Opinion:  It is a less aggressive marketing method than you thought

Nowadays, selection for the best advertising channels starts to become a dilemma for advertisers. This is particularly the case for companies in Indonesia.  

The reason is simple: as each sector gets more competitive, people are more anxious whether their spending on different marketing channels is yielding the most optimal results, especially versus their competitors.

If you have a CAC of $0.5, versus a CAC of $1, you are going to acquire twice amount of customers with the same investment – a clear edge in any consumer internet business.

While digital/online channels have been in love by performance marketers, many of them tend to reach plateau quite easily (that is, the CAC goes up, or quality user go down – and the return on investment plummets).

Traditional media (or in old lingo, Above the Line) such as TV, radio and outdoor come to rescue. While the exact effectiveness are hard to track/measure in a precise way comparable to digital channels.

You might have all heard this quote “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” by John Wanamaker.

We also know that consumers do get influenced by TV and radio ads – at least as advertisers you some of know who you are targeting. Not the same case for outdoor ads, at least you can’t target the demographics by age or profession (but maybe mildly income group). How does the industry deal with this challenge?

We sometimes hear, “XXX (usually an ecommerce player) is so aggressive in advertising, they are everywhere on billboards”.

But are outdoor ads an aggressive platform compared to other marketing methods?

Let’s find out!

Thus far outdoor ads, also known as out-of-home ads, has actually tried to innovate itself well enough. You see the different permutations they have:  posters, banners, wall paintings (some call them graffiti), neon boxes, rail media, street furniture, videotron, billboards and car ads.

But does it bring out any impressive result? According to research, more than ⅔ of the consumer leave home every day and the average time on the road per day is about five hours (unfortunate isn’t it?). Mobile app developers love to talk about screen time – with the statistic above, there is definitely ample room for outdoor ads to play.


How to do it?  – since there is no accurate measure on audience and performance, neither is there ability to quickly test and iterate (there is cost associated with putting up and dismantling these ads!). We do not know whether the ads need to be optimised, and when, until much later perhaps .

But why many advertisers still continue doing that especially in Indonesia? Is it effective?

Well, that’s depends on ad campaign, how creative the content is – deliver right message, to win the attention in today’s fierce competition and depends on placement which is critical as well – to reach right audience that are close proxies of your target. Even sometimes we need strategy to point on right timing.

However, the most challenging is not that, but how to give the right consumer advertising appetite for each campaign or each ad.

Let’s take a look that some creative outdoor ads that if implemented in Indonesia, might flick you to think twice whether it’s going to work effectively or not.

billboard-ads-baldy Creative Ads

IBM Creative Advertising

Guerilla_Escalator Creative Ads

Ponds Creative Outdoor Ads

Sprite Creative Advertising

Source: www.yukepo.com

Caribou Coffee Creative Outdoor Advertisement

Source: www.yukepo.com

On the other hand, we still need to remember that outdoor ads do not give out well tracking measurement for performance and no good way for optimization. Then how to invest properly?

Practically, some try to use voucher code to track the performance for each placement, or use vanity url and maybe measure on the virality through word of mouth, social media talk, etc.

Portfolio theory

Somehow, the core is not that, it is on your portfolio – build integrated ecosystem of advertisement to succeed in today’s market. You make an adjustment on the portfolio as a whole, rather than individual ads or campaigns, and try to optimise the entire portfolio on a regular basis.

Ultimately, it is worth to remember that outdoor ads is still are kind of conservative method. What is aggressive? Ground push with a large, strong, disciplined, and targeted salesforce – or as the Chinese call it “Sweeping the streets”.

Of course, sweeping is not easy, as my colleague’s recent article indicated. To do an effective job, it requires strong capability of processes and management.


Everything is on what, where, and when the advertising done. If these three matters are done well, there is hope to have an impressive result.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].