How Do I Know If Outdoor Advertising Is Working?

Be Seen Marketing

Published Nov 29, 2023, 3:06 PM
Approx. read time 5 mins

Outdoor advertising, also known as Out Of Home or OOH, is a powerful tool that your business can utilise. If you're unsure what it is, simply, it's the collective term for adverts found outside the home. Think billboards and bus shelters.

Outdoor advertising can work great for many businesses. It puts their message in front of potential customers as they go about their daily lives.

You've probably heard of the benefits, such as high volumes of people looking at the ads, or that they stand out from other forms of advertising. But how do you know if it's true?

Unlike digital marketing, where you can measure the number of visitors to your website, outdoor advertising can be a bit of a mystery. Who sees your ads, and do they take in the message?

The problems measuring outdoor advertising

Although outdoor advertising can be effective, there are three main problems when it comes to measuring if it works for you:

  1. Consumers might see multiple campaigns when they're out and about. Making it difficult to know how many are seeing your campaign.
  2. Most outdoor campaigns are run alongside other campaigns, making it difficult to isolate from the other forms you're using.
  3. People can forget where they saw the advert, making measuring impressions tricky.

Even if your outdoor campaigns suffer from any of these, don't give up on them. They are still an effective form of advertising, and there are other ways to measure their effectiveness.

Measuring the effectiveness of outdoor advertising

Kier Living advertising on lift doors

It can be difficult to track how effective your outdoor advertising is, but it's not impossible.

Measuring impressions

While measuring the number of times passersby have looked at your advertising is tricky, you can work out a rough estimate.

You need to consider how long the ads have been running, how many people live near the ads, and whether you know any information about travel in the area.

If an agency is running your campaign, they can likely provide this information for you, and they may also be able to give you a weekly report that can help you gauge the number of impressions your ads have received.

Pay attention to your calls to action

Your calls to action (CTAs) are what you want someone to do after they see your ad. It could be as simple as "visit our website" or "pop in today".

If you're running an outdoor advertising campaign, you can have CTAs that are bespoke to the campaign. Such as "5% off with the code billboard5" or "Ask us more about these offers".

If you're contacted using your bespoke CTA, you know someone has seen your outdoor advertising and taken the message on board.

Also, if you vary your CTAs depending on the type of outdoor advertising you're doing, or the geographical location, you can get a broader sense of what's working and where.

Measure your sales before and after

KierLiving advertising at a bus stop

This is a simple way of measuring your return on investment (ROI). If, after running your ads for a month, you're seeing more sales than you were before you began running your ads, then it could be that your ads are bringing in more customers.

However, to ensure the increase is because of your outdoor advertising, you need to make sure you're not running any other campaigns at the time. Otherwise, the increase could be down to one of the other campaigns.

Create a webpage that's only advertised on your outdoor campaigns

This one can be a little more technical, but it can help you see how many people are interested in your business after seeing your outdoor campaigns.

When running your ads, advertise a webpage that you don't use anywhere else. It could be as simple as using rather than These two pages could look identical. But if /outdoor is being visited, you know people are finding it through your adverts.

You can use the same method but with hashtags on social media, too. If you design your campaign around a theme such as your business' birthday, you can incorporate that into your hashtags - for example, #Roseblade10. If you search the hashtag and find it being used, you know your advertising is working. Plus, you can measure how many times it's been used to give an idea of reach.

Conduct a survey

Not everyone likes doing surveys, but hear me out. Just ask people how they heard of you when they get in touch.

If they're contacting you through your website, have it as one of the contact questions. Or when you meet with them, ask them during the meeting.

It may seem a little strange to start with, but it can help you gauge the effectiveness of multiple campaigns you're running.

Summing up

Outdoor advertising can be a great tool for your business and spreading the word about what you do. But there are drawbacks that come with it.

Whether you're unsure about the number of impressions your ad is receiving, or you're not sure how to isolate it from your other campaigns, there are ways around it.

With a well-designed campaign, you can build in ways to track its effectiveness and whether it's having an impact on your business overall.