Many brands traditionally keep their digital and traditional marketing strategies in-house. For years, this was different for the OOH medium. This was because there were many moving pieces to consider, know about, and experience when planning for OOH.
This hasn't changed. Planning and navigating the OOH space is as tricky as ever.
While there are new tools in place to automate the planning and execution of OOH media, it is recommended that advertisers involve an OOH expert to ensure successful outcomes. Outdoor advertising specialists can help you to plan your campaigns, ensure you are making the most of your placements and creatives, and help you navigate any potential issues that may arise in the process whether your placements consist of a single Billboard advertisement or many multi-format placements.
Campaign for Prime Video Netherlands for the comedy show, Last One Laughing (LOL). The campaign ran nationally leveraging a range of formats from Tram Wraps and DOOH to a special mall activation in Utrecht.
Hiring a specialist is comparable cost-wise to going it alone when you factor in all the time, stress, and lack of knowledge you would face without an OOH advocate. In this article, you’ll learn how hiring an outdoor advertising specialist will simplify your OOH marketing efforts, streamline your process and reduce the headache of trying to figure it out on your own.
1. The Costs are Comparable
Though it may seem like the upfront cost of working with an OOH Specialist company would be expensive, working with a trusted partner can save you time, money and provide a greater long-term return on your investment. Think of all the time it would take for an organization to find not only available inventory but the top spots for their audiences in their target markets. Having a dedicated project management team for execution can help you have the best possible OOH campaign, with the least amount of work and strain on your end. Here are some of the ways that OOH specialists can help advertisers save money:
- Cost-effective Media Planning: A specialist can help plan, negotiate, and execute a cost-effective OOH campaign that aligns with your marketing objectives. They are media agnostic, meaning they would consider every media company in existence as well as all formats available. With their knowledge of the medium and their buying power in the market, you can obtain the most balanced, strategic, smart, and cost-effective program to maximize your ROI and KPIs.
- Efficient Production and Installation: They can oversee the production and installation process, ensuring that ads are produced and installed correctly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.
- Improved Campaign Performance: OOH specialists can track and measure campaign performance, using analytics and insights to refine and optimize your campaign, which can lead to improved performance and more cost-effective use of advertising spend.
- Avoiding Errors: The OOH industry has many nuances to be mindful of including ensuring ads are printed and installed correctly, and that they comply with local regulations. Outdoor advertising specialists are experts in the field. They are 100% engrained in the medium, have worked in the field for many years, and have experienced everything the industry could throw at you so that surprises and errors are minimized. Only a specialist can ensure any issues are identified, worked through or avoided altogether.
- Saving Time: To do all of the research necessary for a truly successful campaign it would take a great deal of research, time and planning. Working with an expert who has access to those tools and knowledge and is in this space every day elevates your OOH campaigns while allowing you to effectively make use of your budget.
Additionally, advertising agencies and clients can benefit from working with an ad hoc, on-demand team. This gives them the benefits of an extra person or whole team without the costs involved in hiring an additional staff of OOH specialists. If the agency doesn’t do OOH for every campaign, it can be cheaper to work with a specialist. This too, provides the agency with the capability of creating quality OOH campaigns to help them win additional business from brands that want it, when they need it.
Once you factor in the amount of time saved, the cost savings of added staff, combined with the media expertise and a pay-as-you-go pricing strategy- hiring a specialist is fiscally responsible. In some cases it may be a little more expensive than going it alone, but in the end the amount of time, money and stress saved will more than makeup for the added expense.
2. Industry Experts can Secure Fair Pricing
Without the expertise in outdoor advertising that an OOH specialist provides, a brand or agency could easily find themselves paying higher rates or securing inventory that will not meet their needs. An OOH specialist knows what is fair market value and pricing and has the relationships to deliver that to the client. Here are several ways that OOH specialists can help secure fair pricing for their clients:
Anyone can go to a supplier with a specific budget and negotiate rates to find a placement- though it may not be the one desired. The difference in working with an OOH advertising specialist is the rapport they have with media owners.
- Relationships with Media Owners: They have strong negotiation skills and established relationships with media suppliers to help secure the best possible prices for their clients. These relationships help them to secure better pricing and terms for their clients.
- Volume Discounts: OOH specialists bring a high volume of business to media owners, which can help them secure discounts and deals for their clients.
- Market Knowledge: OOH specialists have a deep understanding of their local OOH media markets, including pricing trends and availability. This helps them to make informed decisions on the best placements for their clients.
An OOH specialist builds a strong relationship with suppliers and may be in touch with suppliers multiple times a day. The result is that when there is a situation where a specialist's client has a hard ask and a strict budget that the supplier will work with the specialist to try to find a solution. Because of the ongoing relationship, media owners trust that the OOH specialists will bring them more business, which in turn encourages the media owners to supply the best rates.
3. So Many Suppliers, So Little Time
With numerous suppliers to research and choose from, finding media suppliers can be an extremely time-consuming effort in and of itself. Going with just one media owner alone is often not possible for campaigns as different suppliers may own different inventory in the same market. Booking with multiple suppliers creates the additional issue of more representatives to coordinate with. For the OOH novice this can quickly make campaign coordination and planning daunting. As mentioned previously, an OOH specialist often has existing relationships with multiple outdoor advertising suppliers, provides coordination for the advertiser and can often secure better deals and pricing.
Stronger campaigns can be built when advertisers make use of multiple suppliers in a market to get the best strategic campaign. OOH specialists filter and refine units, putting them through a strategic lens for a campaign plan.
4. Enormous Inventory = Colossal Headache
The amount of inventory available is colossal. For a typical marketing manager, it would take a minimum of a week or two of research just to find the markets and inventory available. With tight turnaround times and budgets, it is not cost-effective to move forward without an OOH specialist.
An OOH specialist already knows who the suppliers are and what’s available in the market. If you don’t know what you are looking for or what’s available, then you may spend time researching only to find that your target city doesn’t have the inventory that you want. After a week or two of research, a you would then spend an additional 40-80 hours filtering and researching what kinds of units actually check all of the boxes for your campaign’s needs. One supplier’s units might be great, but there might be five other units that better fill your requirements but are owned by different suppliers. An agency or brand simply won’t know the market unless they have bought in that market previously.
In total, a typical marketing manager would spend 2-4 weeks conducting research, filtering locations and units, and planning the strategy. This doesn’t even begin to take into account the project management time saved by working with an OOH specialist or the back-end process. Behind the scenes, there is also campaign management, supplier management, printing, shipping and measuring campaign results. This is a huge chunk of time that busy brands and agencies who don’t specialize in OOH simply don’t have.
A good OOH specialist can turn around a fully-fleshed strategic recommendation for an outdoor advertising campaign within just one to two weeks. They inventory all of the units that meet the criteria from a supplier-agnostic perspective and then filter it down based on knowledge to the top opportunities for a market based on all of the brand’s needs and budget requirements.
5. Don't Underestimate the Value of Local Knowledge
You know what they say…”Unfamiliarity lends weight to misfortune.” You cannot overstate the importance of local knowledge. Successful OOH campaigns depend on a certain level of industry and local knowledge of the market. If an agency or brand is running an outdoor campaign in a market that is unfamiliar to them, then they won’t know what placements are best for their products to be seen by their audience.
Here is some of the knowledge and understanding of local markets which an OOH specialist may have:
Because OOH Specialists not only specialize in outdoor advertising but in the markets where they live and work, they know where and how to find your audiences and what placements will work the best for your campaign goals. The likelihood of success is higher when you have an OOH Specialist on your side advocating for you and your campaign.
- Local Regulations: OOH specialists know local OOH advertising regulations and laws including permit requirements, zoning laws, and sign restrictions.
- Availability: They know what types of OOH media are available in the local market, such as billboards, transit, and street furniture. They understand the reach of the local inventory, the audience who may see it and the potential impact the advertisement could have.
- Market Trends: OOH specialists know the current market trends and consumer behaviors. This allows them to make informed decisions on media placement and targeting strategies.
- Local Competition: OOH specialists know what types of businesses operate and advertise in the area which can help them to position clients in similar verticals through the most effective ad placements.
6. In-Depth Reporting that Measures Success
Obviously, one huge benefit of working with an OOH specialist is that you’re going to get in-depth reporting that can better influence future decisions and measure success.
OOH specialists have access to tools, data and insights that are specific to OOH and not otherwise available or easily found and understood by those not in the industry. Here are some of the ways that an OOH specialist can provide in-depth reporting on an OOH advertising campaign:
- Campaign Measurement: OOH advertising specialists can track and measure your campaign performance to determine campaign success and identify areas for improvement.
- Analytics: OOH advertising specialists have access to data and analytics tools that help analyze campaign performance so that they can provide insights into your campaign’s effectiveness and impact on the target audience.
- Customized Reporting: OOH specialists can create customized reports tailored to your KPIs and objectives.
- Monitoring: They can provide ongoing analysis and monitoring of your campaign, allowing for you to stay up-to-date on your campaign’s progress and to make decisions based on data.
All OOH specialists should be able to provide their clients with the standard measurements of impressions, reach and frequency. However, for larger campaigns, there are often additional reporting and attribution studies available.
7. Customized Targeting
Sometimes advertisers know exactly what markets they want to target and sometimes they don’t. Having a conversation with an OOH specialist can help clarify the goal, purpose and audience of a campaign so that the most effective markets can be chosen. Sometimes an advertiser may think they know what market they want to target, but their chosen audience is actually more engaged in a completely different market. OOH specialists have extensive knowledge of markets and where to place ads so they can effectively reach the target audience, and stay on budget.
There are a number of ways for OOH specialists to help their clients find customized target audiences. They have access to data that allows them to analyze the demographic data of the target audience including their age, gender, income, education level and more. They can also derive behavioral insights about a target audience such as past shopping behaviors, commuting patterns, and media consumption to identify the best times and places to reach the target audience.
Though OOH is a one-to-many medium and has broad reach beyond a specific target audience, using an OOH specialist who has access to Neustar and mobile device ids and other demographic information means that you can plan your campaigns intelligently and have a higher likelihood of more precisely reaching your target audience in the places where they live, work and play.
8. Creative Input
Most OOH specialists don’t have a creative team on staff or in-house. What they do have are relationships with many creative resources and partners.
What specialists can offer is expert advice on the media space. Media and creative teams should work together hand-in-hand to achieve the best creative for the space. Great media space can come from great creativity just as great creativity can be born out of great inventory.
In addition to marrying creative and media together, it is also critical to understand the space that is being purchased. Here are some top line reasons why this is something to keep in mind -
- Knowing the layout of the ad space can assist in creative placements and focal points
- Knowing the neighborhood can assist in the creative temperament
- Knowing the limitation of the specific inventory can help avoid on-street disasters (for instance, if a wall is blocked in a certain spot, you don’t want your brand ID to be placed there
- Knowing how consumers see your ads can help with the level of messaging. More dwell time allows for more copy. Less dwell time means your information must be seen and understood quickly
9. Production and Installation Supervision
OOH Specialists not only manage the strategy and securing of inventory, but some have production capabilities or at the very least will manage that part of the process for you. They also coordinate with the media supplier to ensure your advertisement is running and installed as intended. Here are some ways that OOH specialists can help with the production and installation of outdoor ads:
Overall, OOH media specialists manage the entire process for the advertiser or agency to ensure that placements run smoothly.
- Design: They can provide design input and guidance to make sure the ads are effective.
- Permit Acquisition: They can help navigate the permitting process so that ads are run legally.
- Quality Control: OOH specialists can oversee the production and installation process to ensure the ads are installed properly and meet standards.
- Maintenance: They can manage the ongoing maintenance of the ads to ensure they remain in good condition or even manage the process of swapping out creatives if needed.
When is an OOH Specialist not a Great Fit?
Being an OOH specialist company, it may seem odd that we would include when we might not be a good fit for you. Sometimes OOH is not the right medium for a campaign, and will not help it reach the campaign’s objectives. Or, OOH could be the right medium, but another medium will be the main driver for the campaign. It is also entirely possible to run an OOH campaign on your own if you have the bandwidth, caveated with the fact that it will be challenging if you lack someone who specializes in the medium. Here are some cases where you may choose to forgo using an OOH Specialist for your campaign:
The advertiser should assess their needs and resources in determining whether or not to use an OOH Specialist. There are many benefits as outlined above in working with one, but it is possible to do all of the work on your own. The question is do you have the resources to do so and do you want to manage all of that? In most cases it is better to work with an OOH specialist.
- Small, Simple Campaigns: If the advertiser or agency has a small, straightforward OOH campaign with only a couple of placements then they may not need an OOH specialist.
- In-house Expertise: If someone at your business has extensive outdoor advertising experience in the market you are targeting, then you may not need an OOH specialist.
- DIY Approach: If the business wants to manage everything that an OOH campaign entails and is prepared to handle the details, then it is possible to do it on your own. However, without an expert helping you this process could be very difficult and time-consuming depending upon the nature of the campaign. There would likely also be less attribution and measurement studies available to the DIY-er or you would end up paying way more money to conduct the study on your own.
Getting Started with an OOH Campaign
In this article, you learned all of the benefits associated with working with an OOH Specialist. At Billups, we have been providing strategic recommendations for campaigns for 20 years. Our OOH Specialists are highly trained and knowledgeable of global markets. Our on-the-ground capabilities have made us the OOH partner of choice for many agencies and brands. If you are looking for a way to effectively reach your target audience, OOH and working with a specialist in the medium is a great option. Contact us today to get started on your next campaign!