Outdoor Advertising

The term outdoor advertising refers to all advertising measures by companies in public spaces that have the purpose of promoting products or services, making advertising companies better known, or other business purposes.

There are many types of outdoor advertising. The most common of them include:

  • Advertising pillars
  • Display cases
  • City light posters
  • Mega-Light
  • Advertising on buses, trains, and other means of transport
  • Poster advertising
  • Posters
  • Digital screens

Company names above the business entrance also count as advertising in public spaces. Outdoor advertising is used both to make initial contact with potential customers and to maintain existing customer relationships.

History of Outdoor Advertising

Overall, there is very little information about the development of advertising in public spaces. However, from various sources, it is known that 5000 years ago hieroglyphs were placed on obelisks as signposts for travelers. In Egypt, vendors carved their messages in stone about 2500 years ago and placed these stones on public streets.

Advantages of outdoor advertising

  • Wide reach of outdoor advertising

Depending on the location, outdoor advertising reaches dozens to thousands of potential buyers every day. Often even more than through social media channels.

  • Acceptable costs

Compared to TV commercials or advertising on the radio, outdoor advertising costs significantly less, but is still far from the most efficient way of advertising.

  • Fairly high acceptance among the population

Everybody knows it: You are watching a movie on TV and at an exciting moment it starts: The commercial. Many people feel annoyed by it and use this time to go to the toilet or get something from the kitchen. Advertising in public spaces, on the other hand, enjoys a much higher level of acceptance: most people do not feel annoyed by it.

  • Increasing awareness

Outdoor advertising is ideal for increasing brand awareness, because advertising in public spaces is seen by thousands of people every day, who consciously or unconsciously notice the logo and other information about their products and services.

  • Privacy-friendly advertising

The issue of privacy is becoming more and more important all over the world. Outdoor advertising is one of the few types of advertising that in most cases does not collect personal data and does not set cookies.

Disadvantages of outdoor advertising

  • No protection against damage

Unlike social media advertising, for example, many types of advertising in public spaces are not protected from damage. Particularly during elections, posters and banners of various parties suffer from their enemies deliberately damaging them. Bad or stormy weather or hail can make posters and banners not look as nice as it was in the beginning.

  • No conversion tracking

Depending on the objective, it is important for companies to know how many completions or sales a marketing measure has achieved. Outdoor advertising precludes tracking because no one can say whether the increase in purchases was actually due to the billboard, whether this was a coincidence, or whether the other promotional advertising measures had a positive effect.

  • Not Flexible

Unlike digital advertising or social media advertising, for example, a billboard or city light poster cannot be changed once it has been attached to the advertising space. This has the disadvantage that when planning and implementing advertising measures, consideration must be given to seasonal trends as well as special attention paid to spelling in order to avoid annoying mishaps.

  • Segmentation not possible

Classic outdoor advertising is one of those types of advertising where the target audience cannot be segmented by social, demographic or other criteria. The banners are seen by people at different ages and from all income levels, and thus not only the actual target group is addressed, but also the people who do not belong to the target group.

  • Fleeting perception / banner blindness

People on the street are often flooded with the advertising stream, which leads to the fact that the billboards, city light posters or other outdoor advertising is hardly noticed, regardless of the size and design of the advertising space.

What does outdoor advertising cost?

Before companies make a booking of the advertising activities, they want to know how much it will cost. The answer to this question depends on the selected type of advertising, the size of the advertising space, and the location. The lighting and the duration of the planned actions also affect the total price.

The future of outdoor advertising

There is no stopping global digitization and this also affects the media industry. Traditional billboards are being replaced by screens, which are not only more environmentally friendly but also give advertising companies much more design and creative freedom. What will distinguish advertising on public streets is the custom-printing of advertising. The foundation for these major advances is provided by the fact that almost everyone now has a smartphone. The data, including GPS, is sold to advertising agencies. Some advertising agencies collect user data themselves. These are used to tailor marketing measures to the respective target group as well as to measure the success of an advertising campaign.

Our conclusion

Outdoor advertising has many advantages but also disadvantages and is a good way to get in touch with potential customers and clients. It will become digitized and individualized in the coming years, which promises even more value in the marketing concept of many companies. Digitalization as well as data collection will make some disadvantages of outdoor advertising disappear. For example, it will be possible to use collected data to measure and monitor the effectiveness of outdoor advertising, which in turn will allow companies to use their budgets more efficiently. However, the whole thing remains questionable from a data protection perspective. It is still unclear whether and to what extent data may be collected for the purpose of optimizing outdoor advertising. When booking outdoor advertising, companies should weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of this type of advertising and decide on a case-by-case basis whether there may be a better way to promote sales, such as distributing promotional items or email marketing.