A Guide To Outdoor Advertising 

Outdoor Advertising is everywhere, on the back of toilet doors, in the sky and even on the clothes you wear! If you are thinking of advertising your brand or product outdoors this is a short guide to help you on your way. One of the key things when planning your outdoor advertisement is to be creative. There are so many possibilities for where and how to get your brand seen outdoors, not even the sky is the limit!

There are a few main elements to consider when figuring out how to make outdoor advertising work to its full potential for you and your company. Spending time and energy on research will definitely work to your advantage.

So, here are a few key things to help you:

Outdoor Advertising – Where to start:

As previously stated, the key element to successful outdoor advertising is being creative. You have a great product and/or brand and now it is time to get seen by as many potential customers as possible. Humour works very well in advertising so if you can come up with a short and snappy joke or play on words this could work well for you and help people to remember you.

Does your brand have a certain image that it is associated with or a specific set of colours?

These simple things can also help people to remember your brand. After all, is that not the reason you are thinking about advertising outdoors in the first place? An important thing to remember though is that you do not tend to have the audience’s attention for very long. So it needs to be quick, effective and memorable.


Outdoor Advertising – Design 

If your brand has a certain colour scheme or logo it is good to stick to this as it makes your brand instantly recognisable and looks more professional. If it’s in keeping with your set tone. Your brands’ logo design itself should be clear, recognisable and should feature on all of your ads. You should also consider where the advertisement will be located as brighter colours tend to stand out a lot more against most outdoor scenery such as city buildings.

If you use fairly dark or grey colours it may need something such as a striking design to really stand out where it is placed. Images of your product could work well if done correctly and tastefully. Any images should be highly relevant and of good quality. You have only a short time with your audience it needs to be very clear what you are advertising. The images should not be too busy either.

It is of the utmost importance that you keep your design clear and relevant to what you are advertising.

Think about your reason behind your advertising campaign; is it to have your brand alone seen to gain more recognition and publicity?

Or, is there a specific product or service you are wanting to get out there? The aim is a crucial thing for you to know from the get-go. This will allow you to tailor your outdoor advert to exactly what you need.

A well planned and focussed ad is far more likely to attract the highest number of potential customers.

Location, location, location:

The location of your outdoor advert is one of the most important factors in the success or failure of the campaign. You need to find the best location to attract your target audience. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Footfall: How many passers-by will see your advert?
  • Will it be placed at a bus stop where you not only have longer with the audience and can include a bit more information, but you also tend to have a large number of people seeing your advert every day?  And at all hours?
  • Or will it be a billboard where the message must be short and sweet?
  • Are you advertising in a large city or a small town? You should not always place your advert where the highest density of your target audience will be. Sometimes the busiest places are not the best areas for some products with a more specific audience.

Outdoor Advertising – Rules

  • Rules: You always have to make sure you have permission and that the advertisement follows government guidelines. Advertising outdoors is sometimes restricted in certain areas and has specific guidelines. You should also use your senses and place your ads appropriately. For example you would not want to advertise alcohol or more adult appropriate products near a playground.


  • Be smart! If for example, your product is a restaurant or food-related perhaps consider advertising near a food court where your product is available and so on. If you are advertising a tech company or software your advert could work well near tech-related shops or where people may be waiting and able to access it via their mobile devices. Outdoor advertising gets an instant reaction. If the campaign manages to strike the interest of your target audience you need your product to be as instantly accessible as possible. They can then instantly purchase it.
  • Impulse buying is your friend when it comes to outdoor advertising and you need to use it to your advantage when considering the location of your advertisement.


  • Consider the view. Have you ever been people-watching from a café window? Consider what you can see and which areas draw your attention, could your catchy advert work within view of a busy café for example? Things like this are worth looking into when deciding where to place your advert and can sometimes be overlooked. Sometimes an area may seem unnoticeable but when you view it from another perspective (such as from café windows) it could be a prime spot!



Details such as noting the season can also help you to use outdoor advertising to its full potential. For example, people tend to spend more time indoors during the winter. So perhaps advertising in shopping centres may be more suitable for you.

The product itself may also be affected by the seasons, you would not do as well to advertise sunhats and summer clothing during the winter as you would during the spring and summer. Seasonal holidays are also worth taking into consideration as people tend to do more shopping around holidays such as Christmas.

It may be advantageous for your product to be advertised in the lead up to annual holiday periods. This obviously depends on your brand and products but for many, it is worth acknowledging.

You can also research market trends for similar products to your own during the year if you have not already. When advertising outdoors consider how likely it is that people will see it, during the summer it may work best in and around parks for example as in many cases the places where people congregate most outdoors is often seasonally dependent.


Your Outdoor Audience:

Consider who your audience really is as sometimes the audience you want is not always the audience you get (which is not always a bad thing you just have to adapt!) You can use an outdoor advertisement to grow your audience and gain more and more but you must think realistically and look into who your audience is.

Who buys your products?

Who uses your services?

What kind of people use it?

What audience is your brand aimed at?

Market research is extremely valuable and should not be dismissed when considering the details of your outdoor advertisement pitch. You could even interact with the public outdoors to advertise your company. This way you will see your audience in person and those your brand attracts in the real world. It is worth spending time with your audience in public and interacting with them.

Try asking them what they like and dislike about your products and gain feedback. Depending on your product you could even consider attending fetes such as freshers’ fairs and so on (free pens and little gizmos go a long way and tend to attract a lot more attention!)


Get technical:

Make friends with technology if you have not already! Advertising has become ever more technical and you may wonder how effective this makes outdoor advertising with everyone having their eyes glued to their phones.

However, people still get bored, people still look around and not everyone is nose-deep in their social media at all times!

One way you can use technology to your advantage is by including things such as barcodes and making your advertisement campaign interactive.

People can scan the code and perhaps receive a promotion in the form of a discount, an offer or some small perk associated with your brand. Perhaps you could incorporate a competition and so on, the possibilities are endless.

This is also something people can do quickly when passing by or waiting in public (provided the location is appropriate).

The thing is, people, respond to interaction that is how the world goes around and this can also add an element of fun or excitement to your product or brand. This is also one way in which you can actually track some of the traffic your advertisement is reaching. Of course, not everyone who sees the ad will interact with it but it will let you know about those that do. It will also be able to give you more information on those individuals that do interact with the advert.

In the age of smartphones and technology, it is not a bad idea to embrace it.

Use technology to your company’s advantage wherever possible, even outdoors!


Pros and cons:

As with everything there are positives and negatives to outdoor advertisement. Sometimes it just simply does not work for some products but for others, it can work wonders. You have to take your product and audience into consideration to find out whether outdoor advertisement is appropriate for you.

Multiple approaches using various forms of advertising tend to work best. The more energy you invest in quality advertisement the higher your success rate will be. Here are some pros and cons:


  • Cost-effective. Outdoor advertisement is low cost and reaches a large audience. It is a great way to get your brand seen every day by potential clients while keeping to a smaller budget than some other forms of advertising.


  • It gets your brand out there. Your brand will be seen and this is the whole point of advertisement; increasing brand visibility. Outdoor advertising will for sure get your brand seen.


  • The reaction to the advertisement is instant, the chances of people who want your product actually buying it can increase through impulse buying. So, if you are smart with where you place the ad you will most likely see an increase in your sales.


  • Limited time. You usually only have a very short burst of your audience’s attention when it comes to outdoor advertising so it needs to be short and cannot contain too much information. This can be limiting to some products that need more explanation.
  • You cannot track its success. It is virtually impossible to track how successful your outdoor advertisement has been as there is no real way of counting how many people actually saw the ad. It is even more difficult to track how many of those people actually became customers.


  • Sometimes your brand can be just what people need but it can be hard for them to remember information when it is just viewed in passing. This can make the long-term impact of your advertisement less successful. However, this is where good marketing comes in, you need to try to make your advertisement and brand as memorable as possible so it sticks with people.


In the end:

So, this guide has covered some of the basic and most important things to consider when advertising outdoors. Do your research, get creative and good luck with your campaign!

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