Despite many changes in the world of advertising, billboards remain an essential part of any outdoor advertising campaign.
Billboard advertising and a changing media landscape
Let’s take a look at how the media landscape has changed in the last 15 or 20 years.
The internet changed the way advertising was done forever. It created a direct connection between brands and people in their homes, often in a more intimate, inventive, and diverse way than TV, radio and magazine ads had done previously.
The advent of social media meant that, more than ever before, consumers were able to create content and comment on existing content in a way that was not possible in the past. Advertising was no longer just a one way street in terms of getting messages to audiences. Consumers were now having conversations about brands online, and marketers had to start thinking more creatively about how they engaged with people.
It’s surprising to think that more people access the internet via their mobile devices than via desktop or laptop computers, but it’s true. This creates the possibility of marketers connecting to consumers by mobile at any time and in any place, inside or outside the home.
Even the outdoor advertising landscape has changed dramatically with the introduction of digital outdoor advertising. At first, digital technology was reserved for a select few big budget brands, but in recent years it’s become within the reach of small and medium sized businesses as well. QR readers and Near Field Communication technology have also made it easier to direct audiences from an outdoor ad to landing pages and other online content.
Advertisers are now able to combine outdoor with mobile, online, and social media. They can create multi-channel campaigns that give brands as wide exposure as possible. A popular example of this was Walkers’ Tweet To Eat campaign.
Given that the media landscape has changed so much, why is it still a good idea to use billboards?
Well, first we need to start with the basics…
What are billboards?
A billboard is a large, outdoor advertising structure for delivering simple, memorable and creative advertising that has high impact.
Billboards are usually placed in high traffic areas, whether that be pedestrian footfall or vehicular traffic.
They are often the “flagship’” component of an advertising strategy that is likely to involve other elements like social media and search or print ads.
Billboards come in a range of sizes (the classic size being the 48-sheet which is 6m x 3m) but can be as small as 6-sheets (1.8m x 1.2m) and as large as 96-sheets or bigger.
Billboards cut through the clutter
In the 1970s it’s thought we saw around 500 adverts per day. Today, that figure is more like 5,000.
The truth is, if you want to get noticed, you have to command attention. Billboards do this because they use scale, dramatic impact and geographical placement to grab our attention in a way that no tweet, magazine ad, or infomercial really can. See below- Ebay’s ‘Fill your Cart with Color’ billboard advertising campaign.
Billboards command authority
It’s just a fact that people find outdoor advertising, and billboards in particular, very impressive. They command our attention in a way that other, more discrete forms of advertising can’t. It’s not that those other forms of advertising aren’t important or useful, they definitely are. It’s just that sometimes you need a WOW factor to get your message across, make an impact and stand out from the crowd.
Billboards build brand awareness
Billboards are great for building brand awareness. They’re hard to ignore and they tend to stick in our minds.
One study found that 50% of people who saw a billboard paid attention to the ad, and nearly half (47%) recalled seeing specific ads.
Billboards build trust
Building trust between your brand and consumers is vital for the longevity of your business. It’s very hard to make up for a lack of trust with quick fixes. The issue is especially tricky if you are a small or medium sized brand without an established reputation. Billboards can help build trust in your brand because they are one of the oldest forms of advertising and represent stability in a rapidly changing world. For example, posters the size of 48-sheets and above send out a signal that your brand has the resources to invest in large scale advertising. This increases people’s confidence that your brand will be able to deliver.
Nearly 60% of people trust billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising, according to research. Another study demonstrated that a majority of Americans not only noticed a billboard (71%) in the last week, but also saw an ad they related to (58%) and told family or friends about a humorous ad they’d seen (56%). Add to that the vast majority of people (83%) trust word of mouth recommendations the most, and you can see that advertising on a billboard can be extremely effective.
To book billboard ads in your area, take a look at our outdoor ad search map today.