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Is Billboard Advertising Right For Your Business?

In today’s online world, it can be surprising to learn that out-of-home (OOH) advertising is a booming industry. Despite the continued trend towards online spaces and the metaverse, the global billboard and outdoor advertising market has experienced considerable growth over the past few years, increasing by 29% in 2021 and 32% in 2022.1

Billboard advertising is a highly effective method of out-of-home (OOH) advertising, a term which describes any kind of advertising you engage with outside of the home. This includes billboards, posters, signage, and much more; in this article, we’ll be focusing on billboards specifically.

We’ll outline some of the key benefits of billboard advertising, what you need to consider before choosing it, and explore whether it's the right choice for your business.

Suggested reading: Read our article, ‘Is Billboard Advertising Effective in 2023? And can you measure it?’, to learn more about the effectiveness of OOH.

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Why opt for billboard advertising?

  • Have a guaranteed audience
  • Grow brand awareness
  • Support time-sensitive campaigns
  • Enhance your online marketing strategy

What to consider before starting your billboard advertising campaign

  • Billboard styles
  • Where you advertise
  • Size and format

Key takeaways

So, is billboard advertising right for your business?

Why opt for billboard advertising?

Billboard advertising is essential to many businesses’ advertising strategies — and for good reason. It offers numerous benefits, from increased brand awareness to demographic-targeted campaigns. Further benefits include:

Have a guaranteed audience

Digital advertising can be an incredibly successful way to build awareness around a product or service. People spend a lot of time online, after all, and there are many ways to reach them — whether through social channels, content marketing, or online promotions. But despite the power of digital advertising, it faces a few difficulties:

  1. No guaranteed audience: While digital advertising has the potential to reach a wide audience, nothing is guaranteed.

  2. Success takes time and expertise: To reach people through digital advertising, you’ll need to grow your digital platform, optimise your content, and work tirelessly to build momentum.

  3. Technical restrictions: Digital advertising can be hidden behind ad blockers and cookie settings, reducing its impact.

  4. A distracted audience: Even if you do manage to get your ad in front of people’s eyes, they will often be distracted by the content or page they are already looking at. Some people might also become frustrated, as digital ads interrupt their online browsing.

Billboards, and OOH advertising more widely, can help to support digital ads by increasing a brand’s public awareness. Billboards are placed in busy public spaces for anyone to see, with no restrictions or requirements to view them. This guarantees you an audience, and will help people become familiar with your brand.

Depending on where they are placed, billboards can also help you to reach highly targeted audiences. For example, billboards on motorways, in small towns, and in major cities are each likely to reach different demographics.

Billboards are a powerful advertising strategy if you’re looking to improve your reach and grow your business. Studies have now shown that mobile searches conducted OOH are 38% more likely to lead to a purchase compared to those conducted at home — so OOH strategies are also a great way to boost online engagement and sales.2

Grow brand awareness

Billboard ads remain a highly effective way to increase brand awareness or share a specific aspect of your brand’s identity. They act as visual earworms, sticking in people’s minds in a way that digital advertising campaigns often don’t.

If, for example, you choose to advertise across a series of billboards, or on one billboard in a busy commuter area, people will become accustomed to seeing your brand name and messaging. This, in turn, will encourage them to search for your website or think of you in the future.

In fact, studies have shown that the true impressions — that’s the number of people who actually see an ad — are significantly higher for OOH than for other methods of advertising.3 Where online and mobile ads are only viewed by 9% and 43% of people respectively, 100% of OOH are both viewable and viewed.4

Billboard advertising is perfect for businesses experiencing a lull in customer acquisition and engagement — and want to kickstart both with a bang.

Support time-sensitive campaigns

The ability of billboard ads to generate quick interest and impulse sales makes them well suited to time-sensitive campaigns, including:

  • Temporary promotions
  • New product launches
  • Temporary brand collaborations
  • Brand-related events

Promotions, launches, and events will all benefit from billboard advertising — no matter the size of the business sharing them. When supported by a digital marketing campaign, companies can generate both online and offline interest for total brand exposure.

Pro tip: Digital billboards can be programmed to respond to different outdoor triggers, and are therefore perfect for promoting your time-sensitive campaign based on specific hours or conditions. Explore Alight Media’s digital billboard range to learn more.

Enhance your online marketing strategy

Digital or online marketing describes the various strategies businesses use to market their products online. Think content, websites, social media, and paid ads. In 2023, it can be easy to assume that digital marketing and billboards are opposing forces — but that’s not really the case.

While they are undeniably different approaches, online marketing and billboard advertising can comfortably co-exist and complement each other. Billboards drive awareness of your brand and, subsequently, draw people towards your website.

How well billboards enhance your online marketing strategy will depend on a few key factors

  1. Your local and national brand awareness levels

  2. Customer awareness of new products or services

  3. Your existing online or OOH presence

Case study: If your business has low brand awareness, you may want to focus your efforts on OOH advertising to allow people to learn more about what you have to offer. Once you have a wider awareness base, you can then begin to increase your online efforts and use your out-of-home billboards to direct people towards your website.

What to consider before starting your billboard advertising campaign

While billboard advertising is relatively straightforward, it can be approached in different ways. The choices you make about how and where and how you present your billboard ad will have a huge impact on its success. Here are some of the key factors to consider.

Billboard styles

There are two key types of billboard advertising:

  1. ‘Traditional’ billboard advertising: using paper billboards to share your brand message with a wide audience. Note that, depending on the time of day and location, these billboards can be more difficult to see.

  2. Digital billboard advertising: a great way to stand-out and catch the eye of your audience. This method of advertising is perfect for raising awareness of events for which the details might change, as digital ads can be edited.

  3. Poster advertising: although not billboards per se, poster ads are a popular method of OOH, and have close connections with billboard advertising. These are smaller, freestanding units, that are great at promoting your brand on a local scale.

Many companies choose to use a mix of digital and print advertising, allowing them to get the benefits of both. However, which option you choose will ultimately depend on your company’s goals and target audiences.

Where you advertise

Unlike online ads, which can be seen by anyone with an internet connection (in theory, at least), billboard ads take up actual space in the real world. So as long as you choose a location where there are plenty of potential customers, you’ll be guaranteed to get your ad seen.

Compare that with the online world, where you have to overcome all sorts of barriers just to get your ad in front of people.

Depending on where you decide to place it, a billboard ad can target a specific audience or a more general one. For example, if you’re a relatively small brand with a community presence, you may want to focus your efforts somewhere close to your business. But if you’re a national advertiser with a broader reach, you may want to advertise in a wider spread of locations across the UK.

Going through the process of establishing an advertising strategy and choosing billboard locations can be overwhelming. Alight’s expert team can support your business by guiding you seamlessly through the process.

Sizes and format

There are two other key factors to consider regarding the appearance of your billboard: its size and format. Billboards and posters vary hugely in style, and which type you choose will depend entirely on the goal and messaging of your campaign.

Generally speaking, the most popular formats are:

  1. Digital 6 sheet (D6): a small poster that helps businesses put a clear, simple message across to viewers. You’ll find these at bus stops, train stations, and around busy public walkways.

  2. Digital 48 sheet (D48): This larger billboard is extremely eye-catching. They are often placed in slightly elevated positions, and will allow you to reach a larger audience with a varied demographic.

  3. Spectacular: This is the kind of outdoor advertising you might see in Times Square, NY, or Piccadilly Circus, London. They are significantly more expensive than D6s and D48s, and really make an impact on the viewer.

Whether you’re wanting to advertise your business along key commuter lines, or are more focused on gaining brand awareness within a small local community, billboard advertising is a great way to get people talking about your brand.

Key takeaways

If you’ve decided that billboard advertising is right for you, and chosen a style, size, format and location, you’re almost there. However, it’s worth keeping the following points in mind:

  1. Visibility: You need all words and links to be easy to read. Alight offers a billboard design service that can help ensure that your OOH ads stand out, regardless of what size or format you choose.

  2. Budget: Establish a clear budget and timeframe for your campaign, so that you can achieve the maximum return on investment (ROI) from your ads. Alight has no minimum spend — so you can ensure your advertising budget stays on track.

  3. Type of campaign: Make sure to clearly establish your business targets, so you can develop a campaign that helps you achieve them.

Pro tip: Alight can help you integrate location or time-based triggers into your billboard design, encouraging people to search for your brand. We can also help you establish a wider OOH advertising strategy that will help you reach your unique business goals — contact us today to learn more.

So, is billboard advertising right for your business?

Whether billboard advertising is the right choice for your business will depend on your unique needs. But in a world saturated with online marketing campaigns, having your brand name in a public space for everyone to see can be a powerful way to reach your potential customers.

As a leading out-of-home advertising expert, Alight provides both local advertisers and national businesses with everything they need to launch successful OOH advertising campaigns. Not only do we offer a range of high quality OOH products, including both digital and traditional billboards, we also offer a design service that will help your ads stand out.

Interested in unleashing the power of OOH advertising? Contact us today to see how we can help.

1 Out-of-home advertising in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts | Statista

2 JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Global and Posterscope launch collaborative research study 'The Point of Search'

3 How much better is mobile than desktop?

4 How much better is mobile than desktop?