By Jacquie Winiecki
Billboards are one of the oldest forms of advertising. The very first billboards were invented in the 1830s. Originally designed to promote circus acts, billboards are now used to advertise anything and everything. When we think of modern-day billboards, we tend to think of the tall, stationary displays that tower over us and deliver messages to us while we travel. Billboards used to solely consist of graphics and/or text that were painted or glued to the surface of the display, but as technology advanced, we saw the billboard evolve into digital form with eye-catching colors and dancing displays.
Speaking of digital, we are currently living in the digital age, or, the mid-digital age to be exact. With social media, email, websites, and instant messaging, communication is constant. Even the way we listen to music and watch TV has undergone a digital transformation with the invention of streaming services. Digital is dominating, so don’t neglect it. But when it comes to the marketing strategy for your business, you may ask yourself: Are billboards worth it? Are billboards, even in digital form, out of date, or are they still a useful advertising tool?
Billboards come in many forms. Traditional billboards are very tall and constructed of wood, metal, or both. With a traditional billboard, the image and message do not change. Digital billboards are electronic image displays that are operated remotely by a computer system. They can change images and messages or even display animations at any given time. Images are typically rotated every 6-8 seconds.
Another common type of billboard is the mobile billboard. These billboards are seen on public transportation, cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Like their large predecessors, mobile billboards are offered in print and digital form. The difference is that mobile billboards travel with the vehicle they are on and do not stay in one place.
There are also three-dimensional, interactive, and even scented billboards. Smaller forms of billboards include posters, lamp post banners, and point of sale displays. According to siteefy, we see 10,000 ads a day, and it’s safe to say that a large portion of those ads are billboards in one form or another.
With a traditional billboard, one benefit is its visibility. When a sizable billboard is placed alongside a high-traffic interstate, you know that your message will be seen. However, even though a billboard can be positioned in an area that may be more relevant than others, and digital billboards can be turned on or off at specific times of the day, access to a targeted market is limited.
Reach and frequency are also advantages when it comes to billboards, a heavily traveled highway could reach tens of thousands of people each day. Your potential audience is anyone who is walking, biking, driving, or otherwise traveling past your billboard. In addition, if placed in an area with high commuter traffic, those travelers will see your message repeatedly. Frequent exposure elevates the impact of your message and creates a positive influence on the viewer.
Billboards are also an effective strategy for providing directions. A large and eye-catching theme instructing travelers to take the next exit and turn right may be all that’s needed to attract customers to your business. Additional benefits of billboards include creating brand awareness, encouraging impulse spending, and building trust with audiences.
Disadvantages can include high costs for brief exposure. According to Indeed, classic billboards can cost $250.00 - $14,000.00 per month. Digital billboard prices can exceed $15,000.00 monthly. The design and production of the billboard are not included in the monthly price. Other potential cons are the potential for vandalism, providing limited information, and the weather. Erosion could result in a short life span of your billboard and harsh conditions will hinder viewing.
The answer is, it depends. The billboard is a powerful advertising tool that has been around for almost 200 years. It’s safe to say the billboard isn’t going anywhere. Billboards offer multiple advantages, but there are also disadvantages to consider. Many will argue that billboards are irreplaceable within local advertising. However, if you are trying to reach a larger audience, target a specific audience, or need more than a few seconds to deliver your message, another form of advertising may better suit the needs of your business. It’s imperative to consider multiple forms of advertising when creating your marketing strategy.
If you want to make the most of your marketing efforts