Is Outdoor Advertising Working?

Making outdoor advertising to stand out to the crowd
Outdoor advertising is a great way to bring your message outside (quite literally) and direct it toward people en masse. Whether geared to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or both, outdoor advertising can bring about tremendous exposure as long as it has been done properly.

The secret is in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of outdoor advertising and how to effectively spread a message when the viewer may take only a glimpse at the billboard, sign, banner, or display that provides it. This form of marketing has been exposing individuals to ads for several decades and has proven that it has significant advantages. To make outdoor advertising stand out to the crowd, it must overcome the downsides and show the prospective customer that it is worth the second glance.
Visibility is by far the greatest benefit of outdoor advertising. This is the prime reason that it is included in marketing campaigns so frequently. The right billboard or banner will be designed to draw and then dominate a person’s view. This way, unlike in the case of print advertising, for example, it is not as easy to simply overlook. Moreover, when properly placed – such as in an active urban intersection or along a busy highway (especially in a section that frequently includes traffic jams, where people have more time to look out their car windows and have a good look at the signs), a single piece of outdoor advertising can have exposure to thousands of individuals every day. As time passes, that number can grow exponentially. The greater the amount of visibility, the larger the number of people who may become customers.
Aside from the amount of exposure outdoor advertising can generate, it also carries the advantage of being quite inexpensive to create – especially in comparison with pricier forms of marketing such as television. Furthermore, the rental of the billboard or banner space itself is typically quite reasonable, depending on where it is and how long it will be posted. When compared to radio and television air time, the bill for outdoor advertising space rental will be notably lower. This can make outdoor advertising a very friendly option for companies who wish to reach a large number of prospective customers, but that don’t have a very big advertising budget.
The challenge with outdoor advertising is to stand out. While visibility is very high with outdoor advertising, this does not necessarily mean that it will attract attention or encourage people to take in the message. This is especially true in areas where outdoor advertising is thick. If a driver heads down a stretch of highway that is lined with billboard after banner, the majority of them will be ignored – even if that driver travels along the same stretch of road on a daily basis. The fact is that no matter how many people can actually see the outdoor advertising, unless it is designed in a way that it stands out and encourages its viewers to internalize its message, it may as well not be there at all. To be successful, outdoor advertising must overcome this problem by drawing the eye and then forcing the viewer to connect with the message, if only for a moment, in order to take in what it means and then act upon it.  
Another area of struggle for outdoor advertising is with a lack of focus in terms of its recipients. Though thousands of people may be viewing the billboard or banner every day – perhaps even several times a day – and they may even be paying attention to its message, if the right people are not seeing the outdoor advertising, then the message is lost on individuals who will not become customers. While some kinds of advertising, such as magazine ads or email marketing, permit a company to aim its message specifically toward its target market, only the people who happen to travel past outdoor marketing receive its message – no matter who they are. Though outdoor marketing isn’t completely capable of niche marketing, companies can use common sense to use placement to their advantage. For example, a banner inside a bus shelter located outside a gym would be a great place to advertise an athletic shoe. Though many people will see the ad, there is an opportunity to target the people who use the gym; prospective customers.
By using outdoor advertising creatively, a company has the capability of gaining mass exposure and spreading its message over a very large number of people for a price that is notably lower than many other forms of marketing. Outdoor advertising remains an important complement to a marketing campaign, as long as adequate thought and expertise can be applied to make it stand out and target the right viewers.