5 Things You Need to Know About Outdoor Billboard Advertising

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Outdoor Advertising Tips

“Is Outdoor Billboard Advertising Effective?” This is almost always one of the first questions a client will ask in relation to outdoor advertising.

Outdoor Advertising Frequency and Reach

The media company or advertising agency writing your media plan will develop media tactics and strategies that will deliver your target audience and customers.  This plan will discuss reach and frequency goals (what percentage of your targeted population should be exposed the ad message and how many times over the campaign period).  Outdoor billboards are both a reach and frequency medium.   Large numbers of people can be reached by outdoor billboards and are often can be a pillar in your businesses marketing strategy.

The fact that people drive the same traffic patterns within the market, allow for the billboard to be exposed to your customer multiple times within the advertising campaign.

How to Choose an Outdoor Billboard Location

Choosing billboard locations is critical to campaign success.  Is the tactic a strategy of using the billboard creative as a directional, allowing the board to direct customers to your store?   Is the billboard campaign’s goal to deliver a branding message, helping to build top of mind awareness?

Typically, boards that are right hand reads, meaning you don’t view the board across several lanes of traffic are more visible than those that are cross-reads (on the opposite side of the road.  Certainly, boards that are close to the highway will allow your message to have a higher visibility.  There are several sizes and types of outdoor billboards including digital and vinyl.

Digital boards allow for your messaging to change frequently, but you share the ad space with other advertisers and rotate messaging between their messages (usually 6-7 advertisers on a board per minute).

The creative sizes can vary but are usually 14 x 48 or 12 x 24.   Vinyl boards allow your message to be seen 100% of the time on the billboard face, but often creative “wears out” and it is relatively expensive to purchase new vinyl and have it installed.   Vinyl boards are normally 14 x 48.  Poster billboards are smaller normally 12 x 24.

And let’s not forget billboards on the sides of buildings, ball stadium signage, hay bales and grain elevators.   Anywhere you can put a product message outdoors, could be considered an outdoor billboard.  No matter the size or type — location, location, location for your product and brand are extremely important.

Billboard Advertising Costs vs Other Traditional Media

Billboard advertising costs are based on a Cost per Thousand views.   The numbers can come in two ways, one directly by the average number of vehicles that drive past the billboard location.   The other form takes into consideration traffic counts but also the visibility of the billboard face.   The more visible the board, the higher the eyes-on numbers.

While “riding” the boards (driving past the boards for your market) is one way to select the best outdoor billboards, technology allows for a video drive that can be useful if you are not local to the markets where the billboard placements are being scheduled.  This technology allows you to see a map and street view of billboards available for you to advertise your message.   Copp Media places Out-Of-Home billboard displays locally, regionally and on a national basis.

Writing Effective Billboard Ad Messaging

Along with selecting a poor billboard location, another all too common mistake is having the design and creative (words) of the billboard too small of type size and too many words.   If you can’t see the content of the message on the board when the consumer exposed to the advertising, it doesn’t do any good to have it there!   Our rule of thumb is 7 words.   Sometimes you can squeeze 9 — but simple is better.

One of our clients is Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.   We believe they do an amazing job with their creative.   We purchase both vinyl and digital billboards as both a reach and frequency strategy, delivering a branding message as well as a directional message where appropriate.   Our strategy is to build the creative campaign by day of the week, then layering in a brand message.   We change our creative based on the weather, so our messages are climate sensitive.   Below are the days of the week messaging that are rotated with the brand message.   Notice how simple they are, and how easy to read the Freddy’s name on each of these boards.

Freddy's Outdoor Billboard Creative

Ourdoor Billboard Creative - Freddy's Frozen Custard

Hiring an Ad Agency to Buy Outdoor Billboards

Working with an experienced person to purchase billboards is beneficial.   Working with a buyer will allow for different outdoor companies in the market to compete for the advertising dollars spent within this medium.   An experienced media buyer will negotiate the best rates based on the market inventory, develop a comprehensive analysis of all boards in the area, and select those locations that will best fit the objectives of the media plan.   If you would like to speak with us about your products and services, and if billboard advertising is right strategy for your company, contact us today.