In today’s ongoing war of traditional versus digital advertising, one medium that is far too often overlooked is out of home (OOH) advertising i.e. billboards. Seen as superfluous at best (and obsolete at worst), billboards do not appear to have a real dog in the advertising fight.
But people should think twice before dismissing billboard advertising because the truth is that billboards are one of THE strongest and most profitable mediums available. In mid-year 2015, Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) released figures demonstrating that OOH advertising revenue increased $1.58 billion (4.7%) in the first quarter of 2015. These numbers parallel a similar growth period in 2014, and mark the 20th consecutive quarter of growth for OOH advertising, outperforming other traditional media forms. Even top corporations such as McDonalds, Apple, Verizon, Chase, and Samsung see the value in outdoor advertising and have invested accordingly.
Yet despite these numbers, many businesses are still skeptical about the overall effectiveness of billboards. Perhaps it is time to address some of the misconceptions people may have about outdoor advertising and put those myths to rest.
Myth 1: Billboard Advertising is Boring
When compared to television and digital, it is quite easy for people to view billboard advertising as lackluster and stagnant. But the billboards of today are a far cry from the ones that our parents and even we grew up with. No longer just pictures of dogs pulling down little girls’ bathing suit bottoms, or naked men with strategically placed vodka bottles, outdoor ad campaigns are now far more creative. By combining imagination with cutting edge technology, modern billboards offer a much more interesting experience. Even corporate powerhouses such as Coca-Cola, Disney, and Ikea have used innovative billboards in their advertising campaigns, with some even able to interact with the public! Today’s billboards are eye-catching and stimulating, making them more memorable than ever before.
Myth 2: Billboard Advertising Lacks Reach
Many people do not believe that billboard advertising can work as effectively at influencing purchasing decisions as other mediums. However, studies show billboards reach 99% of people in the United States, as opposed to 96% of television advertising. And billboard ads reach consumers within half an hour of their purchasing activity an average of 68% of the time, with 91% of mall shoppers and 57% of fast food restaurant patrons being exposed to billboards before they begin their spending. Billboards are also quite effective at reaching mobile users before they engage in mobile activities such as shopping, searching, and mobile networking. In fact, OOH ads reach mobile users the hour prior to 43% of their online shopping activity. What percentage of mobile shopping is affected by television advertising? 27%. In short, whenever people are poised to make a purchase, billboard advertising is right there to make an impact.
Myth 3: Billboard Advertising Cannot Target Specific Audiences
While television advertising is capable of tracking its audience and targeting key demographics, billboard advertising could never have that ability, right? Wrong. Thanks to new screen technology, OOH advertising will soon be able to pinpoint when and where people are viewing them, and identify audiences in terms of age, gender, and even interests. This data will allow messages to be focused on the correct audiences for the most effective results. Even today, advertising agency OUTFRONT Media has teamed up with technology start-up Videri to create digital outdoor advertising that will allow companies to more accurately target its audience. With these breakthroughs in billboard technology, advertising campaigns will be more effectively geared toward their intended audiences, and even provide a more personalized advertising experience.
Billboard advertising yields amazing ROIs and gives a campaign unmatched exposure. Billboards can be even more effective when customers have an easy way to remember to contact the promoted business, such as an unforgettable custom 800 tollfree phone number.
Remember: The more pieces to an advertising puzzle, the more successful it will be, and billboards are proving themselves to be the corner pieces.