If you’ve left your house at any point today, the chances are you’ll have seen a few billboards dotted around, advertising everything from burgers to cars. They’re a mainstay of our roads and city centres and remain as strong a platform for marketers as ever, despite all of the changes in advertising technology over the years.
It’s not surprising that this is the case – the benefits of billboard advertising are numerous and time-tested. But there are also situations where a billboard might not be the most effective medium, so it’s important to weigh up both sides before making a decision.
One of the most overlooked advantages of billboard advertising is its versatility. As well as the traditional 48 or 96-sheet posters, brands now have digital billboards at their disposal. This technology has brought unseen levels of creativity, flexibility and agility to the world of billboard advertising.
From interactive elements to motion-sensitive promotions, there are so many ways to make your creative stand out and increase engagement. Digital displays have made programmatic buying possible, enabling businesses and organisations everywhere to optimise their media planning and benefit from unprecedented flexibility and scalability. Brands have ultimate control thanks to the ease and agility that real-time updates provide.
Online advertisements can be blocked, radios can be turned off, TV channels can be changed… What we’re trying to say is that with the majority of marketing mediums, the consumer calls the shots. With billboards, however, things are different.
Billboards are unmissable. The thousands of people who pass them every day have no way of turning them off, so they can’t help but take notice. When billboard design best practice is met, this effect is only amplified. Bold colours, eye-catching fonts and special builds all help to create a high-impact touchpoint with customers.
It’s therefore no surprise that billboards have an incredibly broad reach, with 90% of the UK population having seen a billboard (or similar Out of Home advert) in the past week. They’re an effective way of grabbing attention and raising brand awareness, no matter how busy or distracted your target customers are.
Certain types of advertising are viewed by consumers as more trustworthy than others – and billboard advertising is one of these. Statista research shows that 40% of people say they trust billboards and other types of poster advertising, one of the highest rates among all advertising channels.
The same study states that 45% of UK adults report responding to these types of ads. When looking at specific demographics such as parents, millennials and Londoners, this figure was even greater. Clearly, billboard advertising’s longevity has instilled in consumers a sense of legitimacy and reliability. These emotions are difficult to earn as a brand, which is why this is one of the biggest benefits that billboard advertising has to offer.
Until recently, it was relatively difficult to track the impact your billboard was having on the public and your brand. Now, however, there are various ways for you to measure and stay on top of your campaign’s performance.
Adding a URL or a QR code to the creative means that you can use analytics software to see how many people have visited the URL or scanned the QR code. This provides you with a clear indication of how many people are engaging with your promotion.
Route, the UK’s leading OOH media analytics organisation, have developed a complex calculation which lets you know exactly how many people have seen your advert. Using data modelling to map real-world movement over roads, pathways and OOH infrastructure, Route can accurately measure impressions and provide audience demographic information.
Billboard advertising favours impact over exposure time. The medium is unmissable, but audiences don’t generally spend a large amount of time looking at billboards, as they’re usually on their way somewhere. Brands are therefore forced to distil their messages into simple, easily digestible creatives that are high impact and resonate quickly with their audience.
While interactive features are now possible with billboard advertising, they’re never going to be quite as interactive as digital channels like social media. However, by including a QR code to your brand’s social media profile on your billboard, you can continue the chain of engagement and reap the benefits of both mediums.
According to a survey from Nielsen, billboard advertising and other forms of OOH media boost online engagement more than any other offline channel. It can be used to drive activity such as online purchases or brand searches, as well as encouraging real-world action like visiting a nearby shop.
The advantages of billboard advertising listed above are just a few of the many reasons to opt for this tried and tested, yet consistently innovative, medium. The format allows brands to express their creativity; offering art, video, copy and marketing savvy in one cohesive package. Despite its extraordinary ability to engage and impact consumers, it’s also one of the most cost-efficient forms of advertising.
To discuss whether billboard advertising is right for your campaign, get in touch with a member of our expert team.