OOH Advertising Effectiveness

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OOH Advertising Effectiveness: Statistics

Billboards are the preferred form of advertising of Millennials (globally), with 71% of them noticing and retaining information from posters viewed in the last 30 days. 46% of adults, age 20 – 34, have a positive receptivity to outdoor ad formats.


  • A study conducted by Nielsen found that 51% of adults surveyed "noticed a poster advertisement in the past month and 38% noted a poster in the past week."
  • 47% of poster viewers recalled seeing a specific add making "the normative range for poster campaign ad recall is between 33% and 62%."
  • Brands using 40 or more posters yielded substantially higher ad recall level.
  • 50% of poster viewers "are highly engaged with the ads and look at the messages either all or most of the time."
  • According to the ad recall results, "the normative range for poster campaign ad recall is between 33% and 62%."
  • Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle and other large markets "had an average ad recall of 46%."
  • When it came to whether poster viewers felt engaged, "nearly 6 in 10 poster viewers (59%) agree poster ads stand out more than advertisements in newspapers and over one-third (36%) agree posters stand out more than TV commercials."
  • 61% of viewers agree that poster billboards provide a good opportunity to learn "about new business, sales and events in the area," while 57% say that it often catches their attention.
  • 65% noticed signs directing them to businesses in the area and 55% of those viewers made alternative plans in order to visit the advertised business.
  • 40% of viewers made an effort to visit a business they saw on a billboard, while 24% purchased a product from that business.
  • 40% provided word-of-mouth advertisement by talking to a friend or family member about what they saw, with 13% of those viewers recommending what they saw to others.
  • 30% searched online for details, 29% visited advertiser’s website, 12% downloaded an app, and 12% saved a photo of an ad.
  • Consumers are 48% more likely to click on a mobile ad after seeing the same ad on an OOH ad first, while 1 out 4 consumers will post an image of an outdoor ad to Instagram.
  • 68% of mobile use is done on the go and 70% of a consumer’s day is spent outside the home.
  • According to Omnicom Group’s Benchmarking, OOH increased search’s RROI by 37% when added to the media plan.
  • OOH delivers more online activity per dollar spent than any other offline medium.
  • OOH was the only traditional ad medium to show growth last year.
  • According to Cossette Media’s chief strategy officer Wes Wolch, "outdoor is one advertising environment that can still reliably reach consumers, and Instagram and other visual platforms are completely changing the opportunity for brands."
  • According to Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, "brands which allocated 15% or more of their media budget towards the OOH segment benefited from a significantly greater social media uplift than those brands which shunned the segment entirely."
  • Of OOH brand use, search saw the greatest improvement of 80%, "followed by social media at 56% and online by 31%."
  • Average CPM: $4.95 (losing only to radio).


  • While viewing and noticing poster "was highest among people age 25-34 with 71% noticing a poster in the past 30 days," Nielsen reports that "younger adults are more likely to notice posters."
  • A research conducted by Marketing Sherpa discovered that 21% females and 16% males between age 18-34 prefer companies to communicate with them via billboards in comparison to 11% and 13% of consumers 65 and older.
  • The average viewership of posters within the past 30 days for demo groups of 18 to 44-year-olds is 65%.
  • More than 50% of Millennials use some sort of ad blocker.
  • US Millennials generally have a negative stigma associated with advertisements, especially when it comes to ads on the Internet as opposed to outdoor, print, and TV ads.
  • Fashion brands use billboards to generate user-generated content on Instagram, targeting Millennials and Gen Z specifically.
  • Using no paid amplification at all, Spotify’s Bowie Tribute reached more than 50 million people on social media through the New York City subway, expressing that outdoor advertising has developed into a social channel.
  • 46% of people age 20 to 34 have positive associations with outdoor ads.


  • 45% of poster viewers living in small markets visit businesses after seeing it advertised on a poster, as opposed to 38% of poster viewers who live in large markets.
  • According to The Times Square District Management Association, "more than 355,000 people enter the heart of the square every day, so advertisers have plenty of opportunities to engage."
  • MediaPost reports that "a recent Billups attribution study found that location, frequency, and context each play an important role in successfully influencing consumer behavior with OOH ads."
  • Some states such as Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, and Alaska have banned billboards altogether, "while San Francisco banned off-site billboards San Francisco banned off-site billboards (billboards not on the property of the business being promoted)."
  • In LA, 38% of auto buyers will visit a dealer after seeing an ad on a billboard, making billboards the most influential media for undecided buyers.

Total Ad Spend by City


Strategy #1

We started by looking for publicly available information about the effectiveness of OOH advertising among those ages 25-34 in the US. We scoured through multiple advertising databases, specialized sites, and news articles from reputable sources. However, there is not much detailed information on this age group available in the public domain. Hoping to find better insights, we broadened our research to all age groups, with a specific focus on OOH advertising. With this approach, we found several insights about the overall effectiveness and some insights about the age group, referred to as Millennials or Generation Y that was thoroughly displayed in this brief.

Strategy #2

Next, we chose a more general approach and looked for the preferred traditional ad form for Millennials (and generation Y) and expanded age groups. We found an interesting study analyzing how different generations interact with different types of ads and their positive perception about them that was included in the report. We then looked into what companies are using OOH to advertise for Millennials, how and why they are doing it. We found interesting insights about Spotify and Fashion Houses, considering the client context, even though they weren’t hard data, we decided to briefly introduce those findings in our response.

Strategy #3

Lastly, we looked for information about the OOH market, with emphasis on Billboards. Unfortunately, this last effort didn’t provide us any new insights about the proposed age group from nonbiased sources. The exclusion criteria about biased sources proved to be a challenge since most studies and surveys conducted about the issue are either made or commenced by OOH companies or organizations linked to them.
We assume that this information does not exist in a public forum because third party researchers or objective sources are not available to the public because their information is valuable for competitive reasons.
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OOH Advertising Effectiveness: Examples

Both Comedy Central and Nike used blended media campaigns in September 2018, making their initial announcements on Twitter before billboards went up in the following days. Both campaigns were subversive and seemed to polarize opinion before ultimately benefiting the companies in terms of viewer ratings or revenue.


  • The 22nd season of South Park began on September 22, 2018.
  • The first episode was preceded by a "#cancelsouthpark" Twitter, TV commercial and billboard campaign nation-wide in the USA, beginning on 12 September 2018.
  • Even though the advertising focused on the hashtag #cancelsouthpark, Comedy Central, who screen the show, had already struck a deal in 2015 for a 23rd season.
  • On Twitter on September 12, 2018, the South Park Twitter account launched a 15-second video. This was followed by more of the same or similar messaging.
  • The “America has reached a crossroads” video premiered on YouTube on 12th September.
  • According to blogs, there were TV commercials on Comedy Central using the same hashtag.
  • Comedy Central purchased billboards, apparently in various major US cities, which simply showed the "cancel South Park" hashtag, with Sunset Strip and Santa Monica Boulevard pictured specifically.
  • The campaign was successful in getting fans to share pictures when they saw the billboards.
  • Google Trends shows that online interest in South Park started to grow between 9-15 September as the campaign kicked off, peaking as the season itself began. The spike of the less-searched #cancelsouthpark mirrors that of the main search term “South Park”.
  • Social media reactions were both positive (in terms of not wanting the show to be canceled) and negative towards the show as a result of the campaign.
  • The rating for episode 1 of Season 22 was 5% higher than Season 21’s average rating within the 18-49 age range (the most important age-range for entertainment program advertisers). It was also the most-watched 30 minutes of comedy telecast for that age group in 2018. Ratings are the major factor in keeping a program on air.
  • Although the 18-49 age range does encompass the requested age range of 25-34, it is significantly broader. However, it has been possible to establish that millennials' number one comedy is Rick & Morty.
  • People who view Rick & Morty also view South Park, so it could be assumed that millennials (i.e. people who are 23-38) also enjoy South Park to the same degree.
  • Additionally, the median age of someone who uses Hulu (where Rick & Morty is played) is 31.
  • In 2019, Comedy Central announced that South Park would continue to run past its 23rd season, implying that the audience is still sufficiently engaged to continue.



We have included a 2015 source, which is much older than the Wonder guidelines of two years, as it noted a deal made at that time to continue production of South Park through to 2019 and we considered this to be highly relevant.

In terms of Comedy Central billboards, although we found a source that stated they had bought billboards across America, we could only find photographic evidence of those in L.A. and have included those in the sources.

From Part 01
  • "Currently more than half of millennials actively block ads and Gen Z is even more likely to use a form of ad blocking. This year, over 33% of television consumers will have canceled traditional Pay-TV services and now over 90% of the US population listens to streaming radio, with most vehicles already equipped to offer streaming services."
  • "The shift in audience consumption habits has led to more investment in out-of-home (OOH) marketing. Outdoor ads have a steadfast, evergreen quality that appeals to most younger consumers and in contrast to other media channels, cannot be overlooked by skipping, fast-forwarding or paying more to avoid ads."
  • ""
From Part 02