Written in the first person by Dan Salganik, Co-Founder at Commooot.
First off, for those of you that don’t have marketing terms swimming around your head day and night, Out of Home marketing (or OOH) is essentially outdoor advertising. Something that you see… outside of your home. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
So what qualifies as OOH marketing?
- Point of sale displays
- Street furniture (i.e. busy shelters, kiosks, telephone booths (those exist still?)
- Transit advertising and wraps (taxis, buses, subways, trains, etc…)
- And essentially anything else that you see outside of your home and digital.
I come from the digital advertising world. My background has been very heavy integrated into digital, video, web, mobile, etc… I know this space and I am constantly trying to keep up with whatever is the latest and greatest at the time (which seems to change by the day).
The digital world is constantly evolving, and congruently, so is the marketing and advertising. We are constantly trying to figure out how to get those 10k, 20k, 100k monthly visitors to click on something, buy something, or sign up to something. That’s a conversion- and conversions correlate to success.
Looking back to the days of display advertising on those crappy ‘early days’ websites, we had relied heavily on generating income (or awareness) through banner ads. Those were great, huh? They looked something like this:
LOL- this example was found on Mashable, here.
And even though this sample was from the dark ages of the internet, to some, I see it as the Industrial Revolution. This was the first time that people were able to become consumers in their homes. No more driving to the store, right?
Well… it actually took consumers quite a while to get used to making purchases on the web. Actually, the internet was not a very trustworthy place for many people at this time.
Enough With The History
I am trying to make a point here. See those ads on the image above? Well, even though our designs have improved, our tracking has improved, and now there are significantly more ways to make a dollar on the web, the world of online advertising hasn’t changed as drastically as we might have thought.
Many agencies still advocate using banner ads (along with a more well-diversified strategy, I hope). And listen, nothing against banner ads. They are a great way to build awareness, push retargeting, and eventually win a sale (through conversion!).
Our friend Neil Patel (if you don’t know his blog, you probably should do some research on him) wrote an article on landing pages that convert, here.
Here’s an example:
Beautiful, isn’t it? Not really…(found here)
As you see, the web hasn’t necessarily changed that much. But that’s all right; that is why we have new mediums like social media, referral marketing, Google Ads, native advertising, influencer marketing, retargeting, and a plethora of other options to choose from.
That was a long-winded way of saying that I LOVE the web and online advertising. So why am I so bullish on OOH Marketing? The stuff that lives off the web?
I’m bullish on OOH because we, as humans, live off the web. I know… it’s hard to believe. Almost seems like a cruel joke, really. But it’s true. It can sometimes feel like we spend so much time on mobile and on the web, that we are sucked into a new dimension comprised of likes, shares, and follows.
And that’s when this term tends to take its truest form: Banner Blindness. What is banner blindness? Wikipedia explains it this way: “Banner blindness is a phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information, which can also be called ad blindness or banner noise.”
So we have banner blindness, and according to Marketingland, 40 percent of us are using an ad blocker to block out those pesky ads. So what does that mean for us marketers? It means that we have to be creative about the way that we market. Otherwise, we’re ad-blocked out of here!
Me, personally, I believe in well-rounded campaigns. I nearly never recommend for my clients to solely work off of one channel. Generally, depending on the budget, timeline, and goals, I like to recommend 2-4 (or more) primary mediums to build their campaign off of (they should work harmoniously with each other, not independent from one another).
But Here Is What I’m Finding
I think that online campaigns will always and forever be the primary route of conversions for many businesses. It levels the playing for a company with a $3,000 marketing budget and a $3,000,000 marketing budget. The click is the only thing they are fighting for at this point.
But, how many touches does it take to make a sale or receive a qualified lead? According to Salesforce, it takes 6-8 touches to make a sale or qualify a lead. That means that you have to get in front of your potential customer’s eyes/ears at least 6-8 times before you see a penny.
How many opportunities do you think you’ll have to reach the customer 6-8 times on the web? Probably not many.
So this is why I am excited about the OOH space (finally, right?). I see the OOH segment of marketing as a huge asset toward campaign growth, continuity of a brand (and campaign development), and a unique way to reach buyers where digital might not.
For example, I ride the train to work quite often. During that time I scroll through social media feeds, seeing what my friends and family are up to, and maybe enjoying a piece of content by a couple of my favorite brands… My feeds are my getaway. My personal space. My little piece of real estate. I own it and live in it. So, when a brand advertises to me and the ad feels irrelevant, I feel like someone has just entered my safe little space. And I don’t like that. It’s not organic. It’s not comfortable. And I dismiss it entirely.
But, what if a brand can utilize OOH marketing in a way that feels relevant. A way that uplifts my mood and makes me consider my surrounding? Or maybe a way for me to feel better about my commute?
Check out these examples:
(source) The MTA train isn’t known for it’s colorful appearance. This campaign lightens up the environment and creates a fun atmosphere for commuters.
(source) Anyone up for a swim? This Taiwan train take-over gives you an out-of-body experience and makes you feel like you’re sitting above a pool.
I’m not the only one who’s bullish about OOH
You know those big tech giants? Amazon, Netflix, Google, Facebook? Well, those giants that have been built for the web, are some of the top fifteen biggest spenders on out of home advertising. In fact, that list also includes McDonalds, Geico, American Express, Coke, and HBO.
Why? Because it makes sense. These companies, in order to stay connected to consumers, have to be noticed where consumers are circulating. They have to create another touch point.
The OOH market has increased 1.2 percent year over year in 2017, reaching $7.7 billion. And over the past 3 years, there has been a nearly 10% increase in the size of the market.
Are billboards dying? No. Is this market sexy? No. And that is why I love it.
The digital space is a $107.3 billion market and has increased nearly 19% year over year. Why? Because this is still very much an emerging market. Think about it. That page I showed you toward the beginning of this article is probably not even 10-15 years old. The OOH industry? Realistically, it could probably 100s of years old (who knows, maybe the cavemen advertised on rocks?).
(source) A campaign launched by Netflix to build hype around their stand-up comedian specials and comedy programming.
So why am I writing all this about OOH?
I’m in the process of creating a new segment of the industry, and currently in the process of launching the first truck-based marketing platform that allows brands to easily, safely, and quickly place their ads on trucks. This platform will be the first to not only make the process easier, but also to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into the campaign.
We’re taking an industry (if you can call it that) that hasn’t changed in 50+ years and turning it on its head. How? Modernizing what you see on trucks. Modernizing the process and making it easier for all users/stakeholders. Incorporating smart technology to allow us to create analytics-driven results for customers.
Let’s call it the Instagram-ification of the truck industry? Or… let’s not.
I’m PUMPED about the launch of this business.
But I need your help. In order to continue to grow this industry and this company, I need your help. We’ve heard the success stories of Airbnb, Facebook, and so many others. They started with a vision and grew through their communities.
I need the assistance of my community. I need you to share the launch of this company with your community. Do you now someone in charge of the media budget, a marketing director, or a founder? Let them know that we exist. Know the owners of trucking companies? Let them know we can pay them for their blank trailers.
I hope that you all are even 10% as excited about this as I am!