6 keys to outdoor advertising success after the pandemic

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The past two years have been a rollercoaster for businesses reliant on foot traffic, and the ever-changing forms of Covid-19 have made its true end uncertain. According to McKinsey, endemicity (meaning we’re basically stuck with it) remains the most likely scenario as society learns to make future choices that allow us to co-exist with the virus. This approach will have far-reaching implications for businesses. Specifically, it will require adapting advertising strategies to meet customers where they currently are.

As our society adjusts to new norms, including remote and hybrid workplaces, brands are tasked with meeting consumers in their home territories. Fortunately, outdoor advertising (OOH) is uniquely qualified to meet this need, as location-specific placements can now reach the exact audiences you want to engage, wherever they are. This makes it an essential aspect of a marketing plan today and in the long term.

Since OOH is also one of the most profitable mediums available, demand is only increasing, meaning supplies will become scarce. However, with early planning, you can use the following tactics to get the best deals available.

1. Make the market more competitive

Competition never hurts anyone, and you, as a customer, will score points by forcing vendors to compete for your advertising dollars. The OOH landscape is huge, but the biggest player only controls about 15% of the inventory. The remaining 85% is owned by over 1,100 small media owners, leading to increased rivalry and better pricing. So when bidding on a campaign, give all media owners an equal opportunity to compete on price and provide you with an offer that will increase your return on investment.

Related: Understand how the outdoor advertising ecosystem works

2. Demand transparency

In this highly competitive field, pricing can be a sensitive topic. Demand full pricing transparency to avoid hidden costs being passed on to you. Whether you’re buying through a third-party partner or platform or working with an agency, check upfront that the prices you’re getting aren’t always coming from the same vendor or group of vendors. (This either means the third party hasn’t done their homework to give you the best price, or there’s a private deal going on that could signify bias.) Most third-party partners act in the best interest of their customers; just make sure the one you’re using does.

3. Use data wisely

OOH advertising has evolved to the point where you can now target consumers with specific data-driven attributes. You just need high-quality, up-to-date information to match a target audience with a target market. With access to a wide range of behavioral and demographic data, you can feel confident to expand into new markets and you can also locate, engage and convert the type of high-value audience that never previously found only in major metropolitan areas.

Data isn’t just about audiences either: you also need to get historical pricing and vendor performance data (pre and post-pandemic) for every placement you’re considering. This will tell you if the price being offered is a bargain, within a reasonable price range, or ridiculously expensive, and give you a clear indication of what kind of ROI you can expect from your campaign.

Related: 4 Tips for Designing Engaging Outdoor Advertising in 2022

4. Leverage Lookalike Audiences

Instead of reinventing the wheel (or the billboard), leveraging a lookalike audience option will give you access to the same consumers in the areas they now frequent. If your target customer previously lived in New York, LA, or San Francisco and regularly commuted through Grand Central Station or LAX, they may not be doing so as often after the pandemic. It doesn’t mean that customers or their needs have changed, just their journey. They always have the same wants and needs no matter where they live.

5. Measure to minimize waste

Measuring the performance and results of OOH ad campaigns used to be a real challenge, but that has changed. Marketers now have multiple ways to track their effectiveness in real time, whether the goal is to raise awareness, promote recall, or drive conversions in-store or online.

In fact, with digital signage (DOOH), advertisers can test, edit, and even trade creatives mid-campaign based on performance metrics, meaning you don’t waste a single second running an ad that does not work. It’s a great way to maximize an advertising budget.

Related: Calculating your advertising budget

6. Increase your ROI value

OOH might be one of the most cost-effective methods of advertising, but that doesn’t mean you should get less value when you spend money on it. Use current, real-time data to drive your planning, purchasing, and creative production. Find the right platforms to reach your customers, test each option before running it, and track overall performance.

When the pandemic is over, it will be a whole new world. For your brand to flourish, you need to change your outlook, update your approach, and find ways to meet your target customers in the real world.

About Cedric Lloyd

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