Out of home (OOH) may be the oldest advertising medium but it is one that is ideally placed to bring meaning back to advertising and help brands reconnect with consumers, according to an industry figure.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How out-of-home can deliver cut-through in the attention economy, Steve Payne, Director of Insight & Marketing at Kinetic, maintains that out-of-home advertising (OOH) can achieve long-term brand salience and value at a time when the attention economy has become focused on clicks, shares and instant gratification.

The consequence of that trend has been that brands have prioritised short-term thinking and short-term gains at the expense of overall marketing effectiveness and have many have neglected the qualities that traditional mediums such as OOH can bring.

“OOH has always excelled at delivering mass reach, visual impact and location targeting, and it is still one of the best ways of achieving these objectives cost-effectively and with national-level coverage,” he says.

And as both consumers and brands become disillusioned much online media – one turning increasingly to ad blockers, the other grappling with ad fraud and viewability – the spread of digital out of home offers new opportunities to “cut through the noise and grab consumers’ attention with unrivalled creativity – and at unparalleled scale”.

For advertisers, effective use of OOH means selecting locations carefully based on campaign objectives and audience to achieve the best ROI and combining high-profile, hero locations with supporting localised spots to maximise impact, reach and relevance.

“Look for opportunities to increase relevance and leverage ‘herd mentality’ by including local or demographic specific messages in OOH ads,” Payne advises.

Analysis by Kinetic of a localised OOH campaign for the food retailer Subway revealed that response rates varied according to the level of regionalisation: town-specific messages led to a 10% increase in footfall and 9% increase in basket spend while county messages generated a 7% and 8% increase respectively.

There is also scope to think beyond the traditional billboard – expanding creatively outside the poster to maximise immersion (and Instagrammability) for consumers or experimenting with wall murals and interactive special builds to stand out.

Ultimately, in a world defined by consumer choice, OOH is the medium that is hardest for them to actively avoid.

“OOH ads don’t have an off-switch,” Payne points out. “They’re always there, with the ability to appear in our peripheral vision and broadcast instantaneous messages across high volumes of people.”

Sourced from WARC