Why Spending Client Budgets on Out-of-Home Advertising Is a Good Idea

According to projections by Business Wire at the start of this year, out-of-home advertising is rapidly developing as a continuing channel for businesses around the world: “The global ooh (out-of-home advertising) market is expected to grow from $25.61 billion in 2021 to $28.48 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2%.” 

Consumers are on the go more than ever, and advertising has to follow them. OOH, or ‘out-of-home advertising’ meets that need, as it is advertising experienced outside of the home. From billboards and wallscapes to digital screen displays and posters, OOH is everywhere, and for good reason.

Today, we’ll explore the growing value of digital out-of-home advertising in the modern attention economy and how businesses fit real-world digital OOH into their marketing efforts. By the end of the article, you’ll see how you can start doing the same with nuanced OOH advertising campaigns that align with your clients’ brands.

What’s Your Plan for Today’s Attention Economy?

Today, ads are everywhere. Just like your clients need to compete for the attention and dollars of their target markets, it’s becoming more challenging to capture and retain the long-term business of companies within your advertising agency’s target market. One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to have a solid plan for operating in today’s attention economy, finding ways to connect with hard-to-reach professionals who make purchasing decisions.

Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon created the term “attention economy” to describe the scarcity of attention and its increasing value as a commodity. Entertainment channels struggle to hold the attention of audiences. Advertisers, too, have to compete for views, engagement and sticking power within audiences’ memories. 

There is simply so much advertising and other content vying for attention, it becomes noise, unable to truly engage consumers who are becoming numb to it all. Advertising is not going away, and while you don’t want to add to the noise, you can reach professionals with relevant ads they actually care about. It’s all about advertising during the most opportune times when they are most likely to have attention to spare, and you can influence them when purchasing decisions are likely.

How does this play out for you and your clients?

  • For clients: Research their buyer personas and target markets to find the “in-between” times when nothing is holding their attention. These spaces primarily exist outside of the home and between task-oriented activities: when they’re waiting in line, when they’re in elevators when their attention wanders but turning to their mobile phones isn’t a readily available option, etc.
  • For you: Have a thorough plan for how your clients can take advantage of in-between times with out-of-home advertising. A detailed plan that sticks to the science and psychology of advertising will appeal to your clients in a world where keyword CPC rates are constantly going up, and many small businesses’ advertising strategies have an unfocused need to do more.

Related: Comscore and Captivate Make the Case for Incremental Ad Spend in DOOH

How Digital Out-of-Home Advertising Fits Into Your Advertising Strategies

While digital ad types can be effective, they leave a lot of uncovered potential. Digital billboards and public digital ads begin to scratch the surface. More nuanced approaches, such as screens in spaces like gyms, office lobbies, elevators, and gas station pumps target specific audiences at specific places. The ads are relevant to the viewer and often at times when they have a sliver of attention to give. 

The Tried-and-True Value of Out-of-Home Advertising

First, it’s important to remember why out-of-home advertising first became so valuable. Some of the most successful forms of traditional OOH advertising include:

  • Billboards
  • Signs on benches
  • Signs at bus shelters and on buses

Through these efforts, brands could generate thousands, even millions of impressions. Fixed billboards and signs along popular thoroughfares or at key points during shoppers’ commutes became familiar, a constant reminder that helped brands build awareness.

These tools are still effective today, but more personalized digital advertising is another strategy to connect with a specific audience. When a target audience sees an advertisement they can relate to, one that is relevant to them to some degree, they are more likely to be influenced by it. Both strategies are important to build awareness, but DOOH often moves the buyer further down the sales funnel.

The Current Value in Digital Out-of-Home Advertising

Digital out-of-home advertising can achieve the same effect but with much better results. In lieu of paper-based, static advertisements, digital screens are more dynamic and engaging, targeted to an increasingly specific audience. For example, screens in common waiting areas in commercial buildings, offices, and multifamily buildings build share of voice for brands, helping them then build market share. Consider these advantages of revamping your OOH advertising strategies:

Diverse Touch Points

Today, it’s all about omnichannel marketing. Brands that hope to win market share must be where their consumers are and have relevant messaging that hits them at the right time during the buyer’s journey. Omnichannel marketing requires a mix of media and messaging geared for different points of the journey—from building brand awareness through the consideration, purchase and retention stages. 

Ad frequency still matters because your competition is advertising on traditional mediums, making it more essential to find alternative touch points. Digital displays in places where your target audience works and lives, such as at elevator bays and inside elevators and lobbies, add an often untapped opportunity for highly valuable impressions.

Touch Points: Quality Over Quantity

Despite the emphasis on quantity, quality matters more. Your advertisements must be specifically tailored to the needs of increasingly nuanced audience groups. That’s part of the appeal of digital signage software: through programmatic strategies where you can buy the right ad space at just the right moment, you can devise and deliver highly personalized ads instead of the overly generic messages used in traditional broadcasting.

Briefly consider the quality you can deliver if you stream ads to office dwellers waiting in or near an elevator or residents in a multifamily building lobby. Based on the location and demographic data, you know their likely incomes, preferred brands, personal and professional interests, and their needs. That allows you to craft a far more effective message than static ads at bus shelters.

Reaching Decision Makers in the Right Mindset

With out-of-home advertising, you have more insight into decision-makers’ mindsets at various points of their movements away from home. And if you partner with a leading digital office network, they will offer advanced targeting capabilities, customizable on-screen solutions and measurement results to grab the attention of hard-to-reach professionals and reach campaign objectives.

Cultivate Environmental Perception

Where your clients’ ads are placed changes how shoppers perceive them. A digital ad in a luxury apartment complex can elevate a brand, especially when the viewer can connect the ad to their lifestyle. Likewise, ads about fitness fashion in a premier gym likely have more relevance to that audience than ads on a bus wrap. By expanding OOH advertising to DOOH, brands can reach the masses and their targeted audiences, creating ads specific to those environments.  


Digital ads and programmatic ad campaigns aren’t just popular because they can be targeted. They’re popular because they can be measured. Your agency and, through you, your customers, can track campaign performance to measure a range of goals from brand lift to app downloads. 

Modern technology and analytics tools complement modern out-of-home advertising, and some digital media networks offer robust measurement and attribution tools through custom research and data partners. Delivering data-backed results is just good business—for you and your clients. It’s money well spent.

Related: What is digital signage software? Your Questions Answered

Where Out-of-Home Advertising Makes the Most Sense (And How to Make It Fit Your Clients’ Businesses)

Once you reorient your strategies to focus on digital OOH advertising, countless doors open for new ways and new spaces to advertise your clients’ brands. However, not all of those options will be equally valuable. Use your targeting tools and partner with a digital media company that offers advanced targeting and dynamic planning tools specific to building that over-index for key audience segments.

Remember: Americans spend over 8 hours a day outside their homes, and for much of that time, they can’t turn to a personal screen. These details can help you decide (i) where ads should be displayed, (ii) when they should be displayed, and (iii) what types of messages should be displayed at different times or days.

Seizing Control in the Attention Economy

Sticking with tried and true advertising practices work, but there are greater opportunities to embrace. Traditional tactics don’t account for how people’s attention can stay fixed on their phones, while in-home, digital tactics leave a lot of ground untouched. Digital OOH advertising is a powerful strategy for seizing those in-between times and spaces when high-value decision-makers are looking for something to capture their attention. At Captivate, we partner with advertising agencies to help you capitalize on the attention economy with modern OOH tactics on digital screens in premier office buildings and luxury multifamily buildings. Contact us today to learn more.

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