What is Out of Home Advertising All About?

Written by: Alma Escudero and David Leo

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising, also called outdoor advertising, outdoor media, and out-of-home media, is advertising experienced outside of the home. This includes billboards, wallscapes, and posters seen while “on the go”. It also includes place-based media seen in places such as convenience stores, medical centers, salons, and other brick-and-mortar venues. OOH advertising formats fall into four main categories: billboards, street furniture, transit, and alternative.

These various formats account for thousands of locations and millions of screens and faces around the world.In a time when everyone is always online, outdoor advertising is sometimes treated as an afterthought by marketers looking for efficient ways to connect with their audiences. This is a mistake, especially considering big tech companies are some of the biggest buyers in the out-of-home space.

As you get started in the Out-of-home advertising space, here are some things you should know about the medium, including its history, some benefits and drawbacks and where it will be going in the future.

History of OOH Advertising

The most traditional form of OOH advertising can be seen through the use of billboard advertisements, presenting large-scale advertisements on boards near high-traffic areas such as along busy roads and highways for brands to promote new products. 

Billboards and OOH advertising gained prominence during the 19th century as a way to promote traveling circuses, shows and early form movies. It is the most common form of OOH advertising seen worldwide as over 4,900 billboards have been erected and implemented around the U.S and China, who are the world’s leaders in billboard manufacturing. 

Billboard advertisements are designed to catch a person’s attention and create a memorable impression very quickly, leaving the reader thinking about the advertisement after they have driven past it. They have to be readable in a very short time because they are usually read while being passed at high speeds. Thus there are usually only a few words, in large print, and a humorous or arresting image in brilliant color. Some billboard designs spill outside the actual space given to them by the billboard, with parts of figures hanging off the billboard edges or jutting out of the billboard in three dimensions. 

One notable shift in the ways of traditional billboard advertising has been marketed, has been the transition to a more digital product. Digital Out-of-home advertising (DOOH) and digital billboards show varying imagery and text created with computer programs and software. Digital billboards can be designed to display running text, have several different displays from the same company, or provide several companies a certain time slot during the day. Flexible and real-time scheduling can decrease traditional upkeep and maintenance costs, and some billboards may measure audiences or serve dynamic content.

(Drake’s 2021 album Certified Lover Boy promoted on billboards at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, bringing plenty of eyes and attention to his release)

Transitioning to a more digital landscape is not the only way that OOH advertising has branched off from its traditional roots, as now many more companies are looking to the streets for mobile ways to promote their products.

Mobile Billboards

Mobile billboards are out-of-home advertisements that move every which way because they’re displayed on vehicles of any kind. Mobile billboard advertising uses vinyl posters and can also now include electronic screens to present advertising to consumers along directed routes of traffic. 

Sometimes positioned outside of major events or at busy intersections, mobile billboards alert people of products or services that best fit the vibe of the location they’re in. Many mobile billboards are equipped with retargeting technologies to optimize maximum value and exposure for the client and their business. 

Companies like Movia let you rent out a fleet of mobile billboards as their rates vary depending on a variety of factors including size, duration and campaign longevity.  Compared to other advertising channels and other out-of-home deliverables, mobile billboards are more cost effective ways to promote a brand or service. 

When there’s a specific location or time to target the right people, mobile billboards can swoop in to meet the right eyes and capture the most suitable demographic. A typical poster or billboard doesn’t stand out as much as a mobile billboard. Most people aren’t used to seeing messages on wheels, and pedestrians will be drawn to the different kinds of catchiness on the streets. Mobile billboards are more memorable as out-of-home displays because they stand out in common, or uncommon, spaces. 

According to a study by APN, an ad that is on-the-go has a 45% higher peak exposure than static ads. Adding to this, the size of mobile billboards matters in retaining memory in viewers. A typical 10 ft high by 22 ft wide message can’t be missed, especially on street level.

Mobile billboards have the ability to infiltrate a specific market on a hyper-local level through planning specific routes by the means of intelligent mapping software and GPS signals. They can also target based on consumer interests. In saying that, mobile billboards can arrive outside of sports games highly targeting fans leaving the stadium. This form of audience segmentation makes for the best impressions. Adding to this, audiences can be captured through their smartphones in the vicinity of a mobile billboard. Targeted ads from the advertised company can hit their mobile devices through GPS enabling and WiFi making sure the message lasts longer.

While mobile billboards are one form of OOH advertising that has been becoming increasingly more popular over the past few years, there’s also another form of OOH advertising that involves vehicles and that is truckside/transit advertising.

Advantages of OOH Advertising

Here are five key benefits of out-of-home (OOH) advertising:

  1. Get brand awareness at an affordable price

One of the best reasons to invest in OOH advertising is that it is an incredibly affordable way to reach a wide audience and build brand awareness.

It is easy to compare the Cost Per Impression (CPM) of OOH advertising to other types of ads like online campaigns, radio ads, etc, and there is no question OOH is one of the most affordable options.

Even when some OOH advertisements can be more expensive than others, this kind of ad offers high value to businesses if it is perfectly managed. Nowadays, is so common to cross by OOH advertisements several times a week and you may recognize some of the brands on a list even if you never buy anything from them.

Although, some of them are more clear focus, like mobile billboards and truck advertsiging that follows a especific and well planed route in order to reach the precise audience. 

That is why OOH is the greatest opportunity for your company if you are trying to get your name known with little investment.

If you need an ad with a bigger size reach, OOH advertising is the best choice. As this Nielsen study shows almost 80% of people will notice OOH advertising on a weekly basis.

Since the decline of radio and cable TV and the growing use of ad blockers it is obvious other advertising platforms will miss some demographics. So, if you are trying to connect with the public on a wider basis, then make OOH advertising a formal consideration.

(Image Source)

The annual Spotify Wrapped campaign ignites nostalgia in its users with #OOH ads that highlight the most popular songs and podcasts listened to this decade.  

3. Key driver of customers 

Another big advantage of OOH advertising is the consumer engagement you can get if you decide to make a combination of digital campaigns to drive conversion/traffic.

Recent studies have shown that people feel more conformable clicking on an online ad if they have previously been exposed to OOH advertising from the same business.

Remember that you can help your website redirect people to a particular landing page or with the use of a specific hashtag on social media with an OOH ad.

Don’t forget to do your research before landing an OOH ad, know your target, know the market, and get the best out of your investment – rather than working in indistinct. –

4. Design influence 

If you have a business with visually appealing products or services would not be better to create videos, pictures, and design highlighting their attributes? 

OOH advertising works perfectly for businesses or brands who are looking to influence potential customers with powerful designs. With good take videos of your products and well-planned storytelling that helps you illustrate the best qualities of your product or service and makes your potential customers connect or re-connect with you.


5. Targeted Audiences

Did you know with OOH advertising targeting your audiences can be as easy as with an online ad? especially targeting a specific group of people at a more local level.

OOH advertising gives you the opportunity to select TV screens near business locations that will be collating with your ideal customers. To give an example, a mall is a great location to advertise a new travel agency that is promoting easy family, couple, and solo trips to Cancun. Kind of like, promoting a new flavor of Vodka, use OOH if you want to reach young adults.


In conclusion, OOH advertisement has been in the market for a very long time, helping people to reach their audiences as best and easily as they can to make a business grow. Also, with Outdoor advertising, you can make your ROI or CPM increase, and in some cases more than with the help of other ads, even when they are preferable for the audience as they are asked to keep on track.

With all the outdoor advertising options available these days, it’s just a matter of knowing your audience and finding the right ways to reach them.

Talk to a Mobile Billboard specialist today

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