Why Out of Home Advertising is Still Valuable in a Digital Era

First off what actually is it? Put simply, out of home (OOH) advertising is any form of advertising you see in public places and therefore ‘out of your home.’ Examples of this can be found in train stations, grocery stores, on bus shelters etc. 

Living in a fast-paced, diverse and continuously evolving digital era means that we can sometimes become blindsided to the benefits that traditional OOH advertising can offer. Some may feel that OOH is dying in an age of digital media and online campaigns. Some may believe that with such a focus on social media and with the population spending more time on their phones and less time focused on the outside environment that it can be a waste of time and resources. However, for me this is not the case.

Every week 98% of the population see some kind of OOH advertising in the UK. It has the potential to reach commuters, students, business people, busy parents, shoppers and the list goes on. Basically, it can reach everyone. Therefore, throughout this blog I will provide five compelling reasons as to why OOH advertising is so valuable and not ‘old-fashioned’.

The present and most definitely the future of OOH advertising is digital. As technology evolves and becomes smarter and more sophisticated OOH mediums will too. Digital out of home (DOOH) advertising will help create more ways to engage and share messages with potential prospects. DOOH is able to build upon the traditional advertising mediums with the added digital benefits of flexibility and addressability. This will to help to create a more powerful, advanced and influential industry helping to inspire prospects and therefore aid goal achievement for brands.


1. It Reaches People

As I said before, it doesn’t matter if you’re walking your dog, driving to work or going out to the shops you are exposed to a huge variety of physical media formats. These formats cannot be blocked, skipped or deleted but are noticed by people every day in the real world. They provide the perfect opportunity to achieve a mass reach within your market on a regular basis at a rapid rate. It’s thought that on average we spend 3 hours 10 minutes in public places each day. This means that there’s a huge opportunity for brands to provide multiple highly targeted messages in the right context. This will therefore, aid audience engagement as people go about their daily lives and will consequently influence their purchasing decisions in the future. As we see population, traffic and urbanisation increase so does the prospect to communicate with audiences via OOH advertising.








2. OOH Drives Online Engagement

Majority of those who are viewing billboards (traditional / digital), adshels or transit advertising for example tend to be young, urban and affluent consumers. According to Route the “urban clustering” of digital screens means that 37% of all DOOH are seen by 15-34-year-olds and 63% by ABC1s. These individuals are constantly on the move, highly social and most importantly digitally connected. This means that these cohorts of the population are more likely to share and engage with an advertisement via word-of-mouth and social media. They are also more likely to complete a mobile search after seeing an OOH advert compared to any other type of media.

OOH / DOOH advertising works naturally with mobile and both are complementary of each other. Utilising both mediums intentionally together means that message frequency is higher. This can result in greater engagement, click-through-rates and therefore campaign success.  






3. OOH Media Formats are Highly Targeted

The key to an effective outdoor media campaign is DATA! This means knowing where your audience is and understand their behaviours. Digital out-of-home media formats enables brands to take advantage of this by strategically selecting specific locations that would reach their desired audience most effectively.

The use of geolocation data for example allows brands to create a ‘roadmap’ of the top sites to buy and the best times to run their targeted ads to reach the right audience at the right time in the right place.

DOOH ad campaigns can have heightened relevance and customisation through the use of dynamic creation optimisation (DCO). This means various digital media formats can make use of the time of day, traffic, weather and temperature to engage with your audience during certain moments of their day. In short, DOOH can enable a wide reach with a narrow focus.  

4. Always On

OOH advertising mediums are on display 24 hours a day. They can be viewed at any time… whether it’s first thing in the morning or last thing at night they are always on display, waiting to grab people’s attention. They have no switch off time. Outdoor advertising cannot be missed as Clear Channel states, “it’s always on, always being seen.” This leads nicely to my final point…

5. It’s cost-effective

If you know you want / need to raise awareness of your brand however, you are concerned about your budget… OOH is the perfect cost-effective platform. Depending on the audience you wish to reach and your objectives you can decide to advertise on one adshel or 500 billboards… The power really is in your hands.   

As described earlier OOH media formats can reach a huge national audience at a rather reasonable price. When you combine the mass reach with scalability and the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) it is evident that OOH is an extremely cost-effective option.

Moreover, deciding to advertise using digital out-of-home media formats can be even more cost effective. Unlike traditional OOH media formats printing, installation and maintenance expenses are eliminated. This means there are no printing, manual labour or recurring costs. DOOH media formats be can installed rapidly with only the cost of screens and setup required.

Overall, brands are likely to have a greater return on investment (ROI) with their advertising campaign using OOH media formats while ensuring maximum engagement.

Hopefully, I have managed to convince you that out-of-home advertising is not dying in this digital era. It is only evolving and becoming more dynamic to adapt to the diverse and rapidly changing digital world that we live in. It’s obvious that digitisation is not here to replace traditional advertising. Instead, it provides an opportunity for the two mediums to work together and complement each other in order to adapt to and meet the expectations of consumers. The past performance of traditional OOH advertising highlights how influential OOH can be. Today, various locations, formats, data and technology provides an exciting possibility to make a meaningful difference for brands.


Alice Byrne is a second year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found at – Linkedin: Alice Byrne and Twitter: @alice_byrne

How Brands Are Supporting Us During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As we’ve all seen in the last few weeks Covid-19 has caused disruption to our livelihoods, communities and businesses all around the world. However, I’ve noticed, particularly from social media that many brands and corporations are using their creativity and their social power to spread important Coronavirus health messages such as social distancing. 

Below are just a few of the brands and corporations who are doing their part to try and tackle the pandemic and keep our communities save.  

  1. Unilever promises €100 million to tackle the virus


Unilever – a consumer goods manufacturer of brands such as Dove, Lifebuoy and Sure, as well as being the world’s largest soap company have recognised their moral responsibility to help people around the world who are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unilever have recently announced that are working to make soap more readily available across the globe as demand surges. They revealed their commitment to adapting their current manufacturing lines to produce sanitisers for hospitals, schools and other institutional settings while also providing many communities with free soap, sanitiser and food valuing a total of €100 million!

We all understand the importance of washing our hands and medical authorities have made it pretty clear that washing our hands will help prevent the spread of infection, and because there’s no vaccine yet, soap remains our most trusted line of defence. As a result, Unilever have decided to teach people the most effective way to wash their hands in a hope to protect lives, families and communities.




The corporation are also making early payments to their most vulnerable small and medium sized suppliers, to help with any financial challenges they face at this time. Employees will also be protected from any drops in pay because of market disruption or because they simply can’t perform their job for a 3-month period.

2. Guinness reveals fund of €1.5 million to help bar staff and the elderly

With pubs closed across the island of Ireland and people consequently left out of work, Guinness has decided to provide a whooping €1.2 million to bar staff to give a helping hand to those who usually pour ‘the black stuff.’

The remaining €300,000 will be used to support elderly citizens during the current health crisis. This will be accomplished by partnering up with Alone, a charity which helps the elderly deal with loneliness, ill health and poverty to name just a few. In a time of such uncertainty, Guinness has really recognised that vulnerable communities require heightened support, and therefore they’ve shown that they’re committed to playing their part.

Also, on the run up to St. Patrick’s Day Guinness acknowledged that this year it would be a little different (which is was). No parades, no bars and no pubs. However, Guinness managed to lift our spirits and highlight what was required from all of us at such an unsettling and disheartening time.

We know that St. Patrick’s Day feels different this year. But we’ve been around for 260 years and learned over time that we’re pretty tough when we stick together. However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, stay safe and be good to one another,” Guinness said.

3. Supermarkets provide special shopping hours for the elderly and NHS Workers plus additional measures to encourage social distancing






As consumers continued to ignore every supermarket’s plea to stop panic-buying many stores quickly stepped up to help make sure everyone got an equal share of the necessities. UK supermarkets (all of the above) decided to dedicate specific opening hours to vulnerable consumers like the elderly, NHS staff and social care workers all of which found themselves walking into supermarkets full of empty shelves. These hours involve opening early or dedicating the first hour of trading to those specific people. Many supermarkets have removed multi-buy promotions as well as introducing shopping limits of 3 items on every product line! I know what you’re thinking. Does this include toilet roll? And the answer is YES!






Sainsbury’s have announced that consumers over the age of 70 and those with a disability will be prioritised regarding their online delivery slots. While 120 Marks & Spencer franchises are committed to no delivery fees.

All of the above are great measures but you might be wondering what these retail giants are doing around social distancing? Well, Sainsburys and Aldi are encouraging people to avoid using cash and to make use of contactless card payments and Apple Pay as well as asking everyone to remain at least 2 meters apart. Tesco have made use of floor markings within their store and in car parks to ensure we can stay separate from each other. They have also installed protected screens at checkouts to help protect customers and staff.

Our UK supermarkets are doing all they can in order to keep us, and our families safe ensuring we all have the essentials we need. For food and other household items to remain in good supply we must respect these measures and help supermarkets to deal with such a crisis. Afterall they are doing all of this for us!

4. ASOS encouraging us to stay at home & Reebok keeping us stay healthy while we’re here

ASOS has encouraged us to stay at home by providing a list of activities we can do to keep ourselves entertained. ASOS have really paid attention to their target audience by focusing on activities that are all likely to appeal to millennials which they’ve done this using some gentle humour. 

Getting our 60 minutes of exercise each day is hard enough never mind when we’re faced with a pandemic like Covid-19. Fear not, because Reebok has got us covered when we’re trying to stay physically and mentally healthy. Working out may be difficult when we’re stuck inside however, Reebok has decided to create customised workouts we can easily do at home with the equipment we have. This has taken personalisation is the next level if you ask me. Check out their tweet below.




5. Some iconic logos staying relevant and encouraging social distancing
















These logos are some of the world’s most powerful and influential brands, all of which have redesigned their logos to better communicate the current message of social distancing. All of the logo readjustments are positive images highlighting how everyone around the world must play their part to help fight against the pandemic. All of these images are communicating the same message, but it feels a little more light-hearted and authentic in comparison to the traditional media. I feel this is a great way to create a global sense of unity and to reinforce that a global effort is needed to practice all the relevant measures to combat Covid-19.

All of the brands mentioned above are examples of positive brand communication and each have shown us how they are using their power to help us during a global crisis. The next few days, weeks and months are going to be difficult, but everyone has to be willing to do their bit and each of these brands show how they’re doing theirs. They are making good of a bad situation and I believe that these are the ones that will benefit the most once this pandemic comes to an end.

Alice Byrne is a second year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found at – Linkedin: Alice Byrne and Twitter: @alice_byrne