Your guide to purchasing outdoor advertising

image showing blank outdoor advertising billboard

Keen followers of this blog will no doubt be sold on the effectiveness of outdoor advertising, but working out how to go about purchasing outdoor ads can be confusing. Here’s a straightforward guide to all your outdoor ad buying needs.

Begin with the basics

First off, the type of business you run will influence what sort of advertising you need to buy. You might be a tech startup looking for innovative ways to reach your audience, a local gym hoping to attract fitness fanatics, or an estate agent looking to build a presence in your local area.

Design an attention grabbing ad

It doesn’t matter what medium you are advertising in, you need a catchy ad design that differentiates your brand from your rivals if you are to get anywhere (to find out more about this check out our post on how to design a billboard).

Each booking agent will have their own ad design specifications; make sure you follow them to avoid any nasty surprises.

Campaign scale: local or national?

Let’s say you run an indie coffee shop and you want to attract hipsters away from Starbucks.

You only have the one outlet so there’s no need to run a national campaign. You’d want a local campaign.

The point is to attract people to your store; so you’d want to target high footfall areas. This would be particularly useful if your location doesn’t have much organic footfall.

You probably don’t have a massive budget so blowing it all on a 98-sheet billboard is probably not the way to go. Phone box ads are probably the best option for you; you can book them for as little as £52 per week. Smaller assets like phone box ads are a great way to drive sales activation in your local area, getting the word out about your business and promoting any special offers or new product lines.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re a boutique clothing brand with a national presence and you’re opening a new store in a shopping centre. You’d want consumers who may have an awareness of your brand to know you now have a store near them; in this situation, shopping centre advertising is the way to go.

Again, you could jump on a service like Bubble and search specifically for ad sites in shopping malls.

Regional and national campaigns

Sometimes there’s nothing for it but to pull out all the stops and run a regional or national campaign to build your brand, or to rebuild it as Tesco have done in recent years.

The way to approach this is a bit like a general planning for a war; your national campaign will mean fighting brand awareness battles on different fronts. Get your maps out, work out which locations need special attention (like identifying stores which are being challenged by rival brands) and in which areas you can play to your strengths, such as where there is a high density of your target demographic.

Searching for assets

Bubble outdoor advertising online sales platform

The next step would be to look up the area you want to advertise in on an automated ad booking platform like Bubble.

Next, you select outdoor assets appropriate to your campaign; you can add as many to your basket as you need.

How much does outdoor advertising cost?

The answer depends on the scale of your campaign, but these sample figures should give you a good idea of how much a campaign might cost.

How long does an average outdoor campaign last?

It depends on your needs, but outdoor ads are typically booked in two week blocks; the weekly cost of your outdoor purchases comes down when you book in longer blocks. This doesn’t just save you money in the long run, but helps you reap the benefits of long-term brand building. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you how long your campaign lasts. Perhaps you want to engage in some sales activation in the run-up to a public holiday, or before a popular shopping event like Black Friday. You might just want to run a high intensity campaign for 2-6 weeks to drive a boost in sales.

How do I design my ad?

If you don’t have an in-house creative team, you may want to consider hiring an external agency to design your creatives or hire a freelance designer from a site like People Per Hour of Fiverr. Alternatively, we can design your ad for you for an additional £100 on top of your purchases.

What sort of results will I see from my outdoor campaign?

There are too many factors involved to know for certain, but if you have a creative that resonates with your target audience, a good understanding of where your ad placements will have the maximum impact, and your sales team are prepared to handle any new leads or customers generated by the campaign, you are sure to see impressive results.

What should I do next?

If you’re new to the world of outdoor advertising and are considering it as an option, there’s one thing for sure; if you don’t try it you’ll never know the potential it could unlock for your brand.

If you’re concerned it isn’t plausible for your budget, check out our post on outdoor advertising for small brands.

For a deeper look into how to run an outdoor campaign, check out our comprehensive guide.

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