You probably know of outdoor ads as billboards, pieces of street furniture, wallscapes or other formats. You may also know that Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising is effective and has even been experiencing a resurgence recently. But did you know that measuring the impact of OOH ads today is data-driven and accurate? If you’re interested in exploring this popular medium, here are a few ways to understand and gauge the effect of OOH ads on your sales and your business.

OOH Advertising Boosts Conversions, Not Just Awareness

For a long while, even savvy marketers were under the impression that OOH ads were all about awareness. You put up a billboard so as many people as possible would see your brand’s logo and gain familiarity with it. You advertise at a bus stop so that people waiting for the bus or driving by would glance at your company name, and hopefully remember it when they need the services you offer. But while awareness is indeed a part of the appeal of OOH advertising, it’s only a part.

In fact, marketers can use OOH ads strategically to increase (and track) conversions. With the right platform, advertisers will have access to unit-level exposure (impressions) and user-defined conversion events for OOH ad campaigns. This means you can connect the dots between actual foot traffic, mobile and web traffic (e.g. conversion events) and that unit-level exposure. You can also drop a pixel on your website to match devices exposed to your OOH campaign with visitors to your website, providing a way to track web- and app-based conversions.

Data Insights that Increase Visibility

There’s one outcome that all OOH advertisers want: greater visibility. Previously, this was difficult to accurately measure. But now, ad vendors can calculate visibility using contact zones that determine the distance from which an advertisement can initially be seen and how fast traffic moves past it every hour. They also can figure out how long people linger in an area while waiting in their cars or in line for a bus, for example. All of this helps them determine a passerby’s likelihood of truly seeing a given ad, based on their opportunity to view it.

When you use visibility research in conjunction with data around impressions, demographics and digital trails, you can get a more complete picture of how many people in your target audience will actually see your ad. The more insights you have, the better you can allocate your ad dollars to reach that unique group at maximum impact.

The Rise of Data-Led Planning

OOH advertising has become every bit as sophisticated as digital advertising in recent years, enabling planning that is better informed and poised for success. This creates a snowball effect of greater and greater efficacy. One such example would be map-based platforms, with street-view imagery, which give media planners a better sense of where they’re buying. You can also get creative and try something multi-channel, like using a combination of audience-based targeting, place-based targeting and multi-channel retargeting along with a non-digital channel like OOH ads. Using multiple ad formats together in this way is sure to increase your campaign effectiveness.

There are numerous methods for measuring your effectiveness with OOH today, too. Certain platforms enable marketers to track and isolate the impact of OOH, directly attribute online and offline events, measure real ROI through rigorous lift analysis, compare performance by unit, optimize campaigns and power multi-channel marketing as well. The granularity and sophistication of OOH measurement is easily on par with other forms of digital advertising.

There may have been a time when measuring the impact of OOH ads was a bit of a mystery, but those times are well in the past. Today, marketers have access to real-time, in-depth analytics and methods of measuring OOH ad efficacy that rival any other form of advertising available. If you haven’t yet expanded your advertising strategy to include outdoor ads, maybe now is the time.

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