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Is Out of Home Still In?

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

By Maia Brusseau

Out of home advertising (OOH) may be the oldest form of advertising in the world. According to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America, ancient Egyptians used stone obelisks to publicize new laws and treaties – and OOH was born.

As printing techniques were developed and improved, handbills and posters were all the rage, until the billboard made its debut in the 1800s. What started as large format roadside posters to promote the circus turned into static locations where brands could advertise their products.

So, what is OOH?

Those billboards you see along the highway are probably the most common and well-known types of OOH advertising. But, and this is the cool part, OOH is so much more than those boards.

There are digital billboards, transit interiors and exteriors, transit shelters, street furniture, kiosks, vehicle wraps, mobile billboards, wallscapes, and…I’m starting to sound a little bit like Bubba from Forrest Gump.

OOH also offers a chance for brands to come up with eye-popping creative that, when placed in the right spot, is impossible to miss.

Street furniture from a recent OOH campaign for our client WBBM in Chicago.

Why use OOH?

Aside from being an opportunity to show off creative chops, OOH is an excellent broad-reach play for brands.

For example, a local television station may use the majority of their marketing to promote specific tune-in with messaging like ”See why OOH advertising is super cool, tonight at 11!” (That’s a terrible example, but you get the point.)

However, if there was a big change – a new show premiering or a new anchor joining the team – they’ll likely want to reach a broader audience to increase awareness.

At Left Hand Agency, we’ve built OOH strategies and created campaigns for several clients, so we thought we’d share a few tips for building an OOH campaign.

We may be Left Hand Agency, but we LOVE right hand reads.

When you’re driving down the road, it is much easier to see billboards on the same side of the road as you, which is a right hand read. If you have to look over to the other side of a 6 lane divided highway filled with traffic, you’re more likely to miss the board.

Billboard from a recent OOH campaign for our client WDAF in Kansas City.

Cherry pick your boards if you want to reach specific areas.

This might seem obvious, but sometimes you can see big savings if you opt for a network run of digital billboards. This can also be a great strategy if broad market awareness is your end goal. However, if there are certain areas you are trying to target, it can benefit you to pay a little more and hand pick every board.

Won’t that take FOREVER?

Hand-picking boards can be accomplished if you live in the market you’re buying – all you have to do is drive. But, if you don’t have the time to drive your entire metro-area or you don’t live nearby, we have a tool that will make life so much easier for you!

Google Maps Street View is your new best friend.

From the comfort of your laptop, you can drive the billboard locations and check them out. Just grab Pegman (yes, that’s the official name of that little person icon in the lower right corner of Google Maps) and drop him onto the street so you can see those boards first hand.

We love using this tool to look for read time (how long you can see the board when driving), obstructions (trees grow and billboards don’t, so look for that), and anything else that would make the location desirable or a hard pass.

Digital billboard from a recent OOH campaign for our client KCNC in Denver.

Save money with digital.

Yes, it's no secret that we love digital here at Left Hand Agency. But, in this case, digital can save you lots of money. If you purchase static OOH (traditional billboards), you need to pay for the production of those huge vinyls. which can cost hundreds of dollars per vinyl.

With a digital OOH campaign, there is no production cost, and the creative can be easily delivered and updated, in some cases immediately. This is a great option for clients who need messaging flexibility, for example a restaurant advertising a nightly dinner special.

We think OOH is a fun and effective advertising tool. If you’d like to chat about an OOH campaign, or anything else advertising related (we tend to nerd out over that stuff, so we always welcome a good convo), give us a shout!

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