This article highlights the traditional process of buying outdoor advertising. For our readers, it’s important to understand how OOH was previously bought, in order to appreciate the new innovations in the market today. At ADstruc, we have brought the OOH industry online with powerful tools to help buyers and sellers better manage their operations. We hope you enjoy the post.
Out-of-Home advertising for your business
Out-of-Home, outdoor, or OOH, advertising refers to a broad range of advertising media including billboards, closed-circuit TV networks, cinema advertising, transit media, and even skywriting. In fact, any time you travel, commute, or walk out of your front door - OOH is all around you!
Whether you are launching a new product, directing users to a retail location, promoting an upcoming event, or just building brand awareness, you can achieve your goals with outdoor advertising. You can learn more about how advertisers are using Out-of-Home here.
Advertising firms which own and rent billboards are referred to as operators, and include large integrated firms such as CBS Outdoor, Lamar Advertising, Van Wagner Communications, Adams Outdoor, Titan 360, Fairway Media Group, and many other local and independent firms.
A detailed look at planning an OOH campaign
Planning your first Out-of-Home campaign need not be daunting. The following flowchart illustrates the traditional buying process, including major milestones and the average time necessary to put up your first billboard. To avoid delays, we recommend planning your campaign at least 6-8 weeks in advance.
Submit a New Request For Proposal
In order to find billboards and get quotes, you must contact individual operators and send them a Request for Proposal, (RFP).
This process is very similar to your last home remodeling project. However, instead of inviting contractors into your kitchen to evaluate your old cabinets and countertops, your RFP is a document that defines the goals and criteria of your advertising campaign including location, timing, the type of media, and budget.
However, using ADstruc, you can submit your online RFP to dozens of operators with one click. We work with hundreds of operators across the country so that you can focus on finding the right billboard instead of the right phone number. You can learn more about creating an RFP through our online tutorial.
Once an operator receives your RFP, a sales rep will identify which of their billboards fit your criteria and send you a customized proposal. This proposal can be online (via ADstruc) or offline via Excel spreadsheets and PDF maps. Depending on the number of markets and operators you send your RFP to, it can take several business days to receive all of your proposals.
ADstruc proposals live online and use interactive Google maps to illustrate where each board’s location is and why it was selected for you. Instead of shuffling inpidual spreadsheets and email attachments, you can compare price, location, and other sales data in one streamlined view.
Negotiate and Accept a Proposal
As with most service proposals, OOH pricing is often negotiable. It’s a good idea to compare pricing and coverage across operators before negotiating a discount. If you are purchasing multiple units from an operator, you may be able to secure a discount or other concessions.
You can use ADstruc’s built-in messaging tools to negotiate with each operator on individual billboards or entire proposals. Afterwards, you can accept the proposal to initiate a media contract.
For an explanation of the factors influencing OOH costs and a comparison against other media, please refer to our detailed help center article.
All outdoor advertising operators will require you to sign a contract to secure and finalize the purchase of a billboard. The contract will be similar to a self-storage lease and covers the terms and conditions of the sale. Operator may also require a basic credit check for new customers.
Whether you use ADstruc or go direct to operator, contracts are always written between yourself and the operator.
Deliver Art to the Printer
If you’re new to Out-of-Home, printing a billboard may sound trivial, however it’s an important component which affects your budget and campaign timing.
A standard billboard is 14’ tall, 48’ wide, and printed on special type of vinyl. As a result, you must contact a specialized OOH printer to produce it. Most printers will accept digital art files (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, etc). Both the artist designing the advertisement and the printer will require production and design specifications which will be provided by the operator.
ADstruc has partnered with Circle Graphics, the leading OOH printer in the country, to offer you extremely competitive production rates.
Print, Ship, and Post the Vinyl
Regardless of the printer, it takes several days to setup, approve proofs, print your billboard, and deliver it to the operator’s installation department. Operators typically ask that the billboard vinyl arrive 10 business days prior to your campaign’s start date. Once the operator receives your billboard, an installation crew will install it the evening before or morning of the start date specified on your contract.
Receive Photo Confirmation
A couple of days after your billboard has been posted, you will receive a Proof of Performance report from the operator. This report will contain photos of the actual billboard and certifies the date it was posted. If you are buying the billboard as part of a co-op marketing program, you will need this report for reimbursement.
Of course, ADstruc always has your back - you can reach our account team by calling 646.692.4966 or emailing us.
ADstruc would like to introduce you to Pebble, ‘the first watch built for the 21st Century’ and the highest grossing project ever on Kickstarter! Pebble’s own Eric Migicovsky approached us a few days ago about his idea for a simple, but well executed billboard on the 101 in Silicon Valley. Their goal was simple, to advertise to software developers that Pebble is the next big platform and that by introducing Pebble to developers in the Bay area, they can help build a larger catalog of apps for all Pebble users. By using ADstruc, Eric was able to go from an idea to a posted billboard in ten days.
How did we get a billboard up in less than two weeks? By streamlining the entire outdoor sales process!
Before ADstruc, there were two choices to discover & purchase outdoor advertising: 1) do it yourself by calling each individual vendor, asking for a proposal, and comparing sales sheets, or 2) engaging a media agency and giving up control of the process.
With ADstruc, it took Eric about five minutes to submit a single Request for Proposal (RFP) that reached outdoor advertising companies covering the 101. The RFP included all of the timing, budget, location, and demographic details that vendors needed to understand and process his request.
After reviewing the RFP details, each vendor identified units that matched Eric’s criteria and added them to an online proposal. Over the next few days, Eric received an email every time a vendor submitted a proposal for review in his ADstruc dashboard.
Instead of receiving oversized email attachments, illegible PDF maps, and countless rows in Excel, ADstruc’s platform automatically organizes all the information into one consolidated, interactive proposal, complete with Google Maps and Street View. By viewing the billboards side by side in one consistent format, Eric could compare each location based on multiple criteria (e.g., proximity, photo, marketing description, price, etc.) and select the perfect board for Pebble.
After selecting the perfect board, ADstruc initiated the contract between Eric and CBS Outdoor, the winning vendor, to reserve the billboard space. Finally, Eric worked directly with our partners at Circle Graphics, who printed Eric’s billboard in a record two days and shipped it out to SF for next day installation!
We’d like to thank our partners, CBS Outdoor, and Circle Graphics, as well as everyone who participated in the RFP. Of course, we couldn’t be more excited about working with Pebble - be sure to check out their Kickstarter project here: http://kck.st/HumIV6
If you’d like to see the billboard for yourself, it’s located near Exit 403 on the 101, just North of the East Palo Alto Ikea.