Integrating outdoor advertising with Twitter

Hand holding smartphone and using Twitter app

The potential for integrating outdoor advertising with Twitter effectively is vast.

This is born-out by some juicy stats:

  • Half the UK population access the internet via their mobile phones
  • An estimated 16 million people in the UK use Twitter
  • Out-of-home (OOH) advertising reaches 98% of the UK population at least once a week

But there’s more to using Twitter in your campaigns than simply putting a hashtag before your product. Let’s look a little more deeply at the subject.

Integrating outdoor advertising with Twitter using hashtags

Starting with the most obvious point, Outdoor has great potential for integrating with Twitter via hastags. People often tweet when out and about. In 2014 Gordon MacMillan, Twitter’s UK Editorial Manager, wrote that, “a billboard located in London or Birmingham can become instantly accessible to anyone in the UK via Twitter and a hashtag.”

The impact of a well placed billboard can be magnified many times through the use of hashtags. MacMillan refers to a PepsiMax campaign which encouraged audiences to tweet in their “unbelievable” Vine videos, a selection of which would be displayed on large outdoor digital billboards.

Take the conversation online

MacMillan’s point is that Outdoor ads can be used as a hook to draw people in to a wider online conversation between corporations and consumers.

“Twitter helps open up the hyper-local nature of OOH to the wider world,” he wrote.

A recent example of this is Sainsbury’s #FoodDancing campaign where Twitter users are encouraged to tweet videos of them dancing whilst preparing food. This is very much a campaign that has emerged from an observation of the propensity for social media users to post photos and videos of food and cooking to their networks.

Prepare for the backlash

The downside of online conversations is that they are live and unfettered. If your campaign backfires, negative vibes can go viral and it can be very hard to put out the fire.

Now, you have to take the rough with the smooth; negative reactions to your campaigns are to be expected, especially as there can be a degree of cynicism towards attempts for brands to “talk” to their consumers.

When the US Whole Foods company’s image of pre-peeled oranges in plastic containers lead to a 54% negative reaction, the company actually pulled the product from their stores and released a self-mocking image taking down their own concept. A bold move but it seemed to pay off.

Use Twitter-friendly slogans

We recently wrote about the #ThisGirlCan campaign from Sports England. Not only do they make use of the #ThisGirlCan hashtag, their slogan is of itself very Twitter friendly; only 12 characters over three words. This means that it doesn’t eat too much into the character count for a tweet, leaving plenty of space for audiences to engage in an online conversation.

Encourage photo and video Tweets

Images and videos are much more shareable than plain text posts. Photos are clicked on 18% more than plain text tweets and are shared 150% more often. If your advert is visually striking or memorable, encourage audiences to tweet photos of it.

Curate tweets

kfc-snapchat-oohOne Outdoor campaign encouraged Canadians to Tweet messages about their favourite cities; a selection of which were displayed on digital screens in malls. Choice pics were then broadcast on large outdoor billboards. The benefit of this approach is that is curated; only the messages selected by the advertiser get the outdoor treatment.

We hope these suggestions provide food for thought for the successful integration of Twitter and Outdoor advertising. For more tips and tricks you may be interested in our posts on integrating Outdoor with social media and our KFC Snapchat Selfie review.




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  1. […] time whilst waiting at bus stops, and whilst on the bus itself, to engage with your campaign via social media, QR codes, or NFC […]

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