Advertising is all around us – whether it’s in our homes, in our cars, and even outdoors. Over the years as technology has advanced, the effectiveness of advertising has only increased as results are easier to measure. We are able to pull data on the number of viewers, impressions, clicks, etc. But what about outdoor advertising? Billboards? How is that measured? Out-of-home advertising continues to evolve as it’s survived centuries of ways of advertising. We’ll explain how to measure OOH advertising and why it’s worth investing in.

how to measure OOH advertising

What is Out-of-Home Advertising?

Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as advertising that people see or hear when they are outside of their homes, for example, on buildings or public transport. About 29 billion dollars are spent on out-of-home advertising each year.

Types of Out-of-Home Advertising

According to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the types of outdoor advertising are billboards, transit advertising, and street furniture, among many others.

Why Use It?

Nearly everyone is exposed to out-of-home advertising, be it on the way to work, during a jog, or getting groceries. The OAAA states that people spend seventy percent of the day away from home, making them susceptible to outdoor advertising during an immense portion of their day.

In a study conducted in 1975 by the Institute of Outdoor Advertising (later changed to the OAAA), it was found that the current Miss America’s name recognition improved by a whopping 940 percent when it was advertised on a billboard. This proved that out-of-home advertising has a massive effect on the average consumer. The current landscape of outdoor advertising is dominated by billboards, making up about 65 percent of all examples.

Another important facet of out-of-home advertising is its ability to hold a captive audience. Unlike many digital advertisements, a billboard or other outdoor advertisement cannot be closed.

what is OOH advertising

Measuring the Effectiveness of OOH Advertising

Measuring how well OOH advertising has proven to be a challenge over the years, though this is not unlike many other types of advertisements. There are several different ways companies are gauging the effectiveness of outdoor advertising that show that it is an extremely viable option to promote their business.

Traffic Data

Out-of-home advertising is often located in high traffic areas, meaning large views for any advertisement. According to the American Driving Survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average American will spend roughly fifty minutes driving each day. It was also found that drivers traveled over a combined 2.6 trillion miles in 2016 and 2017. These numbers had both increased from the previous years. This implies that more people are driving further, which in turn shows that out-of-home advertising will only become more prevalent with time.

In 2009, the Arbitron National In-Car Study found that 98 percent of U.S. residents aged 18 or older traveled in a car over the previous month. It was also found that 71 percent of drivers looked at billboards they passed along the road. This shows that an enormous amount of eyes glance over billboards each day. Another finding was that viewers retained the information from billboards, including going to a restaurant or watching a show because of one.

Return On Investment

Another way businesses are measuring the effectiveness of billboards is by checking the Return On Investment (ROI). ROI is defined as a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. The research found that for every dollar spent on billboard advertising, nearly six dollars were generated in profit.

Giant companies like Amazon and McDonald’s have found that an overall increase in sales often follows advertising through billboards in a particular region. A company in Phoenix, AZ found that after campaigning using billboards, 64 percent of consumers reported learning of them through their OOH advertising, leading them to keep investing in outdoor marketing.

Unique Advertisements

Companies have also started to use specific phone numbers, QR codes, and custom landing pages to evaluate how well their advertising is working. By placing a phone number only found on the out-of-home advertisement, a business can gauge exactly how many people have found them because of that exact ad.

The same can also be done with a unique QR code and digital tracking. A custom landing page for a company website found only on an outdoor advertisement also helps a company calculate an ad’s performance. Another example of this is displaying a distinct slogan only found on an out-of-home advertisement and analyzing how often those words pop up in a company’s analytics.


The specific location of an out-of-home advertisement is also a way to survey how well an ad is working. Placing an advertisement in a specific area and checking for an increase in revenue is a reliable way to calculate the ROI of outdoor advertisements.

Case Studies

Over the years, many case studies have been conducted to show that out-of-home advertising is a viable way to grow a business and increase sales. In 2019, the Nielsen Out of Home Advertising Study found that 33 percent of their interviewees looked up a website because of an out-of-home advertisement. It was also found that close to a quarter of the interviewees talked about an advertisement that they had seen away from home with a friend.

In a smaller study conducted by the OAAA, a local liquor store in Colorado was having trouble competing with larger stores due to a local law change. The store invested in several different types of out-of-home advertisements, including billboards, bus wraps, and train interiors. In-store sales increased by 23 percent over the year along with a 20 percent increase in delivery sales. Many other studies conducted by the OAAA led to the same conclusion: OOH advertising works and works well.

Continued Use

Ultimately, the best way to gauge the effectiveness of out-of-home advertising is its continued and prevalent use for decades, even centuries. In America alone, there are over 300,000 billboards, and that number continues to grow. Enormous companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola invest in outdoor advertisements each year.

Though there are many metrics that can be used with how to measure OOH advertising campaigns, the real proof is its lasting impression made on the marketing field.

effectiveness of OOH advertising

Is Out-of-Home Advertising Right For My Company?

Outdoor advertising remains one of the most influential ways to get a message to a consumer, even during the rise of digital marketing. Determining whether it is the right way to move forward is an important step in growing a business. Out-of-home marketing campaigns are a great way to build brand recognition quickly.

Consulting with an advertising agency like bMedia is a great start to understanding and analyzing how an out-of-home ad campaign can help set out and accomplish your business goals.