How Franchises Can Leverage Out-of-Home Advertising to Gain More Customers
Franchise owners have unique opportunities and challenges when it comes to advertising. While their corporate headquarters may provide collateral and guidelines to support marketing efforts, local campaigns are often left to the franchisees themselves, who may not be aware of all their options. If this sounds like your situation, it might be time to explore Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising, which includes outdoor ads like billboards, bus benches, wallscapes, transit wraps and more. If you’re not familiar with OOH, you’re in for an ROI treat. Here’s more information on how this medium can help you gain more customers.
Why OOH Works for Franchises
Outdoor ads cut through the clutter that so often prevents digital ads from being effective, with studies showing that 90% of U.S. audiences 16+ notice OOH ads. They also deliver the lowest CPM (cost per thousand impressions) of any traditional marketing medium, while ensuring reach, relevance, brand safety, and impact. Finally, outdoor ads are viewed as more authoritative and trustworthy than digital ads, since they’re embedded in the community.
“I wasn’t sure how OOH advertising would go, since it was new to me,” says Mark Steverson, franchise chain owner at Orange Theory Fitness. “But I leaned on my OOH partner and they guided me through the process. We launched OOH campaigns and measured the corresponding footfall and sign-ups at my locations.”
Steverson reported being floored by the results. Not only did footfall and sign-ups increase by over 200%, but he said it also became clear that new folks walking through his doors already saw his brand in a trustworthy light.
Building Blocks of an Effective Strategy
An advertising program without a strategy is like a train without a track; it won’t work and it definitely won’t get you where you want to go. So first, hone in on the specific business outcomes you’re hoping to achieve. For example, a fitness franchise’s goal may be to drive traffic to a nearby location, while a real estate franchise might want to increase brand awareness instead. Other common goals include activating social campaigns, generating awareness for new products or new market launches, to name a few.
The next step is defining your strategic approach. There are plenty of factors that influence OOH ad selection, like proximity to specific points of interest, ability to reach target audiences, price and value, and broad reach. Depending on your goals and budget, you can start whittling down the possibilities of ad formats and media buys so you can get the most from your efforts and dollars.
What to Expect: Costs & Results
Some people think OOH ads are more expensive than traditional media channels like TV or radio, but this isn’t true. In fact, billboards are the most cost-effective traditional medium. Costs for OOH ads are determined by several factors, including location, ad format (e.g. billboard vs. wallscape vs. street art), number of impressions, demographic targeting, design and installation requirements. To give an idea of what’s possible, a bus bench ad in Los Angeles might cost $500 while a massive billboard in a rural area could cost $1,000 for a four-week run. You can get a more exact pricing estimate by checking out a tool like this Billboard Cost Calculator.
When you think about measuring progress, first figure out your idea of success, which should tie into the goals you’ve set. For instance, if brand awareness is your primary goal, you might consider your OOH campaign successful if you achieve a certain number of impressions. Then, you can decide how you’ll measure the efficacy of your campaign.
Traditionally, OOH has been measured through geographic lift (e.g. comparing sales in markets with OOH to markets without OOH). However, there are challenges with this type of measurement, especially for franchisees since it requires extensive market saturation and investment. Today, the most relevant metric for franchisees is footfall, and the ability to directly attribute offline conversion events to OOH campaigns. When your conversion occurs in the real world, such as restaurant visits, some tools can measure footfall and attribute the offline conversions to your OOH campaign exposures.
Certain platforms can provide franchisees with measurement detail on par with digital media measurement. This means marketers have the ability to track and isolate the impact of OOH, directly attribute online and offline events, measure the true ROI through rigorous lift analysis, compare relative performance by unit, optimize campaigns to improve outcomes over time and use the exposure data to power multi-channel marketing and continue the conversation with consumers in other mediums.
OOH advertising is an effective and affordable way for franchises to increase brand awareness and gain more customers. While it can be complex to navigate, it’s easy to plan and execute with the right platform and partner - and immensely rewarding.
Matthew O'Connor is the CEO and cofounder of AdQuick, the first platform to allow brands, agencies and individuals to complete the entire process of planning, buying, executing and measuring out of home (OOH) advertising campaigns anywhere in the U.S.