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Billboard advertisement costs: making the most of your OOH investment

It’s easy to think about the “costs” of outdoor advertising, as if it’s a process of throwing away money, of speculating without accumulating.

But that’s really the wrong way to think about your outdoor ad spending. The fact is, if you get it right, you can actually make money from your outdoor campaigns. That’s why it’s called advertising, after all.

Have an investment strategy

To make the most out of your outdoor marketing investment you should at all times be thinking about the potential return on investment, or ROI, you can make. Outdoor advertising should be seen as an investment.

For example, one marketing professional reported how a bus stop ad at a busy intersection could be seen by up to 50,000 people per day. And that’s just one ad. Let’s say 100,000 people see your billboard ad campaign (in reality it could be much, much more). And let’s say 10% of those people engage with your ad in some way, such as visiting your website, checking you out on social media, or searching online for your products. That’s 10,000 people engaging with your brand off the back of your outdoor ad. And let’s also say that, of those people, 1% converted, giving you 100 new customers, signups, or whatever your marketing goal is.

Understand customer value

When it comes to getting a return from your out-of-home investment, it’s invaluable to understand the amount of value your customers bring to your brand.

billboard advertisement for Gourmet Burger Kitchen

In the UK, the average person spends £1000 per year on takeaway. A standard billboard in London would cost around £542 for a two-week block. If your 2-week billboard campaign brought in only 10 new customers, that could amount to a return on investment of £10,000 over a year. You would have spent just over £500 and got £10,000 back, making for an outdoor advertising ROI of just over 5%.

So we can see that when you think of return on investment instead of simply “costs”, you will actually be making money from your outdoor ads. This may sound obvious when said like this, but one of the biggest problems in marketing is that brands are reluctant to invest money in advertising in a way they are not reluctant to invest in other areas, such as staff hiring costs or product development. Making this mindset shift into thinking in terms of your potential return on investment will help you make the most out of your outdoor ad spending.

Understand your marketing goals

Making the most from your ad spending is about understanding your marketing aims with each campaign.

Perhaps you’re running OOH ads to inform people about a new store opening like clothing brand Seasalt did via Bubble Outdoor.

billboard advertisement for clothing store Seasalt

You’d want a high footfall through your store in its opening weeks to make up for the overheads of a new opening and to start as your mean to go on with a healthy amount of shoppers who will see that your store is a popular and desirable shopping destination.

If this is your goal, you should put a number to it. Let’s say you aim to get 5,000 customers through your store in the first month of opening. If only 5% of people who saw your ad came through your doors you’d need an ad exposure of 100,000 people. This could be achieved with two or three well placed billboards.

Don’t scrimp on design

It’s true that you need to spend a decent amount of time and/or money to create an effective outdoor advertising strategy. It can be tempting to think that with a great strategy alone you will get great results. However, when it comes down to it, outdoor advertising is essentially a creative endeavor. By that we mean that, when you look at effective outdoor marketing, you will always see a powerful creative idea driving every successful campaign.

When allocating your outdoor advertising budget make sure you don’t scrimp on creating a top notch, powerful ad concept.

Whether it’s a high concept design like KitKat’s unfinished poster, or a simple-yet-effective design like eHarmony’s “End of Dating” ad, make sure you find creative professionals with a strong track record for effective designs to work on your ad campaign.

billboard advertisement for KitKat

billboard advertisement for eharmony

Check out our post on designing your own advertising billboards for more on this, but the key factors your design should have are:

  • Use snappy slogans
  • Avoid cluttered designs
  • Keep contact info to a minimum
  • Get your logo and font sizes right
  • Use contrasting colours
  • Maintain a coherent design concept

Consider investing in long term campaigns

You may just want to run a few 2 week outdoor campaigns at key points of the year, and if your budget is really tight this may be the best option for you until you’ve grown your brand more.

However, when it comes to getting a return from your investment in outdoor advertising, the less you spend the less you’ll get back. The most successful brands have ad campaigns running throughout the year.

The longer your outdoor campaign the greater the amount of exposure your brand will get, and the more customers will become aware of your brand. When you book outdoor campaigns via Bubble Outdoor you actually get discounts of up to 20% depending on how long you book for. So it can actually be more effective to run longer campaigns.

But whether you want to run a short term drive to boost sales or a mount an extended brand building exercise, you can start designing your outdoor advertising campaign via the Bubble Outdoor ad map today.

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