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Traditional Advertising

What Is Outdoor (OOH)?

Author: Adrianne McAllister - Director of Media Buying


Often communicated as OOH, Out-of-Home advertising is any ad format consumers see outside their homes. Typically considered a traditional ad type, OOH ads may be static or digital. Though most often created to build brand awareness, there are more ways than ever to engage with viewers and motivate them to take action.


OOH is often created in a large format, offering maximum visibility and impact while building strong awareness. Examples of ad types include wallscapes, urban bulletins and posters, transit signs, roadside billboards, bus shelters, and street furniture. The right creative and messaging on boards and station or airport ads can deliver substantial reach and frequency over an extended period.

WTA Tennis Billboard Florida
Source: WTA


Digital out-of-home allows more highly customized messaging for advertising in the right place and time with dynamic and interactive creative in various formats: 4k video, HTML5, digital images, and full-motion graphics. Programmatic DOOH offers the benefits of automated digital ad buying. Ads can be delivered to a targeted audience based on location (using location mapping), timing, and even weather. DOOH can be a part of a brand’s full-funnel marketing offering, not just brand building but reaching customers ready to purchase.


Any person who walks outside their home can be reached, but outdoor placements can also target specific demographics and locations. Advertisers are increasingly fighting to stand out amidst the clog of ads and need a less cluttered environment to deliver their message.

Enter outdoor advertising. Out-of-home advertising is one of the most effective ways to communicate your message. With its easily consumable and measurable format, you can reach your audience in an impactful and memorable way. Its greatest value is that it CANNOT be ignored, skipped, or turned off. Viewers are a captive audience whether stuck in traffic, waiting for a bus, or standing on the moving walkway to get through the airport. In a November 2022 poll by OAAA(Opens an external site) (Out of Home Advertising Association of America), 88% of adult respondents said they noticed OOH ads, and 78% of the same group confirmed they have engaged with a brand after seeing an OOH ad.


  1. Clean & Simple: Depending on the location of OOH ads your audience may be moving quickly. Creating a simple design that is not too busy is essential. Viewers need to see the ad and be able to take it in fast.
  2. Creative Imagery: Use the large format as an opportunity to be creative, clever, and even surprising. Once they’ve noticed the ad, keep them interested.
  3. Color Choices: Bold, eye-catching, or contrasting colors are important. Use color to call attention to key elements and to illuminate your message. Consider what is behind the billboard, the blue sky, the color of the building, or other conditions that may distract from your sign or cause it to get lost in the background.
  4. Short & Sweet: Messaging should ideally be five words or less. Let the color, image, and limited words tell the entire story.
  5. Location, Location, Location: Do your research first. Know who you want to reach and where you can find your audience. Is there enough traffic to make it the correct format for the location? Remember, this is outside. Take the surrounding area and the time of year into consideration. Is the billboard in a bad location in summer when the maple tree next to it is full of leaves? Is there a building or other sign that partially blocks your logo? If possible, drive by or request images of past ads from different times of the year.

Out-of-home advertising can be a great addition to your full-funnel and omni-channel marketing strategy. Vision Media offers a full range of traditional and digital out-of-home marketing services. These include guerrilla, experiential, and even large format expertise like billboards, vehicle wraps, wall murals, and more. We’ve built resources nationwide to help clients tap into new audiences, create awareness, and grow their brand’s recognition. We partner with local vendors in every market who know the inventory, opportunities, and what the competition is doing.