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The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Advertising

Whilst digital marketing may be a popular way to get your message across there’s a reason why traditional methods of outdoor advertising are still around. They are proven to deliver results time and time again and are perfect for businesses, of all sizes, looking to get noticed in their local area.

However, planning an outdoor advertising campaign isn’t as simple as hanging a poster up where people will see it. Making your campaign a success requires creativity, careful planning and research.

To make things simple and straightforward for you, we’re going to guide you through the whole process, from initial ideas and concepts to implementing your outdoor campaign.

What's in this article?

1. What is outdoor advertising?

Out of home advertising (OOH advertising) encompasses any promotions that are displayed outside. This form of advertising reaches your target audience and grabs their attention when they are out and about.

It can include billboard advertising, stickers, posters, banners, signage, and more. It is perfect for advertising your events, promotions, new product launches, or your business information (products/services/opening hours/contact information).

2. What are the benefits of outdoor advertising?

It stands out

Outdoor advertising is unavoidable, it demands attention. Unlike radio or TV ads, your audience can’t simply change the channel. The viewer has no control over whether they see your advert or not.

No matter who you’re targeting, when people are out and about they are typically more aware of their surroundings and thus take notice of your ads.


Consumers spend approximately 70% of their day away from their home.

Outdoor advertising can help you reach your target audience when they pass through towns and city centres every day.

Considering where you place your ads, and choosing high footfall areas is a great way to get your brand in front of more people.

High Targeted

Out-of-home advertising is highly targeted. Your adverts are placed in specific locations, with each location selected to target your ideal clients.

Whether you want to introduce your brand to students or sports fans, you can select your ideal location to ensure your capturing your prospective clients.

Suitable for all budgets

Posters, signage, banners and billboards are all affordable methods of marketing.

Advertising on a billboard or outside your shop front can create an impression at a relatively low-cost.

There’s a whole host of signage options, for a variety of different budgets, depending on the results you want to achieve.

Complements your other marketing materials

Using outdoor advertising can also complement your other marketing methods.

Utilising CTA’s or QR codes that encourage the viewer to visit your website, is a great way to integrate your online or offline marketing strategies. Or, using the same message on your company brochure as you do on your posters outside your shop, can help ensure consistency and generate new clients.

3. Why should I use out-of-home advertising?

Outdoor advertising can be a valuable weapon in your marketing strategy.

It can help you reach the thousands of people that pass through towns and cities every day. Considering your location, and placing adverts where there is high footfall, gets your brand in front of a much wider audience.

During the day, people also spend a lot of time away from their homes. Outdoor advertising capitalises on this fact and allows you to get your message in front of your prospects when they aren’t being exposed to any form of digital marketing, adverts on television, or in newspapers.

4. How effective is outdoor advertising?

Outdoor advertising is a highly effective marketing tool, for small business and large brands alike. But don’t just take our word for it, here are some of the key statistics:

- 47% of consumers can recall an ad that they have seen in the past month. (Nielson).

- Nearly 26% of customers have visited a website in direct response to an outdoor advert.

- 83% of people admit remembering outdoor ads they saw within the last 30 minutes of going shopping (Outsmart, 2011)

- 26% of people said they have noted a phone number and 28% of people said they have made a note of a website address that they saw on an outdoor advertisement (Arbitron, 2009).

- 24% said they have immediately visited a business because of an outdoor ad message (Arbitron, 2009).

5. What are the different types of outdoor advertising?

Signage Boards

Signage boards are a sturdy outdoor promotional tool, that can be affixed to walls or objects outside of your offices.

They offer lots of room for creativity, making them perfect for attracting the attention of passers-by. Statistics have shown that temporary signage can increase your brand awareness by up to 47.7%.

Outdoor signage boards are available in a wide variety of different options:

- Correx signs - an affordable, short-term option made from corrugated plastic.

- Foamex signs – lightweight and durable, great for nailing into surfaces.

- Dibond signs – made from aluminium and plastic, a high-quality, long-term solution.

- Bollard covers – three-faced sleeves for placing over bollards.

Signage boards are made from sturdy materials, making them a great long-term alternative to paper-based marketing materials.

PVC banners deliver efficient, long-lasting results and are built to withstand most weather conditions.

They are easy to store away between your promotions so that they’re available for whenever you made need them next.

They can be custom-made with pole pockets or eyelets for hanging. Making them simple to secure to fences, windows and outside walls.

A-Boards are free-standing, double-sided frames used for displaying posters on pavements.

They are great for placing outside shops or restaurants, to entice customers in, by shouting about your latest promotion or showcasing your menu.

Pavement signs are easy to put up, take down, and store flat overnight. Sandwich boards are built with snap open frame edges, making it simple for you to change your printed posters every time you have a new special offer.

Printed Flags

Promotional flags are perfect for both indoor and outdoor advertising. They can be displayed outside your shop or business premises or at trade shows and business exhibitions.

Printed flags can be customised to suit your branding, and are attached to a pole and held down using a solid base.

They are machine washable, making them a fantastic long-term marketing investment.

Free-standing flags are available in a wide variety of options:

- Feather

- Crest

- Fin

- Teardrop

- Flamingo

If you need help deciding which one is right for you, click here to download our free flag selector.

Wall Stickers

Wall stickers are decals that are perfect for use both outdoors and indoors. They’re great for use in shops, cafés, restaurants and bars.

Wall decals easy to apply, reapply and remove (without any damage) and can stick to many surfaces including concrete, plastic, brick, metal and more.

Vinyl wall stickers can be printed in a wide variety of different sizes and customised to suit your branding and promotion.

Vinyl Floor Stickers

Floor stickers are eye-catching decals that demand attention, both inside and outside your shop or business premises.

They’re great tools for transforming your floor space and reaching more customers by guiding them into your shop or directing them towards your special offers.

Vinyl floor stickers are anti-slip and durable, great for use internally or externally.

Window clings are decals that can be affixed to the inside of a window. Many shops, restaurants and businesses use them to advertise their opening hours, sales information or directions.

Window stickers can easily be applied to glass surfaces, and are simple to remove, with no residue.

Placing window stickers at eye-level is a great way to get passers-by to take notice of your advertisements.



Posters are great if you’re looking for a temporary low-cost form of advertising.

They can be affixed to lamp posts, fences, noticeboards or put up in shop windows and are always noticeable by people travelling on foot.

Advertising posters are fully customisable to suit your campaign and branding, providing you with plenty of scope for creativity to ensure your design stands out.

Billboard Advertising

Billboards are large-format posters that are displayed in areas with high-footfall. This most commonly includes city centres, along busy roads and outside popular tourist attractions.

Billboard adverts are hard to avoid, any many people look and them and take notice of your advertisement without even realising it.

Bus Advertising

Bus advertising is one of the most powerful ways to get the word out about your brand. Moving, targeted adverts are perfect for reaching high volumes of people when they’re on-the-go.

There is a wide range of different bus advertising options which include:

- Low Rears – An advert that occupies an advertising panel on the back of a bus. Great for targeting drivers and commuters.

- Mega Rears – Advertising that occupies the whole of the back of the bus. Perfect for targeting motorists and commuters.

- Bus Street Liner – An advert at eye level, placed along the side of a single-decker bus.

- Passenger Panels – Placed inside the buses themselves. Great for targeting commuters who use public transport.

- T-Side - An advert raised above eye level that is placed along the side of a double-decker bus. Perfect for targeting commuters on foot in highly congested areas.

- Super Sides – Most similar to street liners, these adverts are applied to the side of a double-decker bus so that your business sits elevated across the city.

6. How can I make my outdoor advertising effective?

Use an eye-catching design

When advertising outdoors, you need to make sure your advert immediately draws your target audience’s attention.

Ensure you use bold colours, catchy slogans, a clear font, and make sure it’s readable from a distance. This will immediately attract the attention of any passers-by and allow them to digest the information you’re providing them with.

Think outside the box

As with any advertising campaign, thinking outside the box is a sure way to get your advert seen. Brainstorm ideas that you think your target audience will find valuable, appealing or amusing.

Credit: BBC Creative

In 2020, the BBC marked the arrival of the new TV show Dracula with a creative billboard that demanded attention. The outdoor advert cleverly utilised stakes to reveal the shadow of the Dracula when a sidelight was turned on, at night.

This is just one example of a creative billboard that shows how thinking outside the box can create a truly memorable ad.

Tailor your design to your promotion

As with any advertising campaign, it’s important to consider the purpose of your ad. Is it to share relevant information about your shop? Or to advertise your new products/services?

Depending on your campaign purpose, you may want to alter the way you present your information. A sign to display your shops opening hours will need to be clear, simple to understand and easy-to-follow. Whereas, a poster to support your new product launch may need to be more creative.

Consider your location

Planning is arguably the most important element of any advertising campaign. Choosing the right location for your outdoor advertisement could be the difference between success and failure, so you must get it right.

Some things you may want to consider when deciding upon a suitable location for your ad are:

- Where does your target audience spend most of their time?

- What are your target audience’s interests? – If they like sport, you could promote near a sports stadium.

- What are you promoting? – if it’s a shop, you might want to consider promoting in the vicinity of the store.

Top Tip: Some locations may have advertising restrictions on them. Therefore, you may need to gain permission from the relevant authorities before advertising there. Before splashing out on advertising, ensure you’ve done your research and are aware of where you can/can’t advertise.

Choose an appropriate outdoor advertising medium

The medium you choose is central to the success of your campaign. The medium you select will have different implications for design, artwork size etc.

If you’re looking to advertise outside your shop front, an A-Frame, or window vinyl sticker may be the perfect option. However, if you’re looking to advertise elsewhere, a poster may be more appropriate to get you seen.

Want to know more?

Outdoor advertising is a fantastic tool for helping you stay ahead of your competition, increase your brand recognition and attract new customers.

If you’re ready to take your advertisements outside, we can help you with every step of the process, from design to finding an advertising product that suits your promotion.

Contact us today by calling 0116 259 9955 or email to enquire about the range of outdoor advertising products we produce.

Free PDF Download

To download a PDF version of this guide, click here.

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