How to Use Billboard Advertisements Effectively

By Anand Srivastava, writer
Dec 27, 2019
Image Credit: Tero Vesalainen / Getty Images

Businesses are always on the lookout for rewarding marketing and advertising tools, and billboards could be just the ticket.

  • More than two-thirds of Americans make their shopping decisions while in the car.
  • 71% of U.S. residents have noticed a billboard.
  • 28% of billboard viewers take note of the URL on a billboard.
  • Billboard viewers have seen a ton of actionable info on billboards in the U.S., including stores and restaurants they then visited, radio and TV programs they then listened to, and events they later attended.

Billboards are something we usually come across while driving on roads and freeways. However, these structures require attention and frequent gazes, in order to make any form of advertising worth the effort. That said, in the subsequent sections, we shall talk about the famed concept of billboard advertising in detail and discuss the effectiveness of the same.

What advertisers need to do while considering billboard advertising

Advertising products and services on billboards is a relative choice, as there might be individuals who gaze at the mounted structures while driving whereas there might be quite a few who prefer keeping eyes just on the road. Moreover, there are regions where billboards are installed with such frequency that noticing the desired message becomes extremely difficult.

Based on an independent survey conducted by the AAA American Driving Survey, quite a few aspects determine the popularity of billboard advertising or thereof the lack of it:

  • An average American prefers spending about 20 hours on the freeway, often treading across 200 miles or more.

  • The fall months usually see an increase in driving frequency with an average of 31.5 miles on a daily basis.

  • The usual age group that prefers going out falls anywhere between the ages of 30 and 49, with an annual driving average of around 13,506 miles.

All these factors and more directly or indirectly determine the role of billboard advertising for businesses.

What billboards really do

In simpler terms, billboards are like giant posters that are often mounted on select structures for public viewing. In comparison to online promotions and public relations, billboards are costlier and more conventional forms of marketing. Therefore, indulging in billboard advertising means that the business is willing to showcase the message or the main aim of the venture on a bigger space; precisely for attracting a wider audience base across a particular region. 

For someone looking for more insights on the concept of a billboard, it is important to note that the largest one available in termed as the ‘bulletin’. However, the size of the advertising region also depends on the location and business preferences. Typically, a standard billboard measures around 14 feet in height and 48 feet in width, in usual cases. 

How to use billboards effectively

In most cases, advertising on billboards isn't an overly pricey affair. However, the effectiveness of price ratio is often determined by the way these advertising tools are used. While the factors like public resonance and location need to be looked at beforehand, billboards should be designed in a certain way to get the desired message across.

A typical billboard must not contain a lot of text and should be able to provide clear information regarding the business and the offered set of products or services. Most importantly, businesses that thrive on the concept of branding and awareness are the most suited to using billboards as the desired form of advertising. For starters, a billboard must only feature six words at max, to communicate perfectly with the potential audience base. Another important consideration is the tone of the billboards, as they are usually placed on freeways. Any kind of provocative content might lead to accidents, resulting in negative publicity for the concerned business. 

Judging billboard advertising effectiveness

Now that we have acquired a fair idea of the nature and usage of billboards, it is time to address the actual elephant in the room: the effectiveness of billboard advertising. Let's start by talking about the pros and cons of this form of advertising and conclude the discussion with a more targeted inference.

Pros of billboard advertising

  1. The issue of attention captivity is sorted out by a billboard ad, as it is usually massive and graphic oriented.

  2. Billboards mounted on busy streets make sure that the audience is engaged during periods of traffic jams and monotonous halts.

  3. Billboard ads are more like tools for continuously bombarding the senses with an impact. Therefore, if and when installed on a particularly busy route, this form of advertisement is expected to make inroads into the users' minds. 

  4. Most importantly, billboards have the ability to reach a massive audience base compared to other forms of advertising. 

  5. For a business planning on improving the geographical targeting in regard to marketing, billboard advertisements are great alternatives for a marketing package. 

  6. Billboards aren't too costly and are perfectly capable of delivering low-cost impressions, as they cater to a massive audience base.

  7. Three-dimensional billboards have the capability of portraying a static image as a moving entity that eventually displays different messages across different times. High-end billboards that aren't typical banners also have the ability to stream content, depending on the marketing plans. 

Cons of billboard advertising

  1. Billboards aren't applicable to a targeted marketing approach, as they are seen by individuals who have different interests and requirements. This means billboards do not have the capability to taper targets on the basis of preferences.

  2. Most billboard spaces come with a rental arrangement, and it often becomes difficult for a startup to bear the costs for a longer period of time, especially if the company isn't making regular profits.

  3. Typical billboards are more like bulletins set in stone for a certain period of time. While they aim at bombarding thoughts with the business offerings, the ads can get monotonous after a day or two.

  4. Billboards are prone to damage if structured in areas that encounter heavy and frequent weather strikes. As they are mounted on top of towering structures, they are the first ones to get damaged.

  5. The previous point reveals that billboards should be considered as seasonal marketing options in certain regions which cripple the effectiveness of the same, by a sizable margin.

It is necessary to look at the statistics focussed on the concept of billboard advertising. Firstly, one heartening figure shows that almost 28% of the fabled billboard watchers do note down contact details of the service provider, mostly the website address. Moreover, 26% usually go for the direct contact number, displayed on the billboards. These statistics show that even though drivers were busy concentrating on the road, they were still willing to follow up on the concerned billboard message.

According to a study by Arbitron, 71% of the population ages 18 and older noticed the advertising message on a billboard. Billboard viewers have seen a ton of actionable info on billboards in the U.S., including stores and restaurants they then visited, radio and TV programs they then listened to, and events they later attended. More than two-thirds of Americans make their shopping decisions while in the car, and more than one-third make the decision to stop at the store while on their way home.

Using billboard advertising correctly

It wouldn't be wrong to state that billboards are exceptional marketing tools provided they are used correctly. By correct usage, however, we mean that targeting the specific area where the concerned service procurers are in excess. Traffic accumulation is an important factor in the effectiveness of billboard advertisements. 

Moreover, the cost of billboards is on the lower side and the best thing about this form of advertisement is that it is virtually unavoidable, unlike radio or television. Therefore, to make the most of a billboard advertisement, the business must consider several aspects and ponder each with significant levels of attention. Billboards are cheap compared to other forms of advertisements, and the results can be exemplary if they are used with discretion and marketing intuition. 

Anand Srivastava is an entrepreneur, internet marketing expert and a technocrat. After completing his Master’s in Business Administration, Anand took over the internet as one of the leading business leaders— across the country. He started off with many joint ventures— including news creation, digital marketing models, technical setups and even e-commerce. He is currently working on some of his individual projects and making giant strides when it comes to success and recognition.
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