Outdoor advertising—or as it’s often called, out of home (OOH)—is every place and platform outdoors where we see paid ads. There are various kinds of outdoor advertising formats and different reasons to use them. You will learn in this article that there are many Outdoor Advertising options.


Billboards – the granddaddy of outdoor advertising

Everyone is familiar with and grew up with billboards, the original OOH format. These increased in popularity with the automobile age, with businesses advertising roadside stands, restaurants, shops, and lodging along America’s highways. In essence, they are giant posters, visible from a distance as cars with travelers drive by.


Billboards can be embellished with 3D features and animated elements for additional eye-catching value. Billboards are available in different sizes, used for different locations, advertising messages, and ad budgets. The general breakdown is:

  1. The full size is referred to as a bulletin or 30 sheet (as in, 30 sheets that make up the overall display). These are generally 14 feet high and 48 feet wide, giving advertisers 672 square feet of space for the ad along highways.
  2. Posters are smaller structures, generally used for secondary streets.
  3. Junior billboards are the smallest at 72 square feet of ad space. These are seen by both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, and may be freestanding, mounted at street level or on buildings. They make a great ad buy in urban areas and for neighborhood-centric messaging.

Outdoor on the Streets

There are many sizes and formats in between, including street banners and digital street level ads, which can be highly effective. Nielsen reports that 52% of digital street level ad viewers notice them “all” or “most” of the time and that 69% of viewers took some sort of action after seeing a digital street level ad. In addition, 52% of consumers noticed digital street level ads that gave directions to a business (Nielsen)


In a major metropolitan city such as New York or Chicago, you’re also likely to see wallscapes, which are more elaborate, and usually of non-standard size. Wallscapes can be painted on or attached to a building’s exterior. These are excellent for capturing lots of eyes in downtown urban areas over the long term.


Digital billboards

Technology has made digital billboards possible, with bright LED lights promoting the advertiser’s message. Some digital out of home (DOOH) billboards are static (like their traditional counterparts). These do not change (passersby see the same message throughout the outdoor media buy). Or they can have revolving messages and images, similar to digital banners ads that appear on websites. Some boards allow for full motion video.


According to eMarketer, DOOH spend makes up one third of total OOH spending in the USA. And  by 2023, DOOH spending is expected to grow to 42% of total US OOH spending (eMarketer).


Technology also enables interactive billboards and creative applications of augmented reality and location-specific activations.


Street furniture

These outdoor ads appear on bus/transit shelters, telephone kiosks, urban street panels and street banners, park and street benches, city trash receptacles, and lampposts. Street furniture ads also appear on bridges and overpasses, with ads for destinations or attractions as drivers approach an airport or train station. There is some crossover between what some media buyers consider street furniture as opposed to transit ads.


Transit ads

We define these as ads that are in transit themselves, moving from one point to another. They can be inside with passengers or on the outside passing pedestrians. And, if the OOH placement is on a train or subway platform it is also considered a transit placement.


Mobile outdoor

Moving billboards are popular in urban environments where many pedestrians and vehicle passengers are sure to see them. These are vehicle wraps, and trucks with mobile billboards on trailers or mounted on their sides. They are excellent hyperlocal vehicles (no pun intended) for businesses, political campaigns, and special events. Mobile outdoor also shows up in publicity initiatives because it is so effective at transmitting a message in highly targeted areas.


Retail/point of Sale and place-based media

While not always outdoors (these are often indoors), they are certainly out of home—and are often specific to their location. Retail OOH shows up as posters in shopping malls, stadiums and arenas, theatres, and hospitality settings (hotels, bars, restaurants). Counter cards and table tents in stores and restaurants advertise specials, sales, and new items. Even elevator doors have become media for OOH ads.


Outdoor Advertising Options


When developing a media plan and media buy for your ad campaign, it is best to work with an experienced media buyer and ad agency to select the right size and outdoor medium to reach your audience most effectively. At Metro Valley Advertising, we place outdoor ads in all traditional and digital platforms, for businesses in the Hudson Valley and New York metro area. Contact us to discuss your ad budget and best outdoor or out of home strategy for your budget and goals.