Monday, June 19, 2017

Marketing question of the week: Is billboard advertising worth the expense?

With all of the constant buzz about the importance of websites, SEO and social media in your advertising strategy, you may not have considered billboards. In fact, being so fully immersed in our screen culture may have led you to believe that billboards are better off on the chopping block. 

This is not, however, the case. And that’s good. Because it would require a really huge chopping block and rather sizable knife. 

Even though our devices have allowed us to work more remotely, they’ve also fostered in a more mobile way of living. And with mobility comes driving. You see where we’re going here.

Bottom line - Americans are spending lot of time in the car. 

Check out these statistics from The American Driving Survey taken in 2015:

  • The average American spends 20 hours each week in the car traveling over 200 miles.
  • Americans tend to drive more during fall months- an average of 31.5 miles daily- and drive the least during winter months- 26.2 miles daily.
  • Americans ages 30-49 drive the most out of any age group, an annual average of 13,506 miles.
  • Midwesterners and Southerners drive more miles annually- an average of 11,295.

Yeah, okay. So what if people are driving a lot? Big deal, you say. That doesn’t mean they’re looking at the billboards. 

How can I be sure that billboard advertising is still an effective part of my advertising strategy?

Well, honestly, it may not be. Like all forms of advertising, you have to spend some time determining the best ways to reach your ideal demographic. For example, if you’re offering assistance services to shut-ins who never leave their homes, then a billboard isn’t going to be all that effective.

But seriously…

The most recent research on this was the 2013 Arbitron National In-Car study. And according to this research, billboard advertising was still making an impact on American drivers. And it was a pretty BIG impact.

 Here’s what they found:

  • 75% intentionally looked at billboard messages while driving and then later 40% patronized an event or restaurant being advertised
  • 56% who found a billboard funny mentioned it in a conversation
  • 37% report looking at an outdoor ad most of (if not EVERY) time they it
  • 28% noted a website address and 26% noted a phone number written on a billboard

So then it comes back down to whether a billboard is worth it for your business. It really depends upon your marketing budget and what you want to achieve. 

Generally speaking, billboards are more effective in increasing brand awareness than generating sales. 

And keep in mind that the cost of renting a billboard will depend on several factors, including the size of the billboard that you are looking to rent, as well as its location. (Location, location, location.)

So if you want to really get noticed, discuss your options with the experts. They just may advise that you throw yourself into traffic. 

On a billboard, that is.