The billboard is a tried and true marketing tool. Archaeologists have found evidence of “ancient billboards” that date back thousands of years. They’re such a common part of life that they are easy to take for granted. But if you’re planning an advertising strategy, you can’t look past this firmly established option.
Billboards aren’t still in use because of habit alone; they’re in use because they get results. The fundamental concepts behind the billboard are still sound, and innovations have opened up new ways to use billboards for advertising purposes. Let’s look at some of the unique advantages that billboards offer over other marketing tools.
Billboards allow geographically targeted marketing.
One of the most important things to consider when crafting a marketing strategy is your target audience. You want to make sure that you’re getting your message in front of the right people. If you have brick and mortar location or a relatively limited service area, then you don’t want to waste money on ads that target people outside your area. You also want to make sure that the people in your service area hear your message. Billboards allow you to succeed on both counts.
When you put your message on a billboard, you know where people will be when they see your message. You can look at the road the billboard is on and get a good idea of where people will be coming from and going to when they see your message.
Repetition drills in certain messages.
Some messages are better for billboards than others. People drive by billboards regularly, but they tend to go by them quickly unless the area is known for especially heavy traffic. Messages that are easy to digest and actionable are especially effective. A study asked people to discuss their engagement with billboards. Let’s look at their answers.
On a roadside billboard, have you ever…
Notice that simple, clear, and actionable information had the biggest impact. Billboards work on an almost subconscious level, their message sinking in as people drive past them day after day. Messages that are witty, time-sensitive, or related to immediate needs all have an especially big impact on drivers.
Billboards capture one of the few captive audiences left.
Today people are inundated with advertising from the moment they wake up until their head hits the pillow at night. But people also have more ways to avoid engaging with ads, when ads come on TV they look at their phone, and they can use programs to block ads from their phone. In this sort of environment, how do you make sure that people actually pay attention to your ads?
There is one place where people have to keep their eyes on the world around them, and that’s when they’re in their car. If you really want people to pay attention to your ad you need to catch them when they’re stuck in traffic. Strategically placed billboards with the right outdoor advertising ideas allow you to do just this.
Time the average American spend driving:
- 17,600 minutes per year
- 48 minutes per day
That’s 48 minutes a day where people are staring out the front window of their vehicle. Beyond that, it’s time when they might be thinking about your message. After drivers see your message, they will have the rest of their drive to process it. And this can happen every time they drive past your billboard!
Digital billboards have opened new avenues.
Many people underestimate the power of billboards because their perception of the medium is stuck in the past. Digital billboards have brought this advertising tool into the 21st century, allowing billboards to take full advantage of the latest technology.
Instead of using one permanent image, digital billboards are essentially large computer screens that can be programmed to display messages in a range of innovative ways. Things can be as simple as switching between images periodically so that multiple advertisers can cut costs by sharing a single billboard, or they can get more complex by utilizing animation and real-time updates.
People who can recall seeing a digital ad in the last month:
- Place-based: 70%
- Online: 43%
These figures were taken from a study based on self-reporting, but there is still a clear takeaway. When people see a message in person, they’re more likely to recall it then when they see it online.
Billboard advertising stands above the rest.
Billboards occupy a unique place in the advertising landscape because of their physical presence. They aren’t ephemeral like radio, TV, and internet advertising. They stand on the side of the road, their message emblazoned across a giant canvas. There is a power in the billboard that can’t be recreated using any other advertising tool.
Billboard advertising isn’t a magic solution to every marketing need, but when used correctly it can do things that no other method can. If you have a clear and actionable message that you want to convey to a captive audience, then a billboard might be just the thing you need.