Most Effective Outdoor Advertising Strategies

John Follett

By Darren Leach

Of the various advertising mediums available outdoor advertising continues to be an effective choice, despite being one of the oldest. This is due to its ability to adapt and change throughout the years to remain a viable option for marketers. However, all outdoor advertising is not created equally and some strategies are more effective than others.

Outdoor as a Supplemental Strategy

One of the most effective ways to use outdoor advertising these days is in a supplemental capacity. Due to its unique strengths and attributes, outdoor can be used to support campaigns conducted across multiple platforms.

A good example is the use of billboards. Billboards do not have a lot of time to grab and hold an audience’s attention, which makes them less than ideal for relaying long and complex messaging. However, they’re the perfect medium to use short and bold messaging that supports and reinforces the overall message of a more complex campaign.

Outdoor can also be used effectively to strengthen online, digital or social media campaigns. Outdoor ads that list a website or tell people to follow a certain hashtag can drive traffic to those respective campaigns and increase their power and reach.

Diamond Life billboard
(Image Source)

Outdoor Guerilla Marketing Strategies

Guerilla marketing tactics can be another way to effectively use outdoor advertising. These types of techniques are a bit unconventional, but they’re also quite powerful.

In regards to outdoor advertising, the best way to use guerilla marketing techniques is to use them to put outdoor ads where people least expect them. This can range anywhere from hiring street artists to draw outdoor ads in chalk around town or simply placing stickers (basically tiny billboards) in unique places. The key is to reach the audience in places that they are not used to seeing ads, which increases the likelihood that they will absorb the intended messages.

Guerilla Marketing


Augmented Reality as an Outdoor Strategy

Although it is still a developing technology, augmented reality can already be used as part of an effective outdoor strategy.  Patterned after virtual reality, augmented reality, or AR, is defined as “an enhanced image or environment as viewed on a screen or other display, produced by overlaying computer-generated images, sounds, or other data on a real-world environment.”



Augmented reality has been turning heads in the marketing realm as it has the potential to change the entire landscape of the advertising industry. Through augmented reality, companies are able to reach their audience across multiple platforms that inject a creative element of interactivity – enabling the advertisement to stimulate the consumer both physically and cognitively.  While there is growing excitement over the future of augmented reality, it currently has some useful applications in regards to billboards.

Augmented reality can be used to bring billboards to life on a person’s smart phone or tablet. This can be used to take advantage of the excitement surrounding augmented reality. Again, this element of interactivity adds a unique layer to an advertisement that is sure to draw attention, thus increasing the reach of one’s ad. As passersby, the average advertisement is nothing special, merely something we read, and then continue on our way. On the other hand, if an ad is able to pull the consumer out of their own reality and into an unprecedented experience, needless to say you have caught their attention.

Supporting complex campaigns using bold, short messages, guerilla marketing, and implementing augmented reality techniques are some of the most effective strategies for utilizing outdoor advertising. Employing the right strategy for your message is critical to the success of your outdoor campaign. While the advertising landscape will continue to change and evolve, it appears that outdoor advertising as a medium will find ways to adapt and remain a viable marketing option.

Darren Leach is an experienced outdoor advertising professional who specializes in media planning. He enjoys writing about outdoor advertising and sharing his knowledge of the industry. For more information on effective outdoor advertising strategies, visit Billboard Source.

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