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:
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.
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 budget.
On a similar note, the materials required to create paper billboard ads are easily available as well as affordable. Combining this type of competitive pricing with access to premium locations throughout the UK, billboards can offer higher engagement and ROI in an affordable solution for small businesses.
While the price of digital billboards may be falling incrementally, the same cannot be said for the cost of installing or maintaining them. Installation costs are inflated by the fragmented nature of the supply chain, where firms sell a host of specialist and often incompatible items that take time and expertise to combine.
Many of these individual components are costly to replace over time, while the diverse nature of supply makes it virtually impossible to effectively compare prices and achieve the best deal.
Even if you are obsessed with the digital world as a marketer, it is crucial to remember 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.
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.