has ultimately been a success.

Of course, this also affords your campaign purpose, while informing every creative decision that you make and directing your overall marketing spend.

On a fundamental level, you’ll most likely need to build awareness of your brand if you’re to achieve your objectives, as this is a necessary step to driving social engagement and selling products (or services).

In instances where you are successful, it’s important to determine the precise impact of your OOH campaign in building brand awareness. To achieve this, you’ll have to measure your individual and incremental goals against a number of key metrics produced by an ad, creating a detailed insight that can inform your campaigns going forward.

Interestingly, marketers often make the mistake of failing to look beyond basic impressions when measuring the impact of their OOH campaigns.

Geopath technology is at the cutting edge of this endeavour, with this building on rudimentary metrics such as Daily Effective Communication (which already estimates the number of pedestrians and vehicles that pass billboards in a specific location every single day).

In simple terms, Geopath technology is far more intuitive and capable of understanding the behaviour of customers as they pass by your strategically-placed media. It also factors in the length of time that customers spend viewing such billboards, offering a far greater insight into engagement levels.

Geopath tech also draws data from tried-and-tested metrics like location and ‘visually adjusted contact’, providing accurate information on how many people are exposed to ad within any given timeframe (which is ideal when looking to build brand awareness).

Overlooking the Importance of Design

 While you can spend a great deal of time cultivating an integrated campaign and strategically targeting locations for your OOH media, this means little if you’re unable to execute an appealing and impactful design.

This is particularly important when creating large-scale, 96-sheet billboards that will be viewed at distance, usually at roadside locations. The reason for this is simple; as each ad must be well-proportioned and laid out to effectively engage motorists, while you may only have a fleeting window of opportunity in which to engage the target audience.

It’s important to carefully consider the design of each individual ad, however, regardless of its placement or the role that it plays in your marketing campaign.

As a general rule, however, the best ads tend to feature concise messaging that’s captured in no more than six or seven words.

This should also be accompanied by engaging and high-quality imagery, which is relevant to your product or message and capable of realising the innate potential of visual information as a tool of engagement.

Similarly, you need to utilise brand colours and assets consistently across all marketing channels, as this helps when building brand awareness and driving recognition over the course of a single campaign.

This is why you should create a palette of brand colours that can be deployed flexibility across different ads, without requiring you to use shades that aren’t synonymous with the visual identity of your business.

Ultimately, the design of your ad is key to its successful execution, and if you don’t have the skills or resources to manage this in-house, don’t be afraid to outsource this to a qualified design team.

Failing to Vary Your Billboard Placements and Integrate with Other Channels

While you should always avoid trying to please everyone when creating and positioning OOH media, it’s important to optimise the reach of your message and target as many people as possible.

This requires you to leverage your market research and identify your core target audience and demographics as part of your campaign, before determining the number of relevant and strategically important locations through which to advertise.

Even on a fundamental level, varying your placements and covering a larger number of geographical areas will optimise the exposure for your brand, while selecting the right size and type of channel will also boost overall engagement levels.

As we’ve already touched on, this means using larger format billboards when advertising at busy roadside and commuter locations, while creating smaller ads and posters for public transport vehicles and train stations.

We’ve already spoken about the use of advanced metrics and datasets to measure the precise impact of specific ads and campaigns, and it’s important to use this information when planning future (and similar) campaigns.

More specifically, you’ll need to identify which locations and placements delivered the best metrics in relation to your target audience, before determining whether or not they can be used again as part of a related marketing campaign.

The issue of variance is clearly important, which is why we also recommend ensuring that your marketing campaigns are integrated to include an array of different channels at alternative stages of the customer journey.

This is central to any successful top-down marketing funnel, which starts with building brand awareness and the subsequent generation of leads. OOH is the ideal medium for achieving these objectives, while it’s also capable of driving increased engagement and interest through online and social channels.

At this stage, digital channels such as your brand’s website and social profiles will come into play, nurturing your leads before hopefully driving conversions at the end!

The Last Word

As we can see, there are numerous mistakes that OOH marketers make, many of which can have a deceptively negative impact on their efforts to build brand awareness and engage their target audience.

Of course, many also commit the cardinal sin of failing to consult with industry experts such as 75Media, who are well-versed in traditional OOH marketing and the importance of securing competitively-priced placements as a way of optimising their client’s marketing ROI.

However, by seeking out such advice at an early stage and avoiding the common pitfalls that we’ve referenced here, you can build informed and integrated campaigns that are able to realise the full potential of OOH media in the modern age.