How to select outdoor advertising to maximize your ROI?

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Outdoor advertising is a cost effective way to create brand recall, and works even better if you are a hyperlocal brand. For someone who crosses an outdoor ad frequently, the brand gets etched in his memory thanks to repeated views which have a re-affirmation effect when he is doing his product search or making a purchase decision.

Billboards, hoardings, Ads on bus stands, on business and cabs, on light poles between roads and many other forms of outdoor advertising are available to advertisers today but not all of them give you the same kind of returns. Unlike online advertising it is much harder to estimate the ROI on outdoor ads though because you can’t calculate views.innovative outdoor advertising, hoarding, billboard

So we built a proprietary model to estimate the number of views an outdoor advertising space gets. Here are a few things that we look at:

1. Location

Outdoor advertising costs depend upon the location the space is present in. Typically you end up paying more for outdoor ads on arterial roads than inner roads. If you aren’t a hyperlocal brand, you should look at locations that have the highest amount of traffic which are usually roads leading to commercial hubs across the city.innovative outdoor advertising, hoarding, billboard in traffic

If you are a hyperlocal brand, you will be looking for more targeted locations. The best approach in this case is to draw concentric circles of various distances around your office. For e.g. if you are a school and you know that most of your students come from within 2kms around your campus while almost no one comes from beyond 10kms, then you should have concentric circles of 2kms, 4kms and 7kms. The distribution of outdoor advertising budget within these locations should be skewed towards the closest circle. For example, it could be 60%, 25% and 15%.

Now look for key roads leading to commercial hubs from residential hubs present in each of the circles. You should now be looking for outdoor advertising space along these stretches within your concentric circles.

2. Traffic

Once you’ve narrowed down on the stretch of roads you are targeting, you need to now evaluate which sections of those roads give you the highest traffic advantage. The more time someone spends stuck in traffic at a particular location, the more time he has to see your outdoor ads. Thankfully, this is relatively easy to measure using google maps.

Take a 3 hour stretch in the morning and 3 hour stretch in the evening during peak traffic hours and see which sections of the road remain red for the longest duration. These are the best roads to target.

3.Line of sight

How clearly is the advertising space visible while you are driving? Some hoardings are placed parallel to the road making it extremely difficult to see those unless you turn your head. These should be avoided strictly unless you are targeting foot traffic.

Essentially you are evaluating, how central the outdoor ad space is to your field of vision. In an evaluation model, the highest score should be given to spaces in the middle of the field of vision, mid scores if they are slightly off and the lowest if they are almost near the periphery. If you have to turn your head to view a hoarding, that space is going to end up giving you a very poor ROI.

innovative outdoor advertising, hoarding, billboard

Making your billboard eye-catching will ensure a much higher visibility as well. Do not use the standard sizes but try off-beat creatives. It may cost more but the rewards are significantly higher.

4. Spacing: How far apart should your outdoor ads be?

This largely depends on the different flows of traffic you are targeting. Assuming you have a limited budget and you want to optimize this budget, the best combination would be to have a single large, highly visible outdoor hoarding for every major flow of traffic in your target zone.

Remember if your targeting is correct and you’ve done the first 3 steps correctly, you will achieve frequency by being visible every day instead of having to put up multiple outdoor ads along the same route.

5. Periodicity: How long at a stretch should I have my outdoor ads up and how often should i do it?

If you are in an industry where sales are periodic such as filing of tax returns, you want to concentrate your budget on your peak sales period only. If you do take an outdoor ad space for more than a month continuously, you can negotiate a good deal as well.

If you’re selling across the year, you have to work according to your budget. We’ve seen success with 360 degree campaigns that start with print, outdoor, radio and tv, then focus on PR and digital marketing to create a sustained lead flow.

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About Author

Anuraj is an IIM Lucknow alumni with over 10 years of experience in marketing and strategy. He has set up multiple business units for startups and scaled them to sales of over $15 million a year. He is also a marketing expert who has led large marketing teams and handled budgets of over $3 million a year.

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