Why traditional billboards are still delivering results

Contributor - Paul Inman

A traditional billboard at Wembley Park tube station

If you were offered the choice between advertising on a digital or a paper billboard, you would automatically go for the former, right?

If this is the case, you may want to think again; while big brands may have shifted towards digital channels in recent times there are numerous reasons why the local business market should not necessarily follow suit.

In some instances, offline marketing channels can offer significant advantages over digital alternatives and SMEs can be the main beneficiaries.

Paper billboard ads offer a relevant case in point - they tend to be cheaper, more accessible and boast a higher rate of return for your marketing spend.

Let's take a look at some of these benefits in more detail:

1. Billboards are exclusively yours

While digital billboard ads may look slicker, they are in fact shared advertising spaces that often feature multiple brands. With the industry average being six slots running at 10 minutes each, digital ads can be cluttered and lack the focus required to promote your brand.

Conversely, paper billboard ads are sold on an exclusive basis to individual firms, so they provide a platform where your primary message is displayed 24/7.

2. Traditional billboards are affordable

While digital display technology may have moved into the mainstream, it still carries a high price premium and that negates the value proposition of electronic billboard ads. The price point of digital prevents some SMEs from embracing this medium at all, while the lack of exposure may translate into a lower return on your investment.

By contrast, paper ads use cheaper materials and deliver a more defined value proposition, making them ideal for smaller businesses operating within a tighter budget.

Local commuters will drive past the same billboard day after day. This constantly gives a reminder about your brand which puts you one step ahead of the competition, subconsciously creating a trustworthy bond between you and your audience.

3. Billboards are accessible

On a similar note, traditional billboards are relatively easy and inexpensive to build, which is why there are so many of them.

The combination of competitive pricing and access to premium locations throughout the UK means that billboards can offer higher engagement and ROI as part of an affordable solution for small businesses.

4. Lower maintenance costs

While the price of digital billboards may be falling incrementally, the same cannot be said for the cost of installing or maintaining them.

(Installation is a slow and expensive process, combining components from a fragmented supply chain. Furthermore, many of these costly components then have to be replaced.)

Final thoughts…

Billboards are on display 24/7. These gigantic ads grab consumers attention, consistently: research shows that 71% of consumers often look at the messages on roadside billboards. What’s more, it leads to action. 26% have visited a website in response to such ads.

So even if you are obsessed with the digital world as a marketer, don’t overlook the value of offline channels such as paper billboards. They can add genuine value to your marketing efforts, by optimising your reach and improving the ROI on your advertising spend.

Written by Paul Inman of AirOutdoor, an out-of-home (OOH) advertising business.

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Paul Inman

Paul has been working in and around the outdoor advertising world for a number of years and has gained valuable insights into the processes and management of advertising campaigns, both agency side and client facing.

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