Skip to main content

Hey there! Free trials are available for Standard and Essentials plans. Start for free today.

Why Billboard Advertising is Still Relevant in the Digital Age

Discover why billboard advertising remains effective and impactful in the digital era. Explore its unique advantages of a billboard ad and how it complements other strategies.

Although many other forms of advertising are often given precedence, like blogging, online social media advertisements and SEO, billboard advertising is not yet obsolete and can still be an effective way to advertise.

So, what is billboard advertising?

Well, think of the flashy, attention-grabbing billboards from times square as your best example. These can now come in different forms, from interactive billboards to digital billboards, to mobile billboards, to the more traditional, static billboards.

Billboard advertising is also a form of OOH (out-of-home) advertising, which also includes bus posters, wallscapes and posters. Typically, billboard ads are placed in high-traffic areas with a lower speed limit to allow passersby to take them in.

The cost of billboard advertising is another factor that may determine whether or not you would like to use this as a means of advertising. The physical location, format, design costs and installation costs are just a few examples of the various factors that influence billboard advertising costs.

To find out the exact billboard cost, you would need to reach out to an individual media advertising company and get a quote.

Typically, billboards will stay up for a three to four-week campaign, but different lengths of time have different estimated costs. Generally speaking, the average cost of billboard advertising during a typical, four-week campaign period is estimated at around $850.

So, what are the perks of using a billboard advertisement to spread the word about your company or brand?

Although priorities may have shifted to online ads, billboards are still viewed by many people every day and their impact should not be understated. Before the emergence of digital billboards, many thought that this advertising strategy was becoming irrelevant.

However, with the introduction of new, unconventional designs and awe-inspiring technology, billboard advertising is once again relevant and useful.

Wide reach and visibility

You just can't miss these enormous, spectacular forms of marketing with their flashy colors and eye-catching designs.

By using billboard ads, you can reach your target audience and then some, thanks to its large size encouraging onlookers to stop and stare and helping to attract customers. These colorful attractions do not just catch the eye of adults, but children too.

High-frequency exposure

Think about all the advertisements you see in a day—online advertisements will come and go frequently, whereas OOH advertising like billboards occupies the space for a full 24 hours of however long the campaign is.

Few other advertising strategies allow for such stability. Commuters will see your advertisement every day on their way to work and if the marketing is done strategically, this daily exposure will make them memorable and therefore encourage potential customers.

This exposure can also influence impulse purchases while your reader is in the car and has lots of time to digest the billboard they have seen.

Builds brand awareness

Perhaps one of the key uses for billboard advertising is its ability to raise awareness of your brand. If the billboard is created using effective wording and imagery, then your brand might be the first to come to mind when the onlooker is next in need of a service like yours.

Whether it's clothes, food, or even a service rather than a commodity, billboard advertising is useful in helping to heighten your brand identity and to generate memorability.

Enhances local advertising

Own a restaurant down the street? Or an online store that ships locally? Well, local businesses may find billboard advertising is significantly impactful on them, helping to plant brand awareness and visibility to these small business owners—after all, most people want to support locally!

As people travel home or around your area, use billboard advertising as a way to generate buzz and excitement, as well as make them curious to try out whatever it is you have to offer.

Types of billboard advertising

There are pros and cons of all types of out-of-home advertising, with different forms benefitting different companies and businesses accordingly.

Within these different OOH advertising forms, there are also different types of billboards, all coming with varying expenses and costs. Other factors include brand image, design, production and installation costs.

Static billboards

These traditional billboards are the cheaper option for anyone wanting to advertise via billboards without the hefty advertising costs.

Although they are still by no means cheap, vinyl billboards are printed advertisements that remain up for a long time. If your marketing strategy requires an advertisement that is up for a long period of time, then this type of billboard may be one to consider.

However, if your campaign would need to be tweaked or changed periodically alongside new releases or seasons, then this form of billboard advertising may not be best for you. Initial installation may be cheap but putting up and taking down vinyl billboards can rack up the billboards' cost.

Additionally, it is harder to be creative with static billboards in comparison with other forms of OOH advertising as it is then harder to alter the final design.

Digital billboards

Meanwhile, digital billboards are electronically displayed billboards that you can update and change alongside new releases or updates. This is especially effective for companies who may want to showcase different aspects of their brand throughout the day, for instance, a breakfast deal in the morning and a lunchtime deal in the afternoon. Typically when using a digital billboard, you are given an ad space slot to use, with a 6-8 second showing of your advertisement every 64 seconds (different billboards may vary).

You can also get a bit more creative with a digital billboard. Whether you want to use moving images, videos, or jaunty, running texts, then a digital billboard design is the way to go. With more ideas to explore, a digital billboard can boost your brand image and is a dynamic way to raise brand awareness.

A disadvantage of digital billboard advertising can be that your content is not viewed for a long period of time as it will often rotate and change between a few other brands or companies. Therefore your advertisement is shown periodically, unlike traditional billboards which use printed images and are therefore up for a long time without interruption.

Mobile billboards

A mobile billboard is any advertisement that is attached to moving vehicles, such as cars, buses, lorries and more. This form of billboard advertising is particularly efficient as it can be present in multiple locations, therefore reaching a wider audience. You can also hone in on your target demographic by choosing the mobile billboard's location based on where this target audience is most likely to be living, working or frequenting.

This method can be costly and like other more traditional billboard designs, has its limitations when it comes to change. Unlike the innovative changeability of digital billboards, mobile billboards are harder to edit or update with any new offers or updated information.

Interactive billboards

This method may be particularly costly but is often very rewarding. Creative campaigns that encourage interaction with their audience are not only engaging but can also help to establish brand awareness.

Interactivity can be combined with both static and digital billboards if you are creative enough to come up with ideas.

For instance, Netflix released an interactive Marvel poster that encouraged their audience to tweet a hashtag—whichever character got the most mentions would then damage the other characters' billboards with bullet holes. This was done using simple, vinyl billboard advertising.

Meanwhile, Carlsberg decided to use digital advertising and combine it with a Carlsberg beer dispenser which the public could use to fill up a free half pint for themselves.

Billboard advertising strategies

For your billboard ad to be effective, there are certain marketing strategies you should think about during the creation process. Who are you creating the billboard for? Why would that be the best location? How can you make it stand out as much as possible?

Identify your target audience

A big part of any successful outdoor advertising is knowing your target audience. Gear the wording and imagery towards them and persuade your audience to take an interest by concisely identifying why this product may appeal to them. You should also consider choosing a location that is specific to your target audience to evoke a strong response from them.

Design eye-catching and memorable ads

Your billboard design is one of the most crucial aspects of your advertisement. Keep sentences snappy, using only a few words, and keep the focus on exciting, enticing imagery that will capture the audience's attention.

Perhaps include a few call-to-action phrases and a unique attribute that will make your billboard stand out from the rest and create intrigue in your brand.

Choose the right billboard location

Choosing the correct surrounding environment for your billboard is essential to its success. Positioning your billboard on a quiet street or in rural areas where few people will see it would be pointless.

Instead, try to think tactically about your target audience—do you want commuters to see it on their way home from work? Do you want people at the office to notice it during their lunch break? Do you want something that will catch a shopper's eye?

Time your advertising campaign

As billboard costs can be expensive, you might want to think about the time of your billboard release, especially if you are thinking of doing a shorter four-week campaign rather than a year-long campaign.

For instance, if you are a brand that sells lawn mowers, advertising in the spring months just before the hot weather sets in would be most beneficial. This could also be relevant if you are thinking of doing different seasonal campaigns in which you promote certain products at different times of the year.

Measure the success of your billboard advertising

How do you tell if your billboard is effective? You can use "impressions"—a statistic calculated through various other stats, including traffic data, travel surveys, census data and data modeling, to name just a few.

By understanding how many people have looked at your billboard, you can judge the effectiveness of this mode of advertisement. You can look at weekly impressions, daily impressions, or fortnightly impressions to get an accurate idea of the impact of your billboard.

Above all, however, sales are always the true testament to showing how successful a billboard advertisement is. If you have noticed an influx in sales since you used billboard ads, then that is a clear indicator that they are effective, so when using billboard advertising, keep a record of your sales to track this. You can also track engagement with your brand across social media or your website to see if you have garnered any more interest or traffic.

Challenges of billboard advertising

However, there are some downsides to billboard advertising. While there are obvious issues like billboard costs and expenses, there are other factors that may also affect the success rate of your billboard ad.

An unpredictable downside to outdoor advertising is weather conditions. When using OOH advertising, there is a reliance on good weather.

If you live in an area that is more prone to rainy, stormy or colder climates then the inhabitants are more likely to spend less time outside, meaning there is less exposure to your advertisement.

Another factor that could be considered a downside of using billboard ads is the limited time you have to capture audience attention, especially if you opt to use a mobile billboard. A digital billboard also gives you limited time as generally, each advertisement is only on in 6-8 second sprints.

Even a static, vinyl billboard has its downsides though as commuters or passersby will only see the advertisement for as long as they are traveling past. In this time frame you must capture the attention of the audience, so you might want to look up some billboard design tips to make sure your advertisement is effective.

Along a similar line, billboard advertising might not be for you if your advertising strategy requires a lot of information. Typically, billboards have minimal writing and information, usually with just a catchy slogan and enticing imagery doing most of the work for you.

Therefore, the amount of advertising space is impacted, with only the strip of billboard space you pay for your area to work in, unlike other forms such as video, where you may be able to pack more in.

There may also be some regulatory issues. Due to the public nature of this advertising strategy, it might so happen that some of your creative issues are denied for whatever reason. Billboard advertising can also be considered disruptive to the local area if it is not positioned in an awkward space.

Finally, billboard advertising costs are by no means cheap. There are other methods of effective advertising such as advertisements across social media networks or email marketing. Typically, OOH advertising costs require a lump sum or large deposit which may mean that this form of advertisement is not achievable or realistic to you. If this is the case, then don't worry—there are still plenty of other advertising strategies that would work well for you.

Don't overlook billboard advertising

Billboard advertising has never really left the scene. With several different types of billboards to choose from, several locations to choose from and a wide reach, using billboard advertising is a great way to get your brand out there and raise awareness. When planned right, billboards can have a large impact on sales, so be sure to monitor your stats so you can identify whether your billboard is having the desired effect or not.

For more tips and tricks about advertising, consult our other Mailchimp blogs. Here, you can learn more about other advertising examples, including traditional marketing techniques, as well as newer, cost-effective strategies such as retargeting.

But we don't just stop at advertising—Mailchimp is your one-stop shop for advice on how to make your business the best it can be. With tutorial services, templates, case studies and more, Mailchimp can elevate your business to the next level.

Share This Article