Holiday advertising is a tough ROI to get right.

Don’t take my word for it – here’s an article from Adweek that reinforces the points I’m going to make in this week’s blog.

Increasingly, retailers are focusing on both context and conversation-driven marketing to better engage with consumers in the moment and drive them into stores.

For retailers, out-of-home media is one of the strongest drivers of store foot traffic and conversion.

Holiday advertising is often make or break time for small to midsize businesses in the retail or consumer (B2C) segment, and failing to get the right message out to prospective buyers has the potential of wrecking an entire year’s worth of sales figures and projections.

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While it’s often difficult to know what will be popular months down the road, there are a few things that retailers and service industry business owners can do that will help to prepare for whatever product/message/trend is on point when the holidays roll around.  And no matter what else we don’t know, we always know the holidays are coming.

Why is Out Of Home (OOH) an important part of a good holiday advertising strategy?

If you’re a retailer, a service industry business, or other direct to consumer type supplier with a brick and mortar facility, you must have realized by now that relying strictly on the traditional methods of holiday advertising – or any time of year – won’t net you the results you need to have a really profitable quarter.  For many companies in this sector, the fourth quarter is the profit margin for the entire year, and thus it’s doubly important that you get it right.

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Consumers today are not just fickle; they rely on their mobile devices for nearly everything.  For instance, I scanned an article in my morning news feed that described how companies fail to take into account online reviews from places like Google, Yelp, and so on.  When you look at the fact that the vast majority of people are using their mobile device while they are out and about, trying to find that perfect sweater, looking for the best new place to get lunch with friends, etc, it could (read:should) make you realize that OOH is the single most determinate factor in how customers land in your doorway versus your nearest competitors place.

OOH by the numbers – how it can affect your holiday advertising success –

Omnicom Media recently released a report that details the effects of OOH on the overall success or failure of an ad campaign.  The report breaks down the impact that a well organized out of home ad campaign can have on a promotion when stacked against a campaign that doesn’t attempt to reach consumers where they actually are making decisions.

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The report further details how the growth of OOH in three sectors – Automotive, Retail (non Grocery), and Food & Drink – is also driving sales in these categories.

In my opinion, if you do not have a good OOH strategy for your holiday advertising – and actually for your every day advertising – that relies on both proximity and geofencing, along with time based initiatives, you are probably falling flat in the profit margins and ROI categories.

The ability to reach out to a customer when they are standing on a street corner a block from your business is more valuable than almost anything else besides your “open” sign.  Being able to suggest to prospective customers that they should spend their money in your establishment at the moment they are nearby and looking for a place to spend that money is a very simple, and very effective, idea.

What exactly is Out Of Home?

OOH can be defined the most simply by the ability to reach a consumer who is not at home.  Sounds silly, eh?  I know it does but I’m going to start small and work up.

Examples of OOH –

  • billboard
  • lock screen notification
  • airplane flyover with signage
  • truck driving around with sign on back
  • sandwich board guy
  • mobile search results

As you can clearly see, the main ingredient all these things have in common is that  our prospective customer is encountering them while they are not at home.  The conversion ratios for each of these types of OOH advertising vary greatly, but so does the time, cost and effort of connecting with prospects via each method.

Trucks driving around with signs, for instance, are incredibly cheap – as are billboards – when you factor in how many people see the truck or drive by the billboard location each day.   Mobile search results, on the other hand, can be prohibitively expensive if your business is in a competitive category with many bidders for the same keywords.  Organic search results for the same keywords can cost you even more when you finish calculating the time and expense of getting a website built that ranks well in search results or what you’d spend for a premium listing with an online service like Yelp or TripAdvisor.

Best value in OOH for holiday ad campaigns and yearly spends

It’s my opinion (again, and very obviously) that your best ROI on the advertising expenditures you’ll make this holiday season – every season really – is going to be on mobile.  Of course I like mobile wallet ads, our platform at powers any number of campaigns, most of which are very successful.

I also think that spending on mobile search results is a great idea.  Mobile versions of social media advertising platforms that include a geo or proximity element is also potentially a winner.  Literally anything that puts the customer who is already in your neighborhood into your store, restaurant, whatever, is the best option for you if you want to be successful.  If you don’t care, then ignore it while your neighbors and close competitors have a go at it and we’ll see if they end up with your business in addition to their own.


Here’s wishing you happy, successful holidays and a fabulous new year!