Why Location is Important in OOH Advertising

The Fate of the Furious billboard at the Eaton Center.

When it comes to out-of-home (OOH) advertising, location is perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider when deciding on a marketing strategy. Unlike TV, online, or radio ads, OOH is the only advertising medium that is able to change its location to maximize the amount of impressions it creates. Whether you’re using billboards, posters, or mobile truck-side ads, location becomes crucial in captivating a targeted audience at the right place and time. Perhaps the most important aspects to consider when choosing where to place your OOH ads, are the traffic in the area, how legible your ad will be from a distance, and the demographics of the population within that area. This article will assess these factors and provide some exciting examples of OOH advertisements that were successful in making an impression on their audience.


When considering the placement of your OOH advertisement, you want to make sure that you’re reaching as many people as possible and making the most amount of impressions. This means that ads should be placed in high traffic areas such as shopping malls, highways, busy intersections, or subway stations. When placing ads along a highway or intersection, it’s important to consider which side of the road you are placing the ad. For example, if your ad is directed to a store in the mall you would want to place it on the side of the road that’s heading towards it. According to the Canadian Out of Home Marketing and Measurement Bureau (COMMB), one in four Canadians use transit weekly, and these transit riders spend over an hour daily commuting, therefore it’s important to reach these audiences during their travels to and from work. Furthermore, almost 75% of consumers take action after seeing a place-based ad, whether that be visiting the businesses’ website or looking for more information about the product or service. If you have some eye-catching creative signage ideas on your mind, you can reach a larger consumer base with OOH campaigns placed in the right locations.

When it comes to placing advertisements in indoor locations such as shopping malls, it’s important to note the time of year when the malls are most busy, such as during Black Friday or the winter holidays to maximize the amount of impressions.

Legibility of Ad

A Netflix billboard with an image of an astronaut and the text 'Shaping the future of entertainment'.

Another crucial factor to consider is the legibility of your OOH advertisement. When taking into account the placement of the ad on the roads, whether that’s city streets or highways, it’s important to consider the distance from where passersby will be able to see your ad. This means checking that the ad has bold enough text for viewers to be able to clearly read it and images that are large enough to be perfectly sharp. The font should be large and bold to ensure legibility and the images should have enough contrast to not blur into the background. To further expand on fonts, the style of the chosen font should be read with ease, so avoid using overly stylized fonts such as cursive. The kerning, also known as the spacing between letters, should also be even and not too close together. Another factor to take note of, is the height of the ad; it shouldn’t be too high or too low, otherwise the passersby will drive right by it without even taking notice. By making sure your advertisement is as legible as possible, it will be hard for anyone to miss.

Demographics of Population

One of the most important aspects of marketing is being able to target the right audience at the right time based on socio-demographic data and the spending habits of consumers in that area. The Arbitron National In-Car Study demonstrated that 58% of people that viewed an OOH ad learned about an event they were interested in attending, 58% learned about a restaurant they later visited, and 56% talked about something funny they saw on a roadside billboard. This data demonstrates how crucial it is to target the right audience at the right time and get consumers thinking and talking about your product or service. Furthermore, different locations attract different types of consumers. For example, entertainment centers such as shopping malls and cinemas are perfect locations to target families with children. When targeting millennials and gen Z, it’s often in your best interest to include your social media channels in your ads since these groups love when advertisers combine OOH with online ads.


A Bumble billboard with Priyanka Chopra on the cover and the text 'The social network by women, for everyone'.

Bumble is a social networking application catered to young adults that want to find friends or a partner. The company recently created an ad campaign in Mumbai, India that featured brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra, a famous actress and singer. The billboards were placed at central locations in Mumbai with heavy traffic and the highest youth population. Location was a vital factor in where these billboards would be placed since they had to attract the young population of India and what better place to erect these billboards than Hill Road, one of Mumbai’s busiest traffic areas with shopping centers and restaurants for miles. The billboards were also placed in other key locations, such as Colaba market, another vibrant shopping area that lots of young people visit daily. The campaign even took it a step further by adding other marketing mediums such as bus shelters, press, and print campaigns to maximize overall impressions. Furthermore, including Priyanka Chopra in the advertisements was a smart move as most of the young population knows who she is and an image of her would definitely catch their eye. The Bumble ad campaign demonstrates how important it is to think about who your target audience is and be able to use that to your advantage.


An image of a truck side ad for the company Casper in a neighborhood.

Casper is well known for their high quality mattresses, pillows, and bed frames that are optimally engineered for the best sleep possible. In 2019, Casper decided to open two new locations in Calgary and Vancouver. They partnered with Movia Media to create a mobile truck-side ad campaign that would help them reach their target audience in the most efficient way possible. The most important aspect of the ad campaign was to reach people where they would be thinking about sleep the most; on their commute, at home, or just running their daily errands. With the use of 10 trucks over the span of 24 weeks, Casper was able to earn 104 million impressions, leading to an extremely successful store launch. This ad campaign demonstrated how crucial it is to be able to reach your target audience at the right place and time – in this case when they would most likely want to take a nap. By creating an efficient marketing strategy, Casper was able to save money on traditional advertising costs such as TV or radio ads, and still effectively reach as many people as possible.


An image of the CN tower and KitchenAid mixer, both lit up the same colors.

What better way to showcase your product than to create an enormous DOOH advertisement right in front of the CN Tower? This is exactly what KitchenAid, a kitchen appliances company, aimed to do when they erected their enormous light-up stand mixer logo. The brand showed off their color options by syncing the color of the mixer to the CN Tower’s light-up colors at night. What made the location of this advertisement so perfect was that it was very close to the CN tower, making them both the most prominent things to the viewer’s eye at night. The legibility of the mixer was also perfectly displayed, as it could be seen from very far away and you could still tell that it was a KitchenAid mixer ad. By targeting as much of Toronto’s population as possible at the same time, KitchenAid was successful in creating an ad that would generate the most amount of impressions. Not to mention the digital ad was super creative and a fun sight to see.

Final Words

Location can play a huge factor in the success of an OOH advertisement since it’s the only advertising medium that is able to move around to different areas effortlessly. Whether you choose to use a digital or static billboard, a creative mobile truck-side ad, or an interesting poster, the first and perhaps most important step, should be choosing the most appropriate location to place your ads for maximum efficiency and a high return on investment. The perfect marketing strategy would surely take into account the areas that ads should be placed based on the demographics of the surrounding population, the legibility of the advertisement, as well as the traffic in the area. It becomes evident that the best placed OOH ads are the ones that get the most impressions, and in turn, the biggest return on investment.

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