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Is Billboard Advertising Still Relevant?

In an era of social media and online marketing a lot of business owners wonder if outdoor advertising is still effective. Every dollar spent on advertising is important and ROI should be measured. When creating a marketing budget it is important to understand the impact each advertising platform will have on consumers.

Captive Audience

Outdoor advertising is not limited to billboards. Outdoor advertising includes but is not limited to digital signage, bus shelters, taxicabs, car wraps, buses, and kiosks. Travelers whether they are sitting in traffic, at a bus stop, or in an airport are a captive audience. According to a 2013 study from Arbitron Out-of-Home Advertising Report, 89% of U.S. residents age 18 and up uses motorized vehicles. Americans also spend an average of 20 hours per week either driving or as a passenger in a vehicle. That means outdoor advertising provides a valuable opportunity to make daily impressions.


How does a billboard or any form of outdoor advertising encourage consumers to buy your product or service?

In the same Arbitron survey illustrated that 72% of billboard viewers shop while on the way home and 68% decide what they are going to purchase while sitting in their vehicles. The most important statistic in the survey notes that 32% of the drivers sitting in afternoon traffic admitted they purchased items or visited a company they saw on a billboard.

Be Strategic

Work with a media buyer and ask for the analytics regarding high traffic areas and neighborhood demographics. Placing a billboard in low-income neighborhoods if you sell high price point clothing is not a good way to maximize product exposure.

Placing a billboard in a direction where your key demographic will see it every morning on their way into work is good for repeated exposure. If you couple the morning traffic billboard exposure with a morning traffic sponsorship's on the radio, you are getting great visual and audible exposure.

Design is Critical

You only have a few seconds to make an impression with outdoor advertising. If the advertisement is too wordy and cluttered, commuters will miss the message. Make sure your company name is large and visible. Always include some form of contact information such as a phone number or website. Keep the message short and to the point.

Keep in mind that people are driving and cannot pull over to take notes. Outdoor advertising should be memorable enough that people can find you later on when they safely reach their destination.

Long Term Commitment

A lot of companies shy away from outdoor advertising because of the cost and long-term commitment. Billboard companies often have contracts that obligate you for three to twelve months. At least you do not have to compete and dedicate additional resources to reach your ideal buyer. An experienced media buyer will negotiate your outdoor advertising contract ensuring you get the best deal possible.

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