What is Out-of-Home Advertising?

Out-of-home advertising, or OOH, is exactly what it sounds like: advertising that occurs outside of our homes.

Indeed, OOH advertising is something that we are all familiar with, for in this day and age, it’s impossible to go anywhere without being exposed to some form of outdoor marketing. Be it a traditional billboard, a digital billboard, a bus bench ad, or even a mural, outdoor advertisements are one of the most impactful and memorable ways for businesses to market a product or service.

Why Does Out-of-Home Advertising Work?

When most people think of OOH advertising, they probably think of billboards and movie posters positioned alongside highways, and while this form of OOH advertising might seem antiquated, billboards and other forms of OOH advertising are still immensely effective.

In 2017, a study conducted by Nielsen analyzed 4,020 online surveys, and discovered the following:

  • Of the adults surveyed, 51% noticed a poster advertisement in the past month, and 38% noticed a poster in the past week
  • Average ad recall per poster campaign was 47%
  • Younger individuals were more likely to notice posters, with 71% of those between the ages of 25 and 34 noticing a poster in the past month
  • Brands using 40 or more posters yielded substantially higher ad recall levels
  • Of those surveyed, 50% reported being highly engaged with the advertisement, looking at the messages either all or most of the time
  • More than 50% of poster viewers agree that poster ads stand out more than ads seen in newspapers, online, on mobile devices, or over the radio

These finds confirm what companies like Netflix, Apple, Google, and Amazon already know: OOH advertising works and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Although these engagement numbers might seem hard to believe, we have to remember that OOH advertisements hold some distinct advantages over other forms of marketing.

For example, no matter how well designed an ad in a magazine may be, the reader can still simply choose to ignore the ad by turning the page. What’s more, if the reader chooses to not re-read that issue of the magazine, it’s possible that the reader will never be subjected to that specific marketing material ever again.

Additionally, because online advertisements have become so cumbersome and can be ignored by simply using an ad blocker or by “closing” the ad altogether, there’s no guarantee that users will engage with the advertisements displayed on their screen.

Atop these issues is the fact that online advertisements often create usability issues for web searchers, so much so that even Google is taking action by integrating an ad blocker into its Chrome browser in an attempt to stop websites from bombarding users with invasive ads.  [i]

However, OOH marketing is different: while commuting to work, travelers stuck in traffic really have no choice when it comes to engaging with billboards positioned alongside the road. And while the commuter stuck in traffic might only glance at the billboard, they will likely be exposed to the same billboard five days a week, making the advertisement much more likely to be remembered.

And the same dynamic exists for commuters who travel by foot, bus, or bicycle: while the person might not notice the poster right away, they’re almost certainly likely to see it eventually, and the repeated exposures allowed by the daily commute makes the ad all that much more memorable.

Finally, most OOH advertisements aren’t invasive in the same manner that online ads are, that is, they don’t physically stop you from getting to where you want to go.

Out of Home Advertising Growth

Because of the strong engagement associated with OOH advertising, OOH marketing campaigns have gained a significant amount of traction, especially in Australia where OOH advertising is on the verge of becoming a $1 billion industry.

Driving these gains has been the growth of digital outdoor marketing, which will make up approximately 60% of the revenue generated by OOH marketing by the year 2020. [ii]

Overall, the industry has continued to see significant year on year growth, which should continue to be the case for the next several years.

Types of OOH Advertising

Out-of-home advertising encompasses a wide range of mediums, like traditional billboards, posters, digital billboards, and more. Below are some of the most common mediums advertisers are using to spread their marketing materials.

Traditional Billboards & Posters

Traditional billboards and posters are perhaps the forms of OOH that we’re most familiar with, as they’re as common as any other component of a city’s infrastructure (i.e., apartment buildings, schools, government buildings, etc.).

Despite their limitations, many advertisers still find interesting ways to capture the attention of commuters.

Indeed, traditional billboards and posters are not just for selling products and services—sometimes they are also used to raise awareness about a specific issue.

For example, the Australian Childhood Foundation created a billboard advertising campaign entitled “Invisible” that features a plain white poster with black text reading “Neglected children are made to feel invisible”, and just to the right of this text is what appears to be a young child trapped behind the poster. [iii]

This impactful ad highlights the issue of child neglect, which at the time (2006-2007), accounted for 30% of child abuse cases in Australia.

Digital OOH

As mentioned, digital OOH billboards make up the majority of new OOH advertising efforts, and for good reason: by combining LED screens with a variety of different sensors (e.g., radars, thermometers, cameras, etc.) and of course the internet, digital billboards can intelligently deliver marketing materials to both commuters and pedestrians.

Indeed, we are fast approaching the age of the “smart” billboard, and with it, new methods for delivering marketing materials and measuring audience engagement.

Back in 2017, digital out-of-home provider, VMO, launched one such smart billboard on Surfers Paradise Boulevard. [iv]

Measuring 24 square meters and placed on the face of the Chevron Renaissance Shopping Center, the digital billboard is able to measure live pedestrian traffic and use facial recognition to detect people in vehicles.

With this new wealth of data, advertisers are no longer tied down by historical data; instead, advertisers can adjust their marketing materials on the fly, and better yet, this entire process can be automated.

For example, if the goal is to persuade a commuter to purchase a new car, the digital billboard can dynamically adjust its advertising message to target the individual, showing them ads for a new car special or using other unique value propositions specifically targeted to them, based on the vehicle they’re driving, etc.

As an example, if the goal is to get the individual to trade in their existing car for a new model, the billboard will be able to speak directly to the car’s current year, stating selling points like “2019 brings a wealth of new safety features such as…” which might persuade the driver to purchase a new car.


Of all the forms of OOH advertising, murals are perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing, engaging, and fun to look at.

Be it an advertisement for a new video game or blockbuster movie, there’s nothing quite as memorable as seen a ginormous, hand-painted mural, especially in large urban centers like Melbourne.

As a matter of fact, companies like Apparition Media have sprung out of seemingly nowhere to offer mural paintings for name brands like Coca-Cola, Heineken, and many others.

These paintings strike a balance between human expression and advertisement that is unparalleled, and so long as cities continue to provide adequate canvases, murals will continue to play a major role in the OOH advertising space.

The Future of Outdoor Marketing

Despite traditional billboards and murals playing a significant role in OOH advertising, smart billboards are likely to become the primary delivery system of advertising materials.

As the technology behind these smart billboards continues to evolve, we’re likely to see even more sophisticated interactions between billboards and commuters than ever before; however, just like we discussed with online advertising, developers of these systems will have to pay attention to how these OOH mediums are received by the public.

Though well received now, this perception can change if digital billboards were to become too intrusive or invasive, leading to consumer distrust and dissatisfaction.

LDC Infrastructure’s Role

As one of Australia’s largest ground lease acquisition companies, we can help you find a financial solution for your next billboard project. Additionally, if you happen to be the current owner of a billboard lease, LDC Infrastructure may be of service to you.

To find out more about billboard development, please call us today 1300 149 449 or click here to submit your information online.

[i] https://www.pcmag.com/news/364802/google-chrome-to-crack-down-on-invasive-misleading-ads
[ii] https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/out-of-home-advertising-market-tipped-to-hit-1-billion-in-2018-20171215-p4yxra.html
[iii] http://limeshot.com/2010/ad-of-the-day-australian-childhood-foundation-invisible
[iv] http://www.bandt.com.au/advertising/vmo-unveils-australias-first-large-format-smart-billboard