Outdoor Advertising is the Next Big Trend 2019

We know that our smartphones can deliver advertisements to us in digital and interactive ways, and can interrupt our daily cellular duties, but outdoor advertising has the power to provoke more conversation. With current advertising achievements such as Netflix taking over the billboards in the Sunset Strip in LA and Link NYC using digital billboards to track neighbourhood data, outdoor advertising is far from ancient. There are modern ways to showcase your brand in an out-of-home environment that can compel consumers to follow suit. Let’s discuss how this works in 2019 and why outdoor advertising is far and wide an effective way to advertise.

Smartphone vs. Billboard

There is a special moment that a consumer will have with a brand or service featured on a billboard than that of a smartphone because of real-time contact. A quick, impactful glance can turn into a lasting impression if the billboard sticks. With smartphones, pop-up ads or banners are often ignored or blocked so the advertising will be left forgotten. It’s true that people spend more time behind their phones now than ever before, and they still look at them when driving, but the chances someone will be annoyed by a digital ad surpasses that of a billboard impression. Billboard ads precede smartphone ads, and could be argued a dated advertising platform, but their consumer impact doesn’t go unmarked. I mean, according to Outdoor Advertising Association of America, for every dollar spent on an OOH ad it will deliver $5.97 in ROI, which is 40 percent more than digital search. And that is just the beginning of the payoff. In 2015, outdoor advertising grew from $7 billion to $7.3 billion according to AdAge. Billboard ads have the option to team up with digital to offer location data and tech sensors that better target pedestrians. It’s very obvious for advertisers to use digital to target and lock in consumers, but there’s a golden ticket behind billboard advertising that shouldn’t be slept on.


The next big thing in advertising could very well be the thing that's been kicking this whole time: billboards

What’s so Trendy?

The resurgence of billboard advertising as a desirable and likely advertising platform is partly in thanks to Apple, Google, Amazon, and Netflix (four of the ten largest spenders on billboards) taking up outdoor advertising space. These tech firms found it effective to use billboard advertising, as opposed to strictly digital, to reveal their benefits and new products to large audiences. Billboards are fixed, in the same location, and at a certain transit point which allows tight information to get into consumer’s heads whether they want it or not. Most likely, the billboard will let the consumer know exactly what they want or need and will deliver that answer. Billboards with a digital touch to them offer consumers the choice to interact, to push the intention to advertise further. A startup called AdQuick, which develops new targeting and measuring tools for outdoor ads, partnered with Initialized Capital and Reddit to use digital voice assistants to answer questions of people passing by the billboard. The combination of digital impact and static design takes billboard advertising to new, trendy heights. Netflix launched a billboard campaign in France that placed digital screens on outdoor boards to show GIFs from their list of original series. The unique selling point about these billboard ads is that the GIFs would react to the current events happening in France during that time. Such as when France was eliminated during the World Cup, billboards showed Martin Freeman upset with a tagline suggesting people take their mind off this loss by watching Netflix. This is a clever and trendy response to digital billboard advertising.


Netflix GIF ads are a unique outdoor execution that captures the interest of modern consumers

The Longevity of Billboards

Smartphone advertising is great for targeting, but outdoor advertising encourages online searches for everybody to use. Billboards are resistant to defeat because they deliver to more than bargained for and now have the power to team with digital companies. People advertising on digital will likely look at outdoor advertising efforts to learn from their concise messaging and distinct voices. Every outdoor ad has a certain personality, whether serious or not, humorous or dry, that digital ads take longer to understand. The personality of a billboard is revealed in seconds. Billboards ads stand their ground because they can be placed in the most dynamic of settings. For example, the Times Square District Management Association reports that more than 335,000 people enter the square everyday, and take selfies in front of the large-scale ads, so the opportunities of engagement with billboard advertising is high. On the flip end, a billboard on the side of a country road will be an arresting image for a driver. Seeing that lone soul of an ad can spark conversation later on because of how quiet the initial surroundings are. Adding retro flair to an outdoor advertisement can elevate the meaning of the company, but pairing it with tracking tech smartphone technology can take it to the next level.

These Snapchat ads in Times Square do more than just turn head, they create lasting impressions

Consumers expect to see outdoor advertising, but they never know where they’re going to see it. Outdoor advertising can show up on glass windows, gas pump handles, wall murals etc. and they all have the ability to connect with the consumer meeting its eyes. With new tracking technology, billboard advertising is making a splash among digital enthusiasts. According to ad consultancy WARC, mobile click-through rates increases by 15 percent when accompanied by an OOH and 46 percent of U.S. consumers seeing an OOH ad used a search engine following up. On their own or partnering with digital marketing, outdoor advertising is a trend that has a lot more in store for the modern day consumer of advertising.

For more exceptional examples of outdoor advertising, check out Canva’s curated list: 



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