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The Phenomenon of Billboard Advertising

Mastering the art of advertising can be difficult, but extremely beneficial when it comes to inspiring a customer to carry out an action. Arguably, one of the most effective methods of making someone pay attention is with a large billboard placed strategically in a public place.

Some reports have suggested that billboard advertising was birthed in New York City in the 1830s — with the first leased billboard was documented in 1867. However, since then, this form of print marketing has become a staple of advertising and has even played a part on the silver screen as a crucial prop in recent blockbuster, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Billboards are becoming a more lucrative advertising module for businesses, so why not use this to increase your ROI? If you’re not convinced, find out why billboard advertising might be the boost your brand needs…

The impact on an audience

Each day, the average person in the UK is ‘out and about’ for three hours and ten minutes and is reportedly in the view of advertisements for 16 minutes. Why not target your consumer during this window of opportunity with a large, quality, well-located billboard in a place with high footfall or traffic?

As well as this, the required printed material is easy to design. Need something effective up and running in a hurry? A billboard is a single page of design, which should save you time when putting together a template that will offer maximum ROI.

Have you heard of the Rule of 7 when it comes to marketing? This theory claims that a consumer must hear or see an advertising message at least seven times before taking action. By placing an outdoor banner in a public place where people will pass every day or a few times a day — like on the way to work or when dropping off and picking up their kids from school — you can help hit this number and potentially increase your brand’s chances of a conversion.

Because of its popularity, billboard advertising could increase the reach of your marketing campaign. So, how do you make sure your billboards are as effective as possible?

Creating an eye-catching design

If you want your advertisement to get noticed, it must be easy on the eye. However, if your billboard will be placed at the side of a high-speed road, this creates an even greater demand for noticeability. Think strategically about what you want on your billboard — someone driving past at 40mph+ is only going to be able to take in so much. What is your marketing objective? Do you want to sell a specific product? Are you spreading brand awareness? Promoting an event? Determine exactly what you want to achieve from your advertisement and provide only the essential information — like contact number, name of product or date and location of event.

If you want to advertise on a larger scale with a high-quality image, this could be the perfect solution. According to research, people generally only recall 10% of information they hear three days later. However, using a relevant image alongside this information increases retention by 55%. When designing your billboard, try and think of a funny or quirky image that will grab and hold a passer-by’s attention — such as cake brand, Mr Kipling’s, clever and unusual image of a bunny made using only Cherry Bakewell cakes as part of its Easter marketing campaign. Due to the size of a billboard, your images can pack a more powerful punch, so focus on getting the image perfect and then build your design from there.

You must be clear with your advertisement, because that is the only way that passer-by’s will take in your message. Utilise bright and bold colours to catch the eye — contrasting colours are reportedly stay in people’s memories for longer, too — and opt for a simple background and large, readable text — Sans Serif is a good shout and can work particularly well on correx signs.

When it comes to roadside billboards, a driver typically has five to ten seconds to view an ad, which means you need to consider copy length. The more relevant and informative your image is, the less you should need to convey with text — stick to a brief, punchy message of seven words and you should get your marketing message across, no problem.

Think about who you’re targeting when it comes to narrowing down a location. For example, if your products are for 18-21-years-olds, find a site near a university or college. Otherwise, you could reduce your ROI due to not being in sight of the people who are most likely to engage and act on your ad.

For local campaigns, it’s essential that you create a sense of relatability to your advertisement. Include an image of a local landmark to create a sense of familiarity or reference the local traffic in a funny way. Humour generally works in advertising. According to a review of 6,500 ads, the funniest were usually cited as being the most appealing and memorable. What’s more, adopting this personal and familiar approach creates a sense of friendliness, so you’ll also exude a more welcoming brand persona — which will be more encouraging to a potential customer.

Evidently, using billboards to spread your brand message can be extremely beneficial. Is this something you could consider when looking at your next marketing budget?

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Hello there!
Hello there!

My name is Gary, a 31 year old Tech Loving marketer passionate about home tech and coffee.

I'm a Programmer for hire working with small to medium businesses.

I network in Warrington, Liverpool and Manchester in the North West, England.

This website is my online notebook dedicated to tech, marketing and finance.

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