Not sure how to integrate outdoor and online advertising or what benefits it will bring to your brand? We’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how you can use outdoor ads alongside online adverts to get the most out of your advertising campaign.
Outdoor advertising in a nutshell
Very simply, outdoor advertising is any advertising done outside of the home, with examples including but not restricted to billboards, on vehicles, in malls, at bus stops and on trains.
If you think about offline advertising as a large ecosystem, outdoor ads are often the core of the system, often being used to amplify any online or print campaigns that your business is running, through driving website traffic, downloads and social media engagement.
The average consumer spends the vast majority of their waking hours outside of the home, and so outdoor advertising is an obvious place to start with placing your brand in the public eye whilst being a great platform to couple alongside other methods of advertising.
The benefits of integrating outdoor advertising and online
Billboard, taxi and bus shelter advertising has a strong track record of working extremely well alongside other platforms. One common form of integration is the coupling of outdoor advertising with online marketing to create a lasting impression and remind the consumer of the message being portrayed.
In a world where there are nearly as many mobile devices as people, pairing an outdoor ad with an online campaign is a highly effective way to extend the reach of your message. Research has shown that people who have seen an out-of-home campaign are 17% more likely to engage with that brand on their smartphone. So whilst outdoor advertising is a great way to build brand-awareness, it also offers the opportunity to drive new customers to engage with your brand on a more personal level. Running an online campaign alongside your out-of-home advertising takes advantage of these patterns in modern consumer behaviour.
Short term impact alongside long term presence
One of the most noticeable benefits of outdoor advertising is that it has a high impact. The outdoor campaign cannot be ‘turned off’ and forms part of the consumer’s environment. The adverts have presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week, creating sustained awareness.
Outdoor ads can be targeted in specific locations to reach niche audiences or displayed nationwide to communicate with a mass audience. Ads on buses, trains, and billboards have the potential to reach a huge audience and a vast range of demographics.
On the other hand, this high impact advertising outdoors is limited to budget. Advertising space is rented in 2 week cycles, and whilst it can be a low-cost and effective way to increase brand awareness, once you stop renting the space, your advert is no longer displayed.
Pairing your outdoor ad with an online campaign increases the longevity of your brand’s presence. Unlike billboards and posters, quality online content does not simply disappear when you stop investing money in it. If your content is well-written, relevant, and suitably optimized for search engines there is no time limit set for how long your customers can see it.
Use an online campaign to expand on an outdoor ad
One of the key points about outdoor advertising is that it must be kept brief and to the point. Images are more effective than reels of text, as these adverts are often seen in motion. The consumer doesn’t have the time to read and process detailed information.
Combining an outdoor campaign with online compliments this need for brevity nicely. The online campaign can expand on the context and inform the consumer more about the message you’re trying to communicate.
Using social media alongside outdoor advertising
A good outdoor advert, like this Netflix ad, also introduces the possibility of successful outdoor campaigns being shared on social media. Campaigns that leave the consumer thinking ‘wow, that is clever’ are likely to be posted and shared on people’s social media channels, further increasing awareness and reach.
Using a hashtag as part of your ad is a great way to open a conversation on social media. Be sure to choose a memorable, yet unique hashtag to encourage consumers to engage with you on social media. Even better, make your advertising slogan your hashtag – check out these examples of outdoor advertising that have used hashtags and social media engagement to great effect.
Outdoor advertising and new digital
An integrated campaign can go beyond social media shares or website hits. Technology like NFC (Near Field Communication), iBeacons, QR (Quick Response) Codes or Bluetooth enable your ad to jump off the billboard and onto a consumer’s smartphone instantly.
Advertisers are increasingly using these technologies to engage with consumers. They can be used to offer exclusive vouchers and discounts, provide in-store updates or even enable passers-by to actively interact with your billboard or poster.
For example, the NHS’s award-winning ‘The Power of Blood’ campaign used augmented reality to enable the public to connect with a digital billboard. The billboard featured an ill patient with an empty blood bag. NHS volunteers gave passers-by an iPhone that used an augmented reality app to connect to the billboard and allow users to virtually give blood to fill-up the empty blood bag on the billboard. As the user ‘gave blood’ the patient on the billboard would begin to look healthy.
Using digital technology to complement an outdoor ad can be a powerful way to engage with passers-by, whether you’re communicating a message, raising awareness, or driving sales.
Track the success of a campaign digitally
Another benefit of integrating online and outdoor campaigns is that it offers you the opportunity to track the success of your outdoor campaign. You can capture information about the billboards and posters that have been successful by developing a strategy to track an ad digitally.
For example, create a unique landing page to display on your poster. The number of online visitors that arrive at this landing page after seeing your outdoor advert will give you an indication of how successful that advert has been. Similarly, a unique, memorable hashtag
Alternatively, your outdoor advert could include a promotional code that offers an exclusive discount to those people who respond to the ad. When consumers enter that code at point-of-purchase online you can see how many sales resulted from engagement with your advert.
Outdoor and online – it’s a no brainer
If you’re planning an advertising strategy, it’s vital to consider the benefits of integrating your outdoor advertising with an online campaign. A successful integrated campaign combines two of the most effective forms of advertising in a way that complements the other perfectly. Increase brand awareness, target mass audiences and continuing interacting with consumers beyond their initial encounter with your ad.
With outdoor advertising space so easy to find and purchase online, it’s even easier to integrate these two advertising mediums. Use our online booking system to find and book your outdoor advertising space, or contact us for more advice about how to design a successful campaign.