An image of a sales funnel

How Out of Home Media Can Drive Consumer Behavior Through the Entire Sales Funnel

The perception that OOH is just for brand awareness has made many advertisers ignore how Out of Home media can drive consumer behavior through the entire sales funnel. Out Of Home media has traditionally been viewed as a Top of Funnel advertising medium that raises brand awareness but has little effect on the rest of the customers’ purchase journey, whether it’s consideration or conversion.

A look at the features and capabilities of different types of Out of Home media will reveal that it can support every stage of your sales funnel. An integrated marketing plan with Out of Home media and digital strategies can be very effective in delivering impact from top to bottom.

A billboard advertising greek yogurt

Top of Funnel (ToFu) — Creating Awareness and Interest

This is where you make consumers aware of your brand. It involves the steps you take to build an audience, introduce your brand, product, or service. At the Top of Funnel, you are creating interest in the compelling aspects of your business, such as newness, price, significant features, and any other aspect that makes your brand stand out from the competition.

How Out of Home Media works at the Top of the Sales Funnel:

Here are out of home characteristics that support this level of the sales funnel:

  • High reach – Out of Home can reach large numbers of people within a short time
  • Low cost per thousand (CPM) – It can reach large numbers at a comparatively low cost
  • Broad Audience coverage – OOH can reach a diverse audience
  • Consumers are more attentive to OOH now, many are experiencing “digital burnout” from the forced isolation of the pandemic.
  • Capitalizes on Share of Voice (SOV): Standout in the market, as other advertisers are slow to include OOH into their media mix.


Good Media choices for this level:

Media choices that work well at the top of the sales funnel are those that deliver high quantities of impressions, reach, and broad coverage.  Often offering a large creative canvass showing to a broad audience, they provide brands the opportunity to get creative with their messaging, driving intrigue amongst those seeing the display.


Appropriate Tactics for Out of Home at the top of the funnel focus on maximizing the benefits of reach and coverage, low CPM’s and spectacular spaces.

  • Simple messaging — the old OOH adage of “7 words or less” should be taken as an important guideline.
  • Creative branding aimed at making your brand attractive to consumers.
  • Proximity targeting: Using OOH close to your locations – or your competitors – is still an effective tactic.
  • Market saturation: – Take advantage of OOH’s low CPM to blanket the market with coverage
  • Attribution back to OOH media via mobile location data and tracking pixels: Use geofencing to create digital cohorts of exposed consumers and move them into your digital ad stream.

A transit shelter with advertising media

Middle of Funnel (MoFu) — Fueling Consideration

Most advertisers have a good understanding of how OOH fills the top of the funnel, but miss out on how Out of Home media can drive consumer behavior through the entire sales funnel. The middle of the funnel is where consumers consider making a purchase. At this point they’re likely comparing other products, doing online research, and reading reviews.. At this stage a more precise brand message is called for, highlighting what sets you apart from competitors.

How Out of Home Media works at the middle of the sales funnel:

There are a number of characteristics of Out of Home media that help support middle of funnel actions:

  • Higher frequency — consumers encounter your brands more frequently, making sure that you are front of mind when the research and consideration phase begins.
  • Longer dwell times: This allows for a more detailed message and additional time for a consumer to absorb your value proposition.
  • More granular targeting: segment marketing with OOH– you can target custom creative to reach specific audience segments.
  • Contextually relevant advertising: Similar to digital publications, location matters! This part of the sales funnel allows you to place ads in relevant locations and venues. For example, marketing a protein bar at a fitness center

Good Media choices for this level:

These media formats are among some of the choices that provide the attributes that help drive traffic in the middle of the sales funnel:

  • Transit stations: People will typically spend at least several minutes waiting for their bus or train.
  • Transit interiors: Targets the passengers seated in the transit capitalizing on a long dwell time
  • Posters and Bus Shelters: Typically found on arterial roadways with slower speed limits allow for longer approach reads, higher frequency, and closer physical proximity to the audience.
  • Street level media in major metros: pedestrians in the area will have a longer read time and can take in more information.

Appropriate Tactics for this level focus on taking advantage of dwell times and frequency to impart more information, building on previous campaign messages. leveraging detailed calls-to-action enabled with tech like QR codes.

  • Longer messaging: It uses value proportions and highlights the features of your brand
  • QR codes, unique URLs and take ones: They lead people to additional information about the advertisement
  • Call to action with an incentive or sale offer

An experiential Out of Home media activation

Bottom of Funnel (BoFu) – Driving Action

At the bottom of the funnel consumers are ready to make a purchase. They are close to a decision, have an urgent need or are on the way to a retail location to buy a related product.

How Out of Home media works at the bottom of the sales funnel:

Some OOH media characteristics that help support bottom of the funnel activities include:

  • Hyperlocal targeting: At this stage, you’ll pinpoint the specific audience that is most likely to convert and focus efforts there. The target audience can be refined by outlining audience demographics and behavioral profiles
  • One-to-One engagement: Engaging with consumers directly through activities that allow them to test your brand. This can include free samples or brand ambassadors hosting product demos.
  • Data capture: This can be achieved through QR codes, through direct sign-ups, or registrations.
  • Path to Purchase: Focusing brand placements close to the point of sale (POS).

Good OOH media choices for the bottom of the funnel focus on one-to-one engagement, context, and proximity.

  • Lifestyle media in venues: These can be in or very near to the place of purchase for brick-and-mortar brands, using contextually relevant creative
  • Experiential Activations: Create pop-up events and unique experiences that will bring your brand to life and allow for personal engagement.
  • Mobile media: wrapped vehicles, mobile billboards, segways and other mobile OOH can create targeted touchpoints at a critical time just before purchase

Appropriate Tactics for the bottom of the funnel are focused on those that can help convert the interested consumer – ease of access, demos,

  • Brand Ambassadors: Make things easy for consumers to test your product or sign up for your service right on the spot.
  • Digital incorporation: use digital media to engage with more immediate response ads.
  • Proximity:  placing your ads close to the point of sale and relevant brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Promotions: Short term sales and time sensitive promo offers
  • Highly Focused Locations: Target large events, conferences and festivals with a large concentration of your audience.

Put simply, OOH is not solely a Top of Funnel media tactic. Out of Home media can drive consumer behavior through the entire sales funnel. While it very effectively drives brand awareness and reach, targeted touchpoints with action-driven messaging can drive performance at the middle and bottom of the funnel as well. OOH formats with extended audience dwell times and relevant in-real-life touchpoints along a consumer’s journey are key components to a successful marketing mix.

Download our mini-eBook for a summary of how Out of Home media can drive consumer behavior through the entire sales funnel.

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Chris Rulli
I started at an OOH vendor and now, at EMC, develop strategic plans to meet client objectives. I enjoy spending time with my dogs and fiancé, challenging myself with new workouts, and watching war movies and documentaries.

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