Digital Outdoor Advertising - How to use modern marketing

Our world is becoming more digital, faster and better connected. Digital outdoor advertising is a classic marketing tool that is breaking new ground through digitization. In this article, you will learn more about the different possibilities of modern digital outdoor advertising and its advantages and disadvantages.

Digital outdoor advertising in a city center
Digital outdoor advertising

What is Digital Outdoor Advertising?

The definition of digital outdoor advertising is simple: it is advertising displayed on digital screens. These screens can be LED walls, flat-screen TVs, interactive boards at bus stops, or even laptops and tablets. The ads are controlled using computers connected by a network.

The advertising marketers use digital outdoor advertising as a business model. They place the ad spaces in crowded public places and offer their customers a digital infrastructure for booking advertising spaces as well as locations. Advertising marketers call this digital-out-of-home advertising, or DooH for short. This term is therefore often used synonymously with digital outdoor advertising.

Digital outdoor advertising is a very flexible and versatile medium and is used for various purposes. Companies respond to current events at lightning speed with it, as they can adapt digital content promptly. Or they use the possibility to search for locations and times selectively, where their target group is particularly strongly represented.

By combining online and offline advertising, personalized advertising becomes a reality. Companies display location-based offers that are precisely tailored to the needs of the respective target group. Outdoor digital advertising is a powerful instrument of modern marketing that offers many options for reaching one's target group.

Digital Outdoor Advertising – A Market Overview

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When I first heard about digital outdoor advertising in the 1990s, I wasn't confident if it was really a good idea. Showing ads on screens seemed very futuristic to me at the time, and too unwieldy given the picture tube technology that was prevalent at the time. Meanwhile, my opinion and that of the industry have changed – there is no longer any doubt that this is part of our future.

According to a 2020 report by Mordor Intelligence/, the digital outdoor advertising (OOH) market is expected to multiply by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 17.13%. Countries with higher wealth continue to account for the largest share of global demand for OOH services, while demand increases in developing countries. This is partly due to the growth of urban populations and overall economic development.

Woman with glasses

The East Asian region will dominate the market. It has the largest and most populous metropolises. In addition, the inhabitants have a particular affinity for digital technologies, whereas in Europe, especially in Germany, there are often reservations and concerns from the old industries.

Another advantage for Asia and emerging markets is that infrastructure projects are immediately based on modern fiber-optic and wireless technology. Germany in particular has relied for far too long on existing, outdated copper cables and forgotten to modernize them.

What are the different types of Digital Outdoor Advertising?

Recently, the digitization of outdoor advertising has progressed rapidly. There are various types of digital outdoor advertising, which differ in their function and area of application. The most common types of digital outdoor advertising include:

Digital Signs

Digital signs replace signs like street signs and more. These are digital displays installed on buildings or in pedestrian zones. They can display static or animated content and may be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or cellular connections.

Digital road sign
Digital road sign

LED-Displays

LED displays are a particularly energy-efficient type of digital outdoor advertising. They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use and can display different content depending on size and resolution.

Digital Billboards

Digital billboards are large-format LED displays installed along roads and highways. They can display changing advertising media and can thus also be used for location-based advertising.

Video Walls

Video Walls consist of several LED displays connected. They are particularly suitable for large-format advertising, and can also achieve very impressive results in motion images.

Where is Digital Outdoor Advertising suitable?

Digital outdoor advertising is suitable for use in many places to raise awareness of companies, products, and services. You can place it on streets, in pedestrian zones, or in places with high foot traffic. Trade shows and events are also good places to use digital outdoor advertising. In rural areas, digital ads are popular at gas stations and shopping malls.

Railway Station & Public Transport

Whether in the urban jungle or in the countryside. There are opportunities for digital outdoor advertising everywhere. In big cities, people are drawn to digital ads at bus stops, in subway stations, and on posters. Digital signage is a growing market, and transportation hubs with lots of pedestrian traffic are an area where it's especially worthwhile to invest in digital outdoor advertising.

Airport

Advertising screens at airports are an ideal way to attract the attention of travelers and especially business people. A well-balanced mix of infotainment helps shorten waiting time while unobtrusively promoting products. Offers for rental cars, hotels or interesting destinations are particularly suitable.

Digital Sign on Airport Terminal

Restaurants

Advertising is an essential part of restaurants. After all, good food isn't everything – presentation and marketing are also crucial. By combining classic advertising messages with interactive menu cards and modern designs, restaurant businesses boost their reach and attract more guests.

Retail

In Retail, it's always about advertising. Foremost, retailers thus strengthen their brand and stand out from the competition. Furthermore, they better inform their customers and appeal to them with personalized offers. With digital outdoor advertising, retailers increase the effectiveness of their advertising spend by placing more targeted ads and measuring customer response.

Stadiums

The advantages of digital outdoor advertising in stadiums are numerous. Digital perimeter advertising in soccer stadiums is easily adaptable and permanently in the view of spectators. It can also be used spontaneously to communicate information such as traffic information or the results of parallel matches.

Los Angeles Stadium Video Wall
SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles by Wikimedia

How can your brand benefit from digital outdoor advertising?

Digital outdoor advertising represents a very flexible form of advertising that is suitable for both large companies and small and medium-sized businesses.

Celebrating Team

Digital Outdoor Advertising Advantages

Unlike conventional outdoor advertising such as billboards, digital advertising can be more easily measured by sensors to determine whether the advertising has actually been seen. In addition, the design of the ads becomes more flexible and there are no restrictions on colors or other graphic elements. You run a single advertising campaign in several hundred locations at the same time – depending on the target group you want to reach.

Unlike TV or Internet advertising, digital billboards have one big advantage: the target audience can't click away or switch off. And best of all, the ads are personalized, too!

Digital Outdoor Advertising Disadvantages

Many companies rely on digital outdoor advertising to draw attention to their business. However, many do not realize that this type of advertising can have some serious disadvantages.

An actual advantage, namely the eye-catching nature, may in fact also become annoying and distract people's attention from the actual surroundings. This can lead to dangerous situations, for example, when people no longer pay proper attention to traffic when crossing a street.

The ecological stress caused by light pollution is continuously increasing, and garish advertising animations in city centers are not necessarily nice to look at.

Furthermore, digital outdoor advertising is more costly to purchase and fails without planning and a sensible marketing concept.

The use of sensors and artificial intelligence connected with Big Data brings with it data protection issues that legislators will have to clarify in the future. This involves investment risks.

Digital Outdoor Advertising: Still vs. Motion?

Whether to choose a moving or static image is difficult to answer. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, of course. Deciding which medium is best for your purposes depends on various factors. Basically, though, you can say that moving image advertising should be more informative and entertaining, while stills bear a slightly more serious tone.

Moving Image Advantages

A big advantage of moving images is that they are more likely to attract people's attention. Especially in big cities, there are more and more stimuli that distract us. So compared to posters or billboards, a moving image is more likely to give us the attention it deserves.

In addition, we transport also convey emotions with movement, which is more difficult with static images. But emotions are necessary if we want to sell something. The stronger the emotion, the more likely we are to react to it.

Moving Image Disadvantages

However, movement also has its pitfalls. For example, it could easily happen that the image is perceived as disturbing, and you thus achieve exactly the opposite of what you want. In addition, moving images are more expensive to produce than stills and are often more difficult to implement.

Stills Advantages

A still image has the advantage that you can use it to get your message across very precisely and the viewer can grasp it without distraction. In addition, the production of a still image costs significantly less money than the production of a moving image and is therefore the first choice for many companies.

Stills Disadvantages

But still images also have their pitfalls: it can easily happen that the image is perceived as boring or unspectacular and thus does not have much impact.

Conclusion: Motion vs. Still?

Moving images are usually the better choice, as they are more likely to catch people's attention, and they are simply more eye-catching. However, there are also some limitations to consider. For example, moving image can be more expensive, and it can also be more difficult to get the right message across. So in some cases, stills are the better option.

Tips for implementation

Digital outdoor advertising is a promising way to reach your target audience. But how do you implement it?

Hands with puzzle pieces

Here come five Tips:

  1. Plan your campaign. Determine what you want to achieve with your digital outdoor advertising, and then create a blueprint to make it happen.
  2. Choose the right format. There are many formats for digital outdoor advertising. So select the format that will best reach your target audience.
  3. Consider your budget. Digital outdoor advertising can be costly. Therefore, make sure you have the budget to implement it properly.
  4. Just get creative. Don't be afraid to think outside the box with your digital outdoor advertising campaign. Be creative and come up with something that really grabs attention.
  5. Measure your results. As soon as your campaign kicks off, make sure you take the time to measure its effectiveness. This will allow you to determine whether the campaign is worth continuing in the future or not.

If you want to learn more about the technical implementation, take a look at our posts about digital signage techniques.

What does Digital Outdoor Advertising cost?

Outdoor advertising is especially important to attract the attention of customers. However, what if you don't have a big budget? Or if you just want to be creative? In that case, digital solutions are a great alternative!

Prices depend on the length of the spot, location, and playback frequency. It also makes a difference whether customers book the advertising spots for two weeks at one location or for an entire year for several locations.

A 10s spot on an approx. 7 – 10 cm² screen with 6 – 10 insertions per hour in the city center costs approx. 15 – 40 EUR daily. The same spot with the same frequency at a rest stop can also be around 8 – 12 EUR daily per location. (Germany Market)

Prices for hardware and software, can be found here.

FAQ

If you're interested in using digital outdoor advertising in your marketing strategy, there are a few points to consider.

How to design appropriate Advertising Spots?

Implementing an advertising spots sound complex at first. However, creating it is easier than you think. Simple graphics with animations are possible, sometimes even just one image.

Clarity wins! Avoid anything that might distract from your message.

Use short, concise text. Set font sizes to as large as possible. When it comes to font choice, you should prefer clear, unadorned fonts. Keep the logo constantly present and use emotional images with strong colors. However, do not overdo it with the colorfulness. Furthermore, refrain from using tone. In most cases, you will not need it.

Also be sparing with effects. Too many of them often look unprofessional and also distract from the message.

Movie camera

How long should the Advertising Spot last?

The optimal length of a commercial depends on several factors, including the product or service being promoted, the target audience, and the context. A general rule of thumb is that an advertising spot should be between 10 and 30 seconds long. Spots of this length typically placed on television, radio or in waiting areas. They are short enough to grab the viewer's or listener's attention, but long enough to get a message across.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some commercials can be shorter if they are very to the point and get their message across quickly. Other ads take more time to get their message across. In such cases, however, the length of the spot should still be relatively short. Overall, it is important to note that the length of a promotional spot is not necessarily crucial. It is much more influential to create a well-made clip that effectively conveys its message.

Conclusion

Digital outdoor advertising is a great way to increase awareness of your brand and generate more sales. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when implementing it. First, make sure your ads are placed in the right locations. Remember that you want to reach your target audience, so make sure your ads are visible in places where your audience spends time.

When planning your digital outdoor advertising, always keep your goal in mind. Choosing the correct technology and design depends on what you wish to achieve. Therefore, inform yourself thoroughly before you select a solution.

Avoid letting your outdoor advertising degenerate into an end in itself. No matter whether advertiser or operator.

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Gravatar Nikolaos Sagiadinos
Author: Niko Sagiadinos
Developer & Co-Founder SmilControl – Digital Signage
Visit me on: LinkedIn or GitHub

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