Outdoor ads impact online search

01 October 2010

LONDON: Outdoor advertising exerts a positive influence on internet search levels among consumers, a report has argued.

Industry body the Outdoor Advertising Association partnered with Mindshare and Millward Brown to assess the role of this channel, based on data covering 326 brands in 25 categories over five years.

More specifically, their study attempted to gauge how it impacted "presence" – or a product's popular familiarity – a rating "setting the limits" for potential sales.

Companies boasting a maximum £5m ($7.9m; €5.8m) total communications budget enjoyed a 4% "dividend" on this metric if they allotted at least 11% of expenditure to OOH.

Such incremental growth reached 11% when outlay fell in the £5m to £20m range and 7% where operators that invested a minimum £20m across all media were considered.

Brands directing double-digit portions of adspend to outdoor also generally experienced an improvement in perceptions like trustworthiness, desirability, assertiveness and friendliness.

The typology utilised by Millward Brown's BrandZ system demonstrated the wider power of this medium.

"Olympic" brands, the most well-known products, typically committed 18% of ad budgets to outdoor in 2009, standing at 17% regarding second-tier "classic" counterparts and 13% for "little tiger" challengers.

By contrast, "fading stars" pushed 10% of expenditure to OOH, "defenders" carrying modest emotional appeal on 8%, "clean slate" brands with low awareness on 7% and "weak" players on 6%.

Brands in the travel sector devoting £1m to outdoor saw online search entries climb 5.5%, beating TV's 3.5% uptick.

These figures hit 3% and 0.6% respectively for insurance providers, and around 1% apiece for automakers.

For mobile handsets, TV was more effective, having delivered a 2.7% leap in related web enquiries, declining to 1.1% posted by billboards and other similar formats.

Out-of-home currently takes an estimated 9.1% of display adspend, with digital contributing 12.8% of category returns.

Revenues surged 16.2% during the first half of 2010, and 95 of the country's 100 biggest advertisers employ this medium at present.

Data sourced from MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff