Unlocking the Power of OOH in the San Francisco Bay Area: Insights from Our Latest Survey

July 11, 2024

What makes the San Francisco Bay area uniquely important in terms of its out of home advertising? Shernaz Daver, chief marketing officer at Khosla Ventures, explained last week on the Marketing Tech podcast:

      "The billboards in Silicon Valley actually almost reflect the technology and the history of the valley and what kind of shift we're in. Billboards earlier on had nothing to do with technology. They had a lot to do with retail and hospitals and things like that. With the advent of technology, particularly in the internet .com boom, billboards started coming up. Everything was a .com. Then we saw a lot of these kinds of consumer companies - Zynga, Uber, Lyft. Then you saw cloud billboards, every other company was a cloud billboard. Today, it's all AI. It kind of reflects where the valley is and where it's going. So, the billboards are a sign of what's hot right now."
In this fast-paced, ever-changing landscape, capturing the attention of your audience requires innovative strategies. That’s why we partnered with MFour to conduct a comprehensive survey on out of home advertising in the Bay Area. Our objective was clear: understand how locals interact with OOH ads and uncover insights that can help brands connect more effectively with their target audiences.

Our survey targeted a representative sample of Bay Area residents, focusing on their transportation habits, ad recall, and engagement with OOH media. The findings reveal just how integrated OOH is into daily life in the Bay Area, offering valuable knowledge for advertisers looking to make a meaningful impact.

Key Takeaways

From our research, we learned that Bay Area locals are frequently exposed to OOH ads, find them informative and entertaining, appreciate their visual appeal, and believe they help bridge the gap between brands and consumers. Let's explore these findings and their implications for your brand.

Finding #1: Out of home is a daily part of Bay Area life.

Waterloo billboard in San Francisco
Our survey highlights the variety of transportation modes locals use, which in turn exposes them to numerous OOH touchpoints.

Key Data:

Chart showing transportation use modality in San Francisco
What This Means for Brands: This diverse transportation mix provides multiple opportunities for brands to engage with their audience through OOH advertising. Whether it’s billboards, bus shelters, or transit ads, there’s a high likelihood your message will be seen.

Finding #2: OOH ads capture attention, generate recall.

Miller Lite billboard in San Francisco
Bay Area locals are keen observers, with high recall rates for various OOH formats.

Key Data:

Chart showing media format notice among San Francisco transit users
What This Means for Brands: High recall rates indicate that OOH ads are not just visible but memorable. Investing in striking visuals and strategic placements can ensure your brand stays top of mind.

      Case Study: We helped increase memberships for a well-known financial institution in San Francisco. By utilizing bulletins and posters year-round within a mile of the downtown branch, the credit union saw an annualized growth rate of 12% in 2022, which was 6% over their goal. Consistent OOH advertising was a strong contributor to this growth.
Finding #3: OOH fuels brand, product, and service discovery.

Framer wallscape in San Francisco
Our survey shows that OOH ads are instrumental in introducing new brands and providing valuable information.

Key Data:
  • 49% say OOH ads introduce them to new brands and products.
  • 44% say these ads provide valuable information.
  • 44% find them entertaining.
What This Means for Brands: Combining memorable, amusing ad creative with essential information can help new brands build name recognition and awareness. Our STUDIOS team can help you develop a campaign that’s sure to stand out.

      Advertiser Testimonial: "At Snowflake, we pride ourselves on having had the same billboard since 2017. It’s an investment, but done right, the buzz, the credibility, and the shareable moment you create for your brand is totally worth it!” says Vendela Fouchenette, Brand Lead at Snowflake. “We can learn a lot from brands when it comes to out-of-home advertising. I’ve always loved how the best brands turn OOH advertising from a simple ad into an experience.”
Finding #4: Out of home influences, inspires trust.

Databricks billboard in San Francisco
Locals in the Bay Area trust and are influenced by OOH ads.

Key Data:

  • 64% believe OOH ads effectively raise awareness about local events and initiatives.
  • 55% say OOH influences their perception of brands.
  • 32% trust brands advertised via OOH more than those advertised online or on social media.
What This Means for Brands: OOH advertising holds a unique position of trust and influence. Brands can leverage this credibility to enhance their image and build stronger connections with their audience.

Finding #5: Locals enjoy seeing OOH around the Bay Area.

Asana transit media in San Francisco
Bay Area locals appreciate the aesthetic value of OOH ads and believe they enhance the city's landscape.

Key Data:

  • 49% find OOH ads visually appealing.
  • 45% believe OOH positively contributes to the city's landscape.
  • 28% would like to see even more OOH advertisements.
What This Means for Brands: Creative and visually appealing OOH ads can enhance not only your brand image but also the city's landscape, making your ads a part of the urban aesthetic.
Our survey with MFour reaffirms what we've always known: out of home advertising in the San Francisco Bay Area is not just effective; it's essential. From enhancing commutes to building brand trust, out of home is a powerful tool that resonates deeply with the local audience.

So, next time you're planning an OOH campaign, remember these insights and get ready to make a big splash in the Bay Area. Contact us to learn more!

Author: Christine Rose, Senior Marketing Director, West Region @ OUTFRONT
Links to third-party content are not endorsed by OUTFRONT Media.