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How Long Should an OOH Advertising Campaign Last?

When you plan an out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaign, one important decision you have to make is how long it will last.

Of course, you want more people to see your ad. Thanks in part to a phenomenon called creative fatigue we can assess when the exposure value of that copy decreases. To get consumers to pay attention to your messaging instead of tuning it out, it is helpful to understand the concept of creative fatigue. Dialing in to the various unique elements that affect the timeline of an OOH advertising campaign can also inform the right timing.

What's Creative Fatigue?

Also called ad fatigue, creative fatigue happens when your ad appears so often that your audience tunes it out and stops paying attention. If you over-serve a low-quality ad to the same people, you may even hurt your brand's reputation and drive potential customers away. Creative fatigue can cause your campaigns to become less effective and lower your ROI in the long run. 

Creative fatigue graph

General Tactics to Combat Creative Fatigue

Marketers can reverse the effects of ad fatigue by refreshing their existing creatives or building new campaigns. To combat creative fatigue, across various channels, you can also:

  •     Update the color palette and images of display ads
  •     Adapt copy of text ads to the audience's habits and preferences
  •     Follow a strategic schedule, so ads are only served at relevant times
  •     Rotate ads frequently, so audiences see different creatives
  •     Monitor campaigns to prevent creative fatigue from setting in

How to Combat Creative Fatigue in OOH Advertising 

It's easy to switch out some text on a Google Ad, but it takes more planning and resources to prevent ad fatigue in OOH advertising. Additionally, the time scale and exposure of an OOH advertising campaign are different from that of an online campaign.

Finding that sweet spot where you achieve enough exposure to build awareness and drive conversions but not so much that the audience tunes out your message or even develops a negative impression of your brand can be tricky.

To hone in the timing and duration of your OOH advertising campaign, understanding the various unique elements that impact an OOH campaign's timeline is key.

Lead Time to Frame Messages

When you run an OOH advertising campaign, you must account for the production costs and installation time. This means you need to anticipate when ad fatigue may set in and plan for a refresh ahead of time. You can leverage historical data to understand the behaviors of your target market (e.g., see when the effectiveness of past campaigns start to trail off) and use the insights to inform your scheduling. 

OOH Ad Placements

Quantity, locations, and total market coverage impact how often the target audience sees your ad. The total number of impressions will contribute to how quickly ad fatigue sets in. For example, if your ad appears in many locations within an area where your target audience walks by daily, developing multiple creative executions or implementing copy changes may help to keep consumers engaged in your message.

Quality of the Creative

To get the most of your OOH advertising campaign, it is important to maintain a consistent brand image when you give the campaign a facelift. Unlike online platforms where brands have more leeway to make changes, OOH ads must be recognizable in a split second. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) based on your campaign goals and use data analytics to ensure that you're striking the right balance between performance and creativity.

OOH Ad Formats 

The format and size of your OOH ads (e.g., traditional billboards, wallscapes, street furniture, transit) and the circumstances under which they're viewed can affect how much attention the audience pays to the messaging. For example, if the audience would be staring at an ad for a few minutes while they wait for a bus, they may develop ad fatigue sooner than when they only get a glimpse of a wallscape for a few seconds while driving by.

Market Saturation

If an OOH ad is placed alongside other ads, the space competition can divert attention and reduce the effectiveness of the ad. As such, you may need to run the ad longer to achieve the desired level of exposure. Also, consider the context, such as distraction from other activities or mobile devices, to achieve the ideal level of audience attention.

Advertising Retention

Collect data and measure how well the audience is retaining the advertising message from your OOH campaigns. For example, in a crowded area where many things compete for consumers' attention, the retention rate may be lower, and you may need to run an ad longer. On the other hand, if your ad dominates the space and captures attention right away, ad fatigue may set in sooner.

Finding the Right Duration for Your OOH Advertising Campaign

Every brand, target audience, and location is different. Running A/B tests is the best way to address all the unique elements and hone in the timing for your OOH advertising campaigns.

To get the most from your A/B testing effort, use an OOH platform that provides rigorous data analytics and reporting. Data attribution is a method that allows advertisers to identify who has seen an OOH ad based on anonymous cell phone location data and find out what actions they took online or offline as a result of the exposure.

Creative Fatigue-1

Our OOH data attribution solution collects billions of location data points daily and creates customer journeys of 300 million unique users. The data enables our clients to map placements and points of interest to customer journeys and run A/B tests to understand consumer behaviors and audience preferences. Our in-depth reporting helps brands select the best timing and placement to optimize exposure to audiences most likely to convert.

Learn more about our attribution capabilities and see how we can help you get the most from your OOH advertising campaigns.