How to Design a Forward-Thinking Outdoor Advertising Campaign


With many consumers spending much of 2020 inside their homes, the opportunities for them to get out and enjoy the outdoor spaces in their favorite cities are greater than ever. Advertising trends are also changing, with more and more marketers paying attention to valuable outdoor spaces as a way to get in front of these consumers.. The demand for outdoor ad inventory (OOH) is skyrocketing. eMarketer predicts that digital out-of-home (DOOH) spending will grow from $2.72 billion in 2020 to $3.84 billion in 2023.

Besides consumers being more out-of-the-box, there are also practical reasons for the growing interest in DOOH, often related to brand safety. New technologies provide many benefits of the online marketing experience while circumventing privacy, fraud, ad blocker and other issues that online-only advertisers face. Firefly is a street-level digital media platform that connects audiences with dynamic taxi and ride-hailing ads and uses these advanced technologies in spaces where traditional OOH may be limited.

Firefly timestamps the latitude and longitude coordinates of each of its screens every few seconds using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS technology, and proprietary algorithms. As a result, brands can leverage this technology to deliver the most relevant content to outdoor consumers at all times.

“Our screens constantly ping our ad servers, extracting the most relevant content to display on our screens based on car location, time of day, or even weather-triggered content,” explains Rob Madelmayer, vice president of sales for Firefly.

To spend marketing budgets effectively, brands need to understand emerging DOOH technologies, why their relevance is growing, as well as design best practices for creating eye-catching outdoor campaigns.

OOH measurement and attribution

While it’s relatively easy to ignore a TV or mobile ad, street-level advertising is unobtrusive, blends into the environment around you, and captures the attention of potential audiences where they live, work and are playing.

Pairing this unique value with measurement capabilities opens up new use cases for brands.

Over the past year, Firefly has developed a measurement methodology called Street.IQ that leverages live data to optimize OOH campaign performance along the way. Madelmayer says the tool analyzes how screen creation, time of day, day of week, and location affect performance, allowing brands to adjust spend accordingly.

“In 2021, there is no reason for anyone to wait until the end of a campaign to know if a campaign is successful or not when we know there is a better way. Just as you would expect other digital media platforms, our technology allows advertisers to optimize campaigns on the fly,” he says.

Steven Rivera, director of creative services at Firefly, explains that Allbirds also used this information to improve its media spend on other channels.

Creativity at the service of performance

Steven Rivera, director of creative services at Firefly, explains that while advanced technologies are crucial, design best practices are just as important. Brands should leverage the innate characteristics of OOH and use dynamic triggers to make ads more relevant.

“Then you can create action online and buzz offline,” says Rivera.

Firefly helps advertisers design as many ad iterations as they need and swap them out as often as they want at no additional cost. Rivera says this helps advertisers get the most out of real-time targeting.

Other OOH design tips include:

  • Use motion and animation to grab people’s attention. Some brands, including Adidas, have experimented with dynamic countdowns to notify consumers of their proximity to the nearest store.
  • Aim for attention-grabbing text and images and continually test to see what works.
  • Keep the call to action for the duration of the ad creative to give the audience plenty of time to digest the information.

Because Firefly describes itself as “data-obsessed”, they are able to provide additional insights to advertisers and meet growing customer expectations. As technology continues to evolve, the outdoor advertising industry must evolve with it and meet the expectations of marketers based on what is available through other types of advertising.

“We are not reinventing the wheel; we are perfecting it as technology allows us,” says Madelmayer. “Every dollar that advertisers invest in these campaigns needs to be optimized to ensure the right message is delivered at the right time.”


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