Extending OOH campaign reach through social media traffic

“Out-of-home (OOH) is cost-effective. It's measurable. It's targetable. You can be hyperlocal with it,” said founder and CEO at Quan Media Brian Rappaport. It’s also growing. US OOH ad spend will increase by 6.5% this year, reaching $9.51 billion dollars, according to our October 2023 forecast. But an added benefit is OOH’s potential to create organic impressions on social media.

The right OOH campaign placement and creative can go viral on social media without brands spending an extra penny. Brands like SKIMS can get social play with a single post from Kim Kardashian. But for everyone else, there are strategies to extend the reach of OOH.

1. Get people talking

“[OOH creative] should be funny. It should be contextually relevant. It should be edgy,” said Rappaport. The ads that get people taking and posting pictures push the envelope. Examples like Yeti showing how single-use products generate waste, contraceptive brand Julie writing “Don’t turn this semester into a trimester,” or BelliWelli exclaiming “Hot girls have IBS” show that ads with creative copy are more likely to get social play.

Source: Quan

2. Make sense for a broad audience

“Advertisers can encourage people to post their OOH campaigns by creating OOH campaigns designed with social media in mind,” said Anna Bager, president and CEO of the Out of Home Advertising Association of America.

Oatly’s forced perspective OOH ads are a great example of campaigns made with the sole purpose of getting picked up on social channels, said Rappaport. The campaigns featured on the streets of Paris were in English, showing that Oatly made them with the intention of going viral among a wider, English-speaking audience.

Source: @socialmediadissect on Instagram

3. Go big

The Sphere is a prime example of a big OOH brand buy “essentially created for social amplification,” said Rappaport. “At the end of the day, brands are buying it to post about it on Instagram and Twitter, and ultimately they want others in Las Vegas to post about it and share it.” The Sphere costs about $450,000 to advertise on, according to PR Week. But the viral payoff can be huge in organic social traffic. Pepsi went a step further, pairing its Sphere spot with creator content to yield 23.8 million views on TikTok.

@zachking Don’t forget the cherry 🍒 on top! 🍨 @Pepsi #PepsiPartner #ad ♬ original sound - Zach King

4. Or go local

Without Pepsi’s budget, local OOH can still earn organic social media impressions. For smaller campaigns, Rappaport recommended walkable and populated areas, street-level spots, bus shelters, newsstands, and transit opportunities like subways.

For local OOH ads, contextual relevance is key. TRUFF hot sauce took advantage of location with interactive OOH ads in Philadelphia featuring Philly cheesesteaks and in Chicago featuring deep-dish pizza. These ads lean into local food culture while encouraging social media interaction by encouraging consumers to vote for their favorite dish. “The goal of their out-of-home was to live a life on social,” said Rappaport.

Source: @sauce on Instagram

5. Don’t waste your money

Highway billboards are great, but drivers won’t be able to snap a picture that will end up on TikTok. If the goal of OOH is earned media on social, brands must ensure people can capture the campaigns. Be intentional about OOH creative, he added. The perfect TikTok, connected TV, or magazine campaign won’t necessarily work when repurposed as a billboard. Bager suggested incorporating hashtags, QR codes, or interactive elements to encourage social media posts. Treating OOH as its own channel will result in advertisements that people can interact with in some way, such as taking pictures with them next to street-level ads or filming the Beyonce “Renaissance”-themed subway as it drives past.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.

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