Technology has been synonymous with big brand digital names such as Apple, Google, Snapchat, and Instagram for as long as we can remember. These online platforms have created brand awareness, transforming digital marketing as we know it. However recently, these tech companies have gone old school, committing to outdoor billboard advertising and Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising in general. Ironical, isn’t it!
It’s not surprising that OOH advertising companies have experienced a sustained increase in sales. These companies provide customers with exciting and informative content about different brands in ways that have been unavailable in the past. As a result, tech startups and the top technology brands, including Apple, Microsoft, and Dell, have joined forces and are investing massively in marketing their brand names through the traditional means of OOH advertising.
A Neilson study found that 46% of adults have looked through search engines such as Google and Yahoo for information after seeing or hearing something from a billboard. They also found that 40% of people used a Facebook page or posted on Facebook after seeing an OOH ad campaign compared to 32% of those who saw the ad online.
There is no doubt that small tech startups are not the only ones looking for OOH advertising to market their businesses; the top tech companies such as Google, Instagram, and Facebook are also utilizing these ads to market their products. Here are some examples:
The two best things about OOH advertising are the environment and creativity. Google ran a beautiful Ok Google ad campaign in New York City to promote its rebranded mobile application. The campaign’s advertiser, 72andSunny, brought out an array of outdoor ads throughout New York City. These ads encouraged people to turn on their mobile phones and do a little research about the app. “Google search has always been about inspiring curiosity and enabling discovery.”- says Google.
According to a report released by Facebook, blending outdoor advertising with Facebook advertising can facilitate campaigns reaching the target audience more quickly.
The study found that this produced more brand and product awareness in Europe among Gen Z and Millennials than the general population. Furthermore, the study found that young people were influenced by these channels more than by any other form of entertainment.
Using the User Generated Content (UGC) campaign, Apple launched the #ShotOnIphone hashtag campaign to promote the iPhone’s new camera features, encouraging people to share their best inspiring images. The program was later expanded to Instagram, where the images were tagged with the hashtag #ShotOnIphone.
Another example is the promotional activity that was conducted to support the hit NBC show, “This Is Us”, where fans were encouraged to share their real-life moments and the pictures were displayed at Times Square.
At the end of 2018, the audio streaming and media service provider Spotify launched a series of ad campaign formats for their outdoor holiday campaigns that were very creative and refreshing. The ads showcased snappy quotes on billboards designed based on their user’s data.
The campaign in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, also included cut-outs of top pop artists such as Bruno Mars, Cardi B, and Ed Sheeran’s album ‘Divide’, using the lyrics and the album titles as motivational quotes.
These ads radiate such joy, humor, and happiness among the people engaged in their everyday busy life.
As we all know, the COVID-19 Pandemic began in the year 2020, which meant strict guidelines such as wearing masks and maintaining a 6-foot social distance in order to control the spread of the virus.
While a lot of people ignored the need to do their part, two Thai students from Miami Ad School in Hamburg partnered up and made a bold new billboard campaign that included spoilers from famous Netflix shows such as, Stranger things, Kingdom, and Love is Blind, in order to encourage viewers to stay at home.
Another clever yet creative idea by Netflix was the analogue advertisement design in the UK for the BBC show Dracula that aired on Netflix in the US and Canada. It simply used props and lights to create that wow-effect.
Now that we have seen the remarkable examples of how the big tech giants are creative with their billboard designs, it’s very clear by reviewing statistics that outdoor advertising is much more engaging and reaches your target audience much easier compared to online marketing.
Tech Startups and Billboards
Root Insurance Co
In the year 2018, Root Insurance Co, a company that was founded in 2015, became the first insurance tech startup company to achieve significant success. The company placed dozens of billboards across the city of Columbus where it’s headquartered. This marketing strategy created a massive rise in brand exposure.
“Google Tracks You, But We Don’t”, is an advertisement that DuckDuckGo, a private internet search engine company, placed on billboards in San Francisco for $7,000 that doubled their sales.
According to a study by Arbitron conducted in 2013, more than half of the people who saw some form of an advertisement on the roadside told other people about it. The study also found that this strategy does not rely solely on word of mouth. This approach increases some brand awareness as a result of the campaign’s findings. Every third consumer searches for the website from the outdoor advertisement.
Many companies also strive to use this strategy to encourage applicants to apply for jobs. Visier, a Vancouver, BC-based workforce analytics and planning company, used a programming code to attract potential candidates to apply, demonstrating the type of applicants the company requires.
COVID-19 and Tech Brands’ OOH Ad Campaigns
As we all know, COVID-19 will never be like anything we have ever seen in our lifetime, from the way it impacted the world economy, to how it’s affecting our daily lives. This pandemic caused downfalls for many companies, and advertising and media are no exception. Studies show that before the COVID-19 disruption, global advertising spend was expected to increase 7.1% in 2020; however now, it is estimated to shrink by 8.1%. There are some who are afraid that it could be the death of traditional media and OOH advertisements, but the opposite is actually true.
As stated by the president and CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor, Candice Simons explains that outdoor advertising has been able to serve during pandemic days too. In addition to that, many online food services can now be seen on billboards. She also explained that there has been a massive increase in billboard ad requests from clients, where she advised the marketing companies to advertise brands near homes and places like grocery stores and banks. “Think of it as big screens directing people to smaller screens,” Simons says.
As the CEO of Onescreen.ai, Sam Mallikarjunan, says that there is a bright future for OOH advertising companies and that it will soon blossom as businesses look forward to marketing their brands through outdoor advertisements.
“After being forced to connect with each other solely through screens for the past year, most of us are more inclined than ever before to look up, rather than into tiny phone screens, when we’re outside.”
–Sam Mallikarjunan, CEO, OneScreen.ai
Outdoor advertisements are one of the oldest and most traditional ways of promoting brands. Due to the fast-paced world, advancements in technology have brought new changes in the world of marketing. Fortunately, many things are coming up to keep outdoor advertisements alive with the latest technology. There are numerous places where we can find engaging and dazzling outdoor ad campaigns, such as billboards, bus terminals, and transport vehicles. Therefore, the customer engagement results are high for businesses considering outdoor advertisement, regardless of how big their business is. It’s an investment!
“Out” is ‘in’ this year”, says John Gerzema, chief executive of The Harris Poll.
Big companies like Apple, Samsung, Instagram, and Facebook know how powerful billboards or any other form of outdoor advertisement can be and how it can improve our customer network and customer interactions. Without a doubt, we know that outdoor advertisements drive customer actions. We have to understand that it’s not about how much money is spent or how much money is allocated to the marketing area, but it’s about how creative and unique the billboard design can be that will go up on that wall. Because of those giant billboards and outdoor ad campaigns, many people feel a connection to the company. Hence, they do an instant online search about the advertisement, which leaves an impression on those who have not referred to it yet. This is the motivation strategy adopted by all the tech giants.
The Out-of-Home adverts are a smart idea for any big tech company or tech startup, and if they are designed and placed the right way, people are bound to take notice.
Clearly, OOH is here to stay!