Outdoor advertising is one of the most effective forms of advertising in existence. Even today with the vast amount of time and energy spent online, outdoor advertising somehow hits differently and has been proven to be just as, if not more effective than online marketing. However, not all outdoor advertising is created equal. There are varying levels of effectiveness within the numerous methods available, particularly with certain key audiences in mind. So which strategies are the most effective and for which groups? Here’s a brief analysis of various outdoor advertising strategies and their effectiveness in big cities.
Of course, when one thinks of “outdoor advertisements” they inevitably think of billboards. And for good reason. Billboards are a classic form of outdoor marketing, and they can have a huge impact on sales for a given company. Beginning their rise around the same time as the automobile, billboards these days are not found only on roadsides. In large cities, they can be found on the sides of skyscrapers, in and around stadiums, in parking lots, and more. These days they might also be rotational or interactive with the use of LED screens or other modern technologies. But how effective are they?
One of the major advantages of billboards is their ability to be seen. A well-placed billboard has the potential to be seen by thousands of commuters, community members, and even tourists, depending on the city. The static location of billboards also allows companies to utilize common or shared knowledge, which can be extremely effective. Chicago billboards, in particular, are great at using theming and city-familiarity to their advantage. Billboards also have the advantage of being relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, making them great options for long-term marketing strategies.
Another common type of outdoor advertising lies in the use of street furniture. Street furniture refers to the use of any surfaces within the public space. Ads on benches, posters plastered to fences, and stickers slapped on to, well, just about anything and everything all fall under the realm of street furniture advertising. Similar to the use of billboards, this method of advertising relies on passers-by and is immobile in nature. It’s also typically done on a much smaller yet more widespread scale, which can be both an advantage and disadvantage in terms of effectiveness.
One of the best advantages of using this method of advertising is that it can be free, or at the very least, quite inexpensive to implement. Unfortunately, the longevity of such advertising efforts might be its greatest disadvantage. Weather and vandalism can both impact your message, and the fast-paced atmosphere of the city might mean that your efforts are quickly replaced with others. However, with consistency, the gritty, urban feel of such marketing can really resonate with a younger clientele. Especially when coupled with mystery or creative uses of materials, street furniture ads can be magnetizing.
The use of public transportation spaces is another highly sought-after method of outdoor marketing for obvious reasons. These ads are often mobile and have the ability to reach all corners of a given city. Posters located in and around bus shelters, inside waiting rooms or public transit vehicles, or even those on the sides of buses can all have a wide impact, especially in cities with a high percentage of public transit use. Less commonly thought of options, within the realm of transportation, are those available at airports or in taxis and ride-share vehicles as well.
Of course, the mobility of this form of advertising makes it highly effective at reaching a variety of potential customers. In fact, key placements might even reach a good number of tourists or travelers, stretching your customer reach well beyond an ad’s physical location. However, by focusing on public transportation, the variety of viewers is actually a bit lower than with other forms. This can also be one of the more competitive and thus more expensive strategies as well. Particularly in high-trafficked areas, there might be waiting lists of companies vying for the same ad space.
Slightly less conventional than the previously mentioned methods, guerilla marketing is a more modern and innovative approach for boosting name recognition and making an impression. Guerilla marketing relies on surprise, in-person forms of advertising, such as the passing out of flyers or choreographed flash mobs. This strategy allows companies and advertising agents to stretch their creative muscles, which means that there is really no limit to the forms it can take.
There’s no doubt guerilla marketing can be extremely effective, but with a lot of variety in style, comes a lot of variety in the market. Some customers shy away from personal interactions, but others love to be included in the fun. Highly visual strategies might have the advantage of being shared online well after the marketing event, so spread and longevity might be pluses as well. The weather and other outdoor factors like foot traffic, brand competition, etc. might have a negative effect on this strategy, however.
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so whichever strategy you choose, it will without a doubt have an impact on a given market. The key is finding the best combination for you, your brand, and your target customers.