We see billboards nearly every day as we drive along the highway and go about our daily activities. Typically placed in high-traffic areas for ultimate visibility, they’re impossible to overlook. But in an era of digital media and instant gratification, how effective is billboard advertising, really?
According to business.com, billboards have an ROI of 497% and are expected to have a 10% annual growth rate over coming years. As population continues to grow, and drivers continue to increase, there’s potential for even greater visibility. According to a survey by Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA), over 70% of workers will be commuting at least part-time and more than 25% of drivers surveyed plan to take a road trips.
Outdoor advertising works particularly well for branding, creating awareness and influence and generating momentum, particularly through digital and social media. Brands that can weave their products or services with a compelling story are likely to create impact, especially in a visual medium such as billboard advertising. Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is an excellent storytelling medium, allowing sponsors to share parts of their message one billboard at a time, while generating anticipation for the next piece of the story a few miles down the road.
Do People Really Notice Billboards?
Why are billboards, especially digital versions, so attractive? They are bright, easily updated and operate 24/7, making them the perfect attention-grabbing vehicle. According to a recent Nielsen report, 65% of people that saw a digital billboard engaged in at least one action, such as website or in-person visits and browsing the company’s social media channels. With the vast majority of U.S. adults age 18 and older covering approximately 169 miles while traveling on highways, for an average of 20 hours per week, highways such as I-15 in Utah are an optimal place to meet consumers.
As with any form of advertising, it’s important to consider demographics when deciding on billboard design, message and placement. While many advertising mediums reach only specific target audiences, billboards enable a company to reach almost every demographic within a region. Over 80 percent of billboard viewers admit they notice OOH advertising while driving at least some of the time, and almost half look at a billboard every time, or almost every time, that they see one.
Forty percent of billboard viewers say they have taken action such as visiting a restaurant or watching a TV show they saw advertised. Billboards also tend to generate conversation, especially memorable or clever ones. When these conversations extend to social media, the ROI can be even higher.
Digital vs. Traditional Billboard Pricing
Billboard costs vary depending on several factors including size, location, traffic and potential impressions. The length of time the advertisement is displayed will also impact price. Traditional billboards can be more costly due to production costs involved. They are ideal for long-term messaging, while digital billboards offer more flexibility in price and messaging.
Awareness of OOH advertising seems to be experiencing a renaissance as digital device burnout continues to rise, making billboard advertising an effective way to reach consumers. In fact, 78% of Millennials, the demographic with the highest purchasing power right now, indicate that they often enjoy taking a drive.