Demystifying Outdoor Media for the Digital Marketer

We’re now 20 years into the attention economy. A model that’s served the interests of business quite well has led to a kind of “distraction lifestyle” for actual people.

Instagram is the place to learn that all your friends are more beautiful and do more wonderful things. Even Linkedin is just a collection of the great things other people do. We’ve lost touch with the world around us, and we see the consequences of that–societal fragmentation, post-truth politics, a parade of phone zombies walking through Cambridge (our hometown).

As depression rates spike in our endless race in the hamster wheel to keep up with Karlie Kloss’s fitness routine, or David Cancel’s Linkedin game, data suggests we are finally moving past “Peak Social.”

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 4.56.19 PM.png

Time spent on social networks declined by 1 minute last year, a stark difference from the cumulative 13-minute gain in 2016 and 2017 (eMarketer, 2019). We were surprised to find that here at Soofa, over half the staff had deleted Facebook from their phones.

This is why the outdoor media market is growing.

The outdoor advertising industry grew by 7.7% in Q2 this year…Growth that out of home (OOH) ad revenue hasn’t experienced in more than a decade. (Adweek, 2019)

In fact, it’s an $8B market, the fastest-growing traditional media, while radio, newspaper, and others are losing market share. This is not a surprise given current societal trends and the reach outdoor media achieves.

Out-of-home advertising, or outdoor advertising, is advertising that reaches consumers while they are outside their homes.

In a world of clicks, likes, and page views, out-of-home is more of a core media buy than ever before. It can’t be blocked, skipped or viewed by bots. Out of home is always on, wherever consumers live, work, travel, shop and play.

Growing urbanization brings growth in public and alternative transportation and investments in placemaking and community.

Out-of-home viewers are younger and more affluent than the general US population, and the highest indexing out-of-home demographic is adults ages 16-34. (OAAA, 2019) 

Soofa Signs are strategically placed in locations with high foot traffic, and we work closely with city leaders to place Signs equitably across cities to reach many different audiences. Because of our sustainable platform and E Ink screen design, Soofa Signs can be placed where other out-of-home platforms are barred, like Boston’s Seaport, The Town of Brookline, and Cambridge’s Kendall Square. 


Today’s out-of-home medium offers new technologies, new formats, and more creative thinking to help advertisers and their agencies take their message further.

The industry has embraced innovation in all parts of the business to keep pace with where advertising and the consumer are headed, breaking through the clutter and grabbing people’s attention.

At Soofa, we developed our self-service platform, Soofa Talk, so anyone running campaigns on Soofa Signs can update, edit, and schedule creative anytime. This allows advertisers to strategically place the right message at the right time.


More measurability and research in the field leads to great results. Out-of-home generates greater store traffic increases than mobile, or mobile plus desktop media combined.

  • For every $1, approximately $5.97 in sales is generated, outperforming digital display, print, and radio. (Omnicom Media Group, 2017)

  • 66% of OOH viewers, ages 16+ were prompted by an out-of-home ad to engage in an action on their smartphone and…

  • 42% used their smartphone to search for an OOH advertiser. (Nielson, 2019)

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 11.15.59 AM.png

At Soofa, we developed the first pedestrian impressions sensor that measures accurate foot traffic in real time. Soofa advertisers can check their analytics dashboard anytime to see how their campaigns are tracking towards impressions goals.

Soofa partners with our clients to experiment with measuring lift, QR code attribution, and brand awareness. We regularly conduct field studies to track neighborhood sentiment towards a brand and campaign. 

What does all this mean? Outdoor inventory is going digital, and this is your domain.

It might not be a core piece of your marketing strategy today, but it will be soon.

Sandra Richter