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Four Questions To Help You Make The Most Of Your OOH Advertising Budget In 2022

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Chris Gadek is VP of Growth at AdQuick and an early-stage startup growth leader with a focus on scalable & ROI positive marketing programs.

Bus stop with blank billboard
 According to Gartner’s CMO Spend survey, marketing budgets fell from about 11% of company revenue in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021. This begs the question: Is leaner post-pandemic ad spending here to stay? Only time will tell. But I think it’s a risk for brands to accept trimmed ad budgets as “the new normal” — especially when it comes to outdoor advertising.

PQ Media (via Digiday) forecasted that out-of-home (OOH) advertising revenue would grow 6.6% in 2021. And according to recent figures from the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), 88% of the top 100 OOH advertisers increased their OOH budgets in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2020. Fifty-one percent of this market segment more than doubled their spend.

As you continue planning in the new year, consider upgrading OOH to be a key player in your marketing mix. Before planning your next campaign, here are four questions to ask to make the most of your OOH budget. 

No. 1: What’s going on in your target markets?

Before you launch an advertising campaign, you need to understand the ins and outs of your target markets. Make sure you gather market-specific insights, including cost data on the lowest and highest advertising unit prices, average CPM (cost per thousand advertising impressions), potential reach and ad unit availability.

Beyond that, it’s important to consider these questions: Are you seeking saturation or domination of a specific market? Do you want to spread your coverage across numerous regions or target fewer, more select geographic areas to extend your media budget? No matter which route you take, gather data about DMAs (designated market areas) and zip codes nationwide to get a clearer picture and help you optimize your campaigns in the markets that matter most for you.

No. 2: Are there similar markets you should be advertising in?

When it comes to OOH, many marketers can’t help but zero in on top-tier markets. But it’s a pesky habit. Besides the fact that those markets are typically expensive, exclusively focusing on places like Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago also risk limiting brand exposure in other powerful markets, even if they have less cachet. You don’t want to make the same mistake. Remember, consumers are everywhere, and various markets can drive similar positive results.

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Say you’d like to build upon campaigns in Seattle and Miami — identify look-alike markets that share similar characteristics. By looking beyond top-tier markets, you may be able to save money and gain efficiency.

No. 3: What’s in your creative stack?

Creativity is limitless with OOH — and that’s good for your budget. For starters, there’s an antiquated notion that outdoor advertising is limited to billboards, when in fact the medium is ripe with ad formats of all shapes and sizes. From bus benches and digital kiosks to skywriting and everything in between, a mix of OOH formats can enable advertisers to take their campaigns further and launch well-rounded and interesting campaigns.

One way to see what is working in the real world is to explore successful creative executions from past campaigns. And don’t neglect to consider the full range of out-of-home ad formats available, from wild postings, mass-transit wraps, bus shelters and street furniture to point-of-sale displays, kiosks and, yes, static, mobile and digital billboards from around the country. Referencing what’s been successful and finding inspiration in past creative can help your team have a better eye for what can work for your campaign today.

No. 4: What kind of investment are you looking to make?

To nail down your specific investment level, start by identifying your goals: Are you looking to introduce your brand? Do you want to drive consumers to a physical location, make online purchases or engage on social media? Once you understand your goal and have a sense of your budget, you can take the pulse of your industry by exploring what your competitors are doing. By determining your goals, you can pinpoint just how much of an investment you should make in different areas to see results.

Your team should keep these considerations in mind as it works to shine a light on target markets and gain insights into the best regions for their needs. These steps can help you protect your OOH advertising budget in the new year and beyond. The only thing left to do is get started.