6 tips to create eye-catching out-of-home ads

February 27, 2024Anya Leibovitch

In today’s media landscape, flash is king. Every day, people are exposed to an onslaught of information, but the best advertisers know how to create ads that cut through the noise. 

In our digital-first world, out-of-home media is often overlooked by advertisers in favour of pursuing online marketing efforts. This represents a huge missed opportunity, as outdoor advertising is one of the most effective ways to engage with customers and inspire them to take action. Since the pandemic, more people are venturing out of their homes daily, making it more important than ever to incorporate OOH ads in your marketing efforts. 

We’ve put together 6 tips to create impactful OOH ads that help you connect with your audience.

Let data lead

Creating a successful OOH ad campaign requires in-depth knowledge of your target audience, media channel preferences, and what drives their decision-making. 

By gathering and analyzing customer data, you can create strategic campaigns that focus on the needs of your target audience and consider how you can connect with them at each touchpoint.

Know your audience

The best way to design an ad that resonates with your audience is to understand who—and where—they are. Modern marketing is all about leveraging customer data to deliver a personalized experience, and OOH ads are no different. 

A recent Zendesk study found that 76% of consumers expect a personalized experience. Data analytics can help you deliver that, maximizing the impact of your campaign and facilitating cross-channel integration so you can offer customers a cohesive experience through OOH ads, digital advertising, and social media.

Make it contextual

When it comes to OOH ads, there are many formats and settings to choose from. The best campaigns are a culmination of data, technology, creativity, and context.

Tesco’s ‘Together this Ramadan’ billboard campaign used contextual targeting techniques, placing their billboards in areas with large Muslim populations and using digital technology to display both a fasting and non-fasting message, depending on the time of day. The campaign resulted in a 275% increase in mentions of Tesco and Ramadan on social media and remains a great example of how selecting the right setting is key to the success of your OOH ads. 

Another tactic to consider is positioning your ad near a point of sale. Engaging with audiences effectively at or near a point of sale allows you to witness the power of OOH advertising in action, from building brand awareness to driving sales.

By placing OOH ads along the path to purchase and in proximity to certain retailers,  your OOH ads end up functioning as a last-mile sales push, transforming the customer’s intent to buy into a completed purchase. This approach not only streamlines the customer journey but also captivates audiences by offering them a digital experience in the physical world.

Through the use of data analytics, you can effectively determine the location and movement patterns of your audience, giving you greater insight into your own media placements.

Keep it simple

When you’re working with OOH ads, the amount of time you have to make an impression can vary depending on your choice of location.

While certain venues, like roadside billboards, tend to have a low dwell time, others, like bus stations, might have longer to make an impact. Your chosen venue and its corresponding dwell time should play a significant role in shaping the creative and messaging of your OOH ads. 

For ads in places with lower dwell time, like the side of a bus, a simple, uncluttered ad with a clear message tends to make the biggest impact. In venues with higher dwell times, like train stations, people have more time to interact with ads, so you can include more visual elements as well as text and go into greater detail about the brand and its specific offering. 

Spotify’s 2018 Wrapped campaign featured eye-catching celebrity creatives across various locations like bus and train shelters.

Colour selection should also take into consideration the placement of the ad and its surrounding environment to ensure that it will stand out and make an impact on passers-by. Colour is crucial to designing an effective ad campaign. In fact, studies show that colour has the power to increase brand awareness by 80% and influence 85% of purchase decisions.

Get creative

Want to optimize your business outcomes through advertising? Creativity is key to setting yourself apart from the competition and getting noticed. In fact, creativity is the main driver of marketing effectiveness, second only to the size of your brand. 

While you likely can’t change the size of your brand overnight, you can place a greater emphasis on exceptional creative work, allowing it to be the driving force behind your ad creation and marketing campaigns.

Make it inclusive

OOH is not only one of the most effective ways to reach your audience but also one of the strongest channels to deliver inclusive messaging. With OOH ads being placed in public spaces, viewing them is a shared experience for audiences. Representation matters, and in an increasingly multicultural society, it’s key that you engage with consumers in ways that are meaningful to them, especially as OOH reaches more than 98% of the adult population

Diversity and inclusion begin behind the scenes by hiring the right people to conceive of and create ads that speak to a diverse range of viewpoints and experiences.

Designing an effective OOH ad campaign

The key to a successful OOH ad campaign is to design an eye-catching ad that moves people and has a visual impact while keeping your messaging simple. 

In order to unlock the benefits of OOH ads, creativity needs to be at the center of your process. 

By combining creativity and data analytics to guide your decision-making, you’ll be able to create an ad that resonates with your target audience and inspires them to take action. 

Want to learn more about how OOH can benefit your business? Contact our team today!