found on the road well traveled!

In today’s constant outcry about advertising and how are we going to monetize this and get a return on that, something came to mind that many seem to pay little attention to these days, outdoor advertising.  You know those huge poster boards that dot the main highways and byways of our great land, billboards.

I have disclosed that I am an ad and commercial freak and I include billboards in my periphery. I notice when new ones go up, old ones come down and when the graffiti appears.

With that in the open and taking my bias out of the discussion, I ask does outdoor advertising still work? Do they impact consumers to make a purchase?

Research from The Arbitron National In-Car Study is very interesting on what impact, if any, billboards have on us when it comes to marketing and advertising.

On average each of us spends upwards of 20 hours per week and travel more than 200 miles per week allowing exposure all types of billboard advertising. But, do we pay attention to it and if so, does it cause us to make a purchase?

The study showed that 71% of us “often look at the messages on roadside billboards and more than one-third (37%) report looking at an outdoor ad each or most of the time they pass one.”

What is the information we are gathering from a billboard…

  •  Learned about an event they were interested in attending (58%).
  • Learned about a restaurant they later visited (58%).
  • Talked about something funny they saw (56%) on a roadside billboard.
  • Been reminded to tune into a TV program (33%) or a radio station (44%).
  • Noted a phone number (26%) or Web site address (28%) written on an outdoor billboard.

Funny, on a personal note, I never remember a website or phone number from a print ad much less a billboard at 70 mph!

What about purchase decision and influence…

  • 72% of billboard viewers frequently or sometimes shop on their way home from work.
  • 68% frequently or sometimes make their shopping decisions while in the car.
  • 38% make the decision to stop at the store while on their way home.
  • 24% say they were motivated to visit a particular store that day because of an outdoor ad message.
  • 32% visited the retailer they saw on a billboard later that week.
  • 50% reported receiving directional information from a billboard.
  • 24% said they have immediately visited a business because of an outdoor ad message.

This is good news for retailers who are considering some billboard advertising.  Supermarkets or large retail chains were the locations most often cited by respondents!

So, it appears, that outdoor advertising is noticed and does impact some influence. I am not telling all marketers and advertiser they should run right out and start a billboard campaign. After all, as with any strategy it needs to fit.  But in today’s digital love affair and hand-glued to a smart-phone thinking, you just may be able to shine a new LED on an old canvas!


16 thoughts on “found on the road well traveled!

  1. From my real estate days, I actually like billboard ads. Have considered using one. They are effective if the message is quick and catchy. Something like Quickdivorcedotcom might be one that would work! I like the way you think!

  2. Randy – In marketing doing what is working is the best way to stay the course. Advertising is paid marketing messages. Marketing is all about attracting attention and building a relationship. Makes sense given the data from Arbitron.

  3. I still read the signs and often quote and remark upon them. This happens at the time or later in conversation.

    Do they influence my purchasing decisions – hmmm – not sure. If they do it is a pretty slow burn, but they certainly raise awareness for the advertisers.

  4. Haha Randy… no phones while driving here, it’s a BIG ticket. I have noted the numbers & have billboard companies on my list to call this next week. Do you know about pricing? How prices are broken down? I’m sure location plays a big part of the calculation, but I’ve noticed several blanks and intend to inquire. For local audiences, it seems like a no brainer but I always thought they would be price prohibitive for small business but maybe not??

    • Kathleen, markets vary and location will also dictate value. However if you have noticed boards not being used indicating an excess inventory worth exploring if the medium will fir the product/event.

  5. Good post Randy. Yeah, billboard advertising is still effective when it is targeted to the area where u r passing and based on a lot of impulse buys (i.e. McDonald’s posting their new special on the exit before they are located). It’s interesting you post this bc this really has EVERYTHING to do with the advertising failures of Facebook as the only clients that are benefitting from FB ads are targeted and impulse ads, where you can click the link right there for your discount, etc. In General Motors case, putting a picture of its cars wont make the person on FB buy the car any more than before they saw the ad. It’s great that you are still showing there is still instances of effectiveness in the offline environment. I spent my whole career offline but like everyone else had to make the switch when I saw the dominance of the digital platform! (if u can’t beat ’em… )… I do think we will start seeing more digital ‘rotating’ ads as it relates to offline billboards as we progress. This way, we’ll have the best of both worlds! Again, gr8 post my man. Best-MJ

    • MJ- Thanks so much for your comments. Digital is certainly dominate and top of mind with most but traditional is far from over. We spend time understand the brand and what the goal is then advise accordingly. Combining both in the strategy will reap benefits without leaving a segment untouched!

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