Planning, Implementing, and Tracking Your OOH Ad: The Steps from Start to Finish

coco cola billboard

So, you’ve decided you want to take your business’s marketing to the next level with the help of Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising? Or perhaps you’re trying to get a sense of your options. First of all, good choice! Among the great deal of advantages that come with this approach, OOH has now replaced television as the single biggest driver of brand awareness and conversions at some of the most cost-effective prices. That’s to say, you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options—after all, OOH is simply an umbrella term for a variety of different advertising mediums that are all conducted outside—things like billboards, mobile ads, interior train ads, and digital ads all fall into this category. On top of that, each method requires unique geo-planning, implementing, and tracking. But no need to stress!

We’ve laid out this step-by-step guide on how to properly choose which OOH method is right for your business, planning for the most profit-driven locations or routes and tracking the success once your campaign is underway. By the end of this short article, we hope to show you how simple this process really is, and ultimately, we hope to set your company up for success on this exciting undertaking!

Step 1: Planning – Deciding Which OOH Method is Right for Your Business

Like any advertising campaign, the first vital piece of information you need to determine is what results you’re looking to achieve. Are you trying to increase site traffic, app downloads, click-through rates, or maybe you’re simply looking for good ol’ fashion conversions? Whatever your company has decided is the goal of their paid advertisement, let that be the determinant of the type of OOH method you choose. Outlining your budgetary constraints is another key component to planning your marketing efforts.

While some goals may be attainable to a certain degree from a variety of OOH mediums, here are some tried and true strategies to help you meet your marketing goals. For the sake of simplicity, let’s consider two common campaign goals; click-through rates and conversions.

For Click-Through Rates and Conversion-Driven Campaigns: Locational Mobile Billboard Advertisements

So, maybe you want to get the word out  about a flash sale your business is running or perhaps you wish to increase your Google Quality Score. Whatever the case may be, increasing your click-through rate is a solid strategy to increase foot traffic on your website, drive the success of an ad campaign and your overall conversion rates.

A study found that 48% of us are more likely to click a digital ad after seeing the same out-of-home ad. If your goal is to increase your click-through rate, consider a cross-channel marketing campaign! For this example, let’s consider Ulta Beauty’s successful mobile billboard campaign that utilized location and behavioral targeting to achieve a 0.84% CTR on their holiday offer. Along with strategic geo-fencing, Ulta targeted beauty shoppers to run as successful of a campaign as possible. For beauty enthusiasts in close proximity to an Ulta store, they were shown a mobile ad displaying their $5 savings deal—compounded by a mobile billboard with a complimentary ad, customers flocked to the beauty store with their discount in-hand, which ended up driving their CTR.

Step 2: Implementing and Designing Your OOH Campaign

Assess Your Competition

Knowing who and what you’re up against when it comes to running a successful business is essential in every aspect of your operations, not just advertising. So, when you’re planning an OOH ad, this should be no exception. Look around, research, and see what your competitors are up to. How does your product offering beat that of your rivals? What are their weaknesses? How can you make your campaign better than theirs? These are questions you should be asking yourself when planning your next campaign. This exercise should be able to help you formulate the type of message you want to get across to your audience, and further set yourself up for success in the long-run.

Designing Your OOH Campaign

Now that you have a good idea of what your goals are, assessed your competition, and mapped out your marketing message, now’s the time to get creative! There are so many different ways you can go about this process but to name a few, it can be by utilizing storytelling devices, bright visuals, or leveraging trends to make your ad go viral. Creating visual content that is eye-catching and creative can differentiate your audience from a localized to an international one.

Remember the Solar Eclipse in 2015? Oreo left no crumbs on the table with their quick-witted #OreoEclipse Digital OOH (DOOH) billboard. In just two hours of the campaign being displayed, the DOOH generated 20 million impressions and more than 6,000 tweets from 40 different countries—all translating to a 59% sales increase that month and soon after, getting named one of the most successful campaigns of that year. Using real-time astronomical data, Oreo was able to mirror the exact time and trajectory of the sun and moon for each display site around the world.

Location, Location, Location

One of the most imperative aspects of an OOH campaign is deciding on a location or route where your ad will be on display. Unlike digital advertising, a billboard or poster needs to be physically in front of your audience to render any sort of impression. High traffic locations are prime spots for OOH, with that said however, some high traffic areas attract different audiences. For example, malls like Saks Off Fifth attract a higher income segment, while large shopping centers like The Mall of America garner many tourists and low-to-medium income segments.

In the case of billboards, you may want to consider locations like highways, busy roads, or malls. For DOOH , while you can see them on the highways and common billboard spots as well, then try commercial intersections like New York’s Times Square, Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas, and the Las Vegas Strip.

Step 3: Tracking the Effectiveness of Your OOH Ad

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty—aka numbers. Like any marketing investment, you want to be able to track the ROI of your campaign and ultimately measure the effectiveness of your advertisements. We’re happy to report that OOH ads are more accurately measurable than most advertising mediums thanks to technological factors and the sheer amount of time this method has been around for. Here are a handful of tracking measures you may use once your OOH ad is underway.


Impressions are the holy grail when it comes to measuring your OOH ad. At the end of the day, impressions refer to who your ad is reaching and are typically provided in the form of weekly figures. Impressions is the measurement of the average number of times an individual consumer views your advertisement. This data can be a collection of information that ranges from traffic numbers, to travel surveys and data modelling.

Globally Accepted Standards for Audience Measurement

First and foremost, OOH is the only other medium aside from TV that has established globally-accepted standards for audience measurement. In an article discussing this functionality, “these standards have been sponsored by the global research organization ESOMAR and endorsed by all major industry stakeholders such as World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), The European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA) and the 4As. The OOH guidelines have set a common ground for both international and local best practice and research standards”.

With the help of these industry standards, marketers can draw on them throughout each step of their OOH undertaking; before, during, and after.

Effective Audience Measurement System

As far as targeting goes, knowing who you want to see your OOH is a vital factor to be considered throughout your entire campaign—all the way into measuring and tracking your ad’s success. Think about it this way; if you’re an athletic shoe company and you wanted to advertise your new basketball sneakers, you wouldn’t necessarily measure the success of your campaign by  the amount of elderly women’s impressions.

This is where Census information and surveys are used to provide demographic and psychographic information that measures OOH advertising. The data is said to be “modeled into millions of trip paths, which helps advertisers understand who is being reached by their content”.

Digital Trails

Digital trails are a simple yet effective approach to measuring your OOH ad. Say you include a promo code on your mobile ad, or perhaps you link your social media accounts—this is all traceable data that can be linked to social media followings and promo code usage in this case.

Looking Forward

It’s been said that OOH advertising has been around for 40,000 years, having been traced back to a cave painting found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, while the first ever billboard was erected in the early 1800’s! Year after year, this medium undergoes enhanced methodology tweaks and advertisers are becoming more and more creative in their approach to their branding. This marketing strategy is some of the most measurable and actionable on the market today and if you haven’t considered OOH in your brand’s advertising yet, we hope that this article has encouraged you to do just that!

Talk to a Mobile Billboard specialist today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *