The B2B landscape is as crowded as ever. However, inflation and economic uncertainty are putting extra pressure on B2B marketers who are grappling with tighter budgets and smaller head counts. However, these challenges also present an opportunity to think outside the box – and could be why the use of out-of-home (OOH) advertising is gaining traction.
Powered by data, technology, and in-depth performance metrics, the modern OOH advertising space is a far cry from its traditional billboard roots. OOH has become a powerful performance channel that performs on par with its digital counterparts but at a fraction of the cost.
To discuss the challenges B2B marketers are facing and why more marketers should give OOH another look, we caught up AdQuick.com CEO Matthew O’Connor. Here’s what he had to say:
Why has OOH advertising traditionally been underutilized by B2B marketers?
There’s a common misconception among B2B marketers who think of outdoor advertising only in terms of being a branding exercise or a B2C play. OOH does make buyers more aware of a brand, but it also influences them to take subsequent actions. One of the ways we quantify the ROI is that organizations can see almost immediate lift in the performance of their online ads – when the programmatic networks reward high click through rates, buyers are more likely to click through when they’re familiar with that brand. There’s a halo effect quantification that shows brands when they keep their digital ad spend steady and overlay OOH, the digital ad spend is actually more efficient because the buyers are primed to know the brand and engage with their ads downstream.
What makes OOH an appealing format during times of economic uncertainty?
Well, there are a few layers to this. For starters, advertising prices are on the rise and budgets are tight, but B2B marketers are still expected to achieve a certain level of results. It’s a tall order. We know the best way to optimize budgets and reach buyers is to spend it on the most cost-effective advertising method, and OOH offers some of the lowest CPMs around. A 2022 comparison of major U.S. media by Solomon Partners shows OOH CPMs between $2 and $3. We also know OOH delivers the highest ROI of all media channels, and a recent report by the Out-of-Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA) confirms this. Then there’s brand recall. Statistics show OOH advertising drives the highest ad recall of all media channels. There’s a 67% upper limit for OOH print and then 82% for digital – that’s significant. During times of economic uncertainty, or simply when a team needs to make the most of their budget, the low cost of OOH advertising and its high brand recall creates higher returns and better value for every marketing dollar spent.
Are you saying B2B marketers should go all in on OOH?
Not at all. It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. That said, adding OOH to an organization’s media mix, or giving OOH a bigger slice than it already has, enables their budget to go farther and boosts the effectiveness of other campaigns they’re already running. OOH is a powerful channel regardless of what’s going on in the market, but there’s no question it’s especially useful when budgets are tight but performance is still critical.
How has technology made OOH more measurable for B2B marketers?
Technology has brought OOH into modern times, and it goes beyond how easy it is to buy and plan OOH campaigns. Today OOH is highly measurable, which is important when teams are being asked to be accountable to their budgets.
Here’s an example. Say an organization is deploying an OOH campaign around an industry conference. In the past, OOH impressions were tracked by traffic counts and daily effective circulation results to estimate their advertising reach. Now, B2B advertisers can use things like travel surveys and data modeling, among other methods, to learn how many of their target audience saw their campaign. B2B marketers can also pull location or mobile data, or use location solutions such as those delivered by Geopath, to discover buyer’s movements and demographic information. If we want to get really granular, they can track pedestrian numbers, traffic volumes, and even vehicle occupancy. From there, data processing can show how many people who passed an ad then visited a website or requested a demo. I should also note that this isn’t really complicated to do. OOH online buying platforms provide these capabilities.
How does technology make OOH advertising just as memorable as digital has been?
Let’s put it this way, no one takes a picture and shares an online ad. But creative OOH can surprise people, grab their attention and become something that they want to share or talk about. For example, this summer my team put digital billboards up across from several of our target accounts’ offices and personalized them to specific decision-makers we were trying to connect with, and then tweeted and emailed them. Literally, the ads said things like, “Hi Katie, Check your inbox…” We ended up engaging with all of the companies we targeted; it was a huge success.
To answer your question, creative can be incredibly powerful when organizations come up with contextually relevant ads. People are more likely to share it, engage with it and remember it. Banner blindness online has become extremely prevalent. When there’s an ad in the real world, buyers don’t have their blinders on and it’s much more memorable. Then later when they do see those online ads, they are more likely to click through.
Matthew O’Connor is the CEO and co-founder of AdQuick.com, the first platform to allow brands, agencies and individuals to complete the entire process of planning, buying, executing and measuring out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns anywhere in the U.S. and around the globe.