Best Creative Practices for Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor Advertising has been getting a lot of attention lately for being one of the few traditional advertising formats experiencing growth. Whether you are well-versed in the benefits of out of home (OOH) and use it often, or are just getting started, we want to review three important best creative practices for Outdoor Advertising that will help get your ads noticed.

Nashville Sign for ‘A Star Is Born’ Soundtrack Grammy Consideration

Keep It Simple

A larger ad format doesn’t mean you should cram more information in. Outdoor advertising placements are viewed while on the move. The average driver will have about 5 to 10 seconds to view your billboard. The shorter your message is, the easier it will be for someone to remember.

From static billboards to moving transit units, it’s standard OOH practice to use 7 words or less and use a large, clean font. This applies to video units as well and ensures your ad creative is noticeable and easy to read. Use bold, bright contrasting colors for text and background.

Use a memorable copy line and use succinct, clear language – don’t pack several messages into one ad. Are there more product benefits you want to communicate? Create a series of ads that separately introduce your different messaging but tie back to each other with similar styling.

Digital Board in Toronto’s Yonge Eglington Centre for Be Fair Be Vegan
Digital Board in Toronto’s Yonge Eglington Centre for Be Fair Be Vegan

Think Big: Plan for the Placement

Out of home has its own unique creative requirements and the ads can’t be repurposed from other media channels. Just like your messaging, your creative needs to be intentional in order to connect with your audience. The key to intentional creative is paying attention to the size and format of your placement, as well as, balancing your imagery, copy and whitespace.

Outdoor billboards are viewed at a distance of 500 feet or more. Text needs to be at least a foot tall and space needs to be increased between words and lines making it easier to view from a distance. Fill the space with one high impact hi-res image — grainy or blurry images don’t look appealing on a large scale. Save detailed images for placements like transit shelters, since individuals typically view them up-close and for a longer duration.

Location, Location, Location

A roadside billboard is not the ideal place to utilize direct response tactics like using 800#s and lengthy URLs, especially since consumers only have a few seconds to interact with the medium. You want them to take action?  Tell a story with high impact ads that they will remember.

In densely populated areas with pedestrians and mass transit options, it’s not always necessary to include a specific point of contact like phone number or address. A recent Nielsen study found that two-thirds of OOH viewers used their smartphone in response to seeing an OOH ad and over 4 in 10 viewers who own a smartphone have searched for an OOH advertiser on their mobile device.

American Eagle Board in NYC for J Balvin’s Single ‘Morado’
American Eagle Board in NYC for J Balvin’s Single ‘Morado’

Outdoor advertising can make a big splash with the right placement and right messaging. Be sure to work with a media agency that can find the best environment and location to reach your intended audience. These placements can accomplish more when used in combination with other media types, where you can reinforce the message and provide more details that you can’t communicate in the space of an outdoor ad.

Here are a few campaigns where we’ve used outdoor to help increase awareness for our clients.

Case Studies

J Balvin, Bad Bunny
St. George Dom_BFBV
Be Fair Be Vegan
The Smith's Bus Bench_LA
The Smiths
La La Land_Snipes
La La Land


Want to learn more about TEC Direct Media’s process and how it can help launch your brand?
Share this Story



Receive Special Media Insights