‘Make a splash in a saturated market’: Why a startup investment platform is eyeing OOH to boost brand awareness

Startup investment app Titan wants to stake its claim in the world of financial services, getting in front of more people by using out-of-home advertising.

Earlier this year, the four-year-old, New York City-based company rolled out its first month-long OOH campaign, called “Stop Finsplaining,” across billboards, subway ads, double decker bus wraps, bus shelter ads and more across New York and Austin, Texas. In addition to static out-of-home ads, the campaign also included digital out-of-home efforts, by way of digital newsstands, bus shelters and taxi tops. It’s a brand awareness play to capture the attention of people passing by and “make a splash in a saturated market,” Jenn Schaffer-Goddard, head of content at Titan.

The brand is looking to create more in-real-life ways to get in front of consumers as well as position itself as a competitor to apps like Robinhood or Coinbase. “By leveraging out of home, we have been able to get that message in front of a much, much broader and more diverse cohort of people,” said Schaffer-Goddard.

Titan is not alone in its OOH investment. Startup brands like Andie swimwear, JUDY emergency kits, dining app Seated ramped up efforts, launching OOH campaigns within the last year, as previously reported by Digiday. Across the industry, OOH ad spend has been slowly recovering since the pandemic lockdown, reaching $7.1 billion last year, up from the $6.1 billion spent in 2020, according to the Out of Home Advertising Association of America’s 2021 OOH Facts and Figures Ad Spend Performance report. 

Per Schaffer-Goddard, the entire campaign was done with an unofficial in-house across growth, content and design teams, made up of fewer than 10 team members. However, Titan has worked with agencies for other marketing efforts in the past.

Titan’s current media mix is heavily invested in Instagram, but the app leverages both paid and organic social media strategy across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok, per Schaffer-Goddard. Titan currently has several video ads across Facebook and Instagram, according to Facebook ad manager. 

The OOH buy was less than 25% of the total ad spend in Q1, according to Angus Kirkby, senior growth marketing manager at Titan. The startup has significantly increased its total marketing spend year-over-year, said Kirby, who added that in the first four months of 2022, Titan has already spent what it spent throughout the entire year of 2021. Pathmatics reports that Titan spent $3.8 million across Facebook and Instagram in 2021, significantly up from the $411,000 spent in 2020. 

The OOH space’s slow rebound is a trend that’s expected to continue as people resume regular, in-person activities, according to Jennifer Eenigenburg, vp of digital media at Rain the Growth Agency. 

“OOH matters as a media channel as it can play an effective part of a campaign media mix to generate awareness, reinforce messaging users have been exposed to via other channels, and ultimately encourage engagement with a brand,” Eenigenburg said via email.

In the future, Titan’s Schaffer-Goddard says time will tell if the brand will increase its investment in OOH advertising. 

“The appetite for making a splash in this way, the next time we have that creative idea in-house, is certainly on the road map for us,” she said.


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