Billboard advertising is a tried and true method of getting consumer attention. A consumer might be able to turn off their TV or radio during commercials or scroll past an ad on social media, but it’s almost impossible to ignore billboards while driving. In fact, according to the Arbitron National In-Car Study, 71% of Americans look at billboards while driving. In addition, 229 million Americans have driver’s licenses as of 2019. That’s a lot of publicity! America is a country that thrives on its consumers being able to drive whenever and wherever they please. If those consumers have nothing else to do but look at billboards in high-traffic areas like New York City and Los Angeles, you and your business are going to want to take advantage of that exposure. 

Luckily, there’s a form of advertising that combines the traditional exposure of billboards with the engaging and innovative content found on social media: digital billboards. These billboards are slowly taking over cities and you have probably seen an animated billboard or two that has caught your attention. They can involve multiple still images that rotate or resemble animated clips of commercials that you might see on TV or online. Digital billboards that feature video, animation, or even interactive elements are certainly gaining attention. Read on to find out more about digital billboards and how to utilize this advertising method in a way that suits your business model.

Digital Billboards with Interactive Elements

Interactive billboards are one of the best ways to integrate the two-way advantages of social media using a traditional medium. These billboards can be found in areas with high foot traffic like malls and city centers rather than highways. They can even use facial and motion recognition technologies to engage consumers in a way that they won’t forget. One 2016 ad created by Reebok in Stockholm, Sweden challenged viewers to run as fast as they could past the display. Anyone who beat 10.5 miles per hour received a new pair of shoes.

Another ad for Netflix’s show Daredevil featured posters of different superhero characters that were regularly updated in real-time. Netflix asked viewers to tweet in support of one of the characters and the losing characters’ posters would be damaged with virtual bullet holes and cuts.

Digital billboards don’t always have to use such sophisticated technology, either. An invitation to tweet, a hashtag, a time-sensitive countdown to an event premiere, or a QR code can be enough of a call to action for consumers. While a website link is great, consumers may not be moved to type in a website link upon first glance. QR codes do the work for them. Interactive elements and calls to action are a great way to engage if you offer a service rather than a product. Services tend to be harder to advertise with photography and videography, but you can still find ways to make your ads engaging.

Digital Billboards with Video Elements

Animated and video elements can be a great way to hold your audience’s attention. Simple, repeated animations tend to be best and perform well in areas with high foot traffic. Memes and popular images from social media are also easily recognized when animated, especially when combined with interactive elements.

How Do I Choose A Billboard Size and Location?

If you have decided that you want to explore digital billboards as an advertising option, it may be best to start with a design company. Design companies usually have graphic artists and creatives who know which designs and ad types will perform best. As always, make sure you designate a budget for your ad campaign and design company. 

You are the expert on the target audience for your business, so don’t forget to take into consideration which geographical locations your audience might frequent. If your audience is younger and urban, you may want to choose a city center for your digital billboard location rather than a highway. If your potential billboard location is accessible to you, make sure you visit it to ensure it has the desired effect.

Digital billboards usually come in three sizes: 6 feet high by 12 feet wide (small), 10 feet high by 30 feet wide (medium), and 14 feet high by 48 feet wide (large). The pricing of digital billboards will vary depending on the company, size, and geographical location.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of a digital billboard can range anywhere from $1000 to $15,000 or more. Pricing is typically calculated based on impressions or cost per mile (CPM). Thus, ads placed in areas with more foot and car traffic like New York City and Chicago will cost more. Digital billboards placed in rural areas or states without as much tourism will likely cost less. This is why it’s so important to know your target audience before you choose an advertising location for your digital billboard. If your audience is urban-dwelling, you may have no choice but to advertise in a city center. But digital billboards may still be worth the investment—even in rural areas. 55% of travelers are able to remember specific messages from digital billboards as opposed to regular billboards. This means that digital billboards don’t just receive more initial attention—they’re more memorable, too. 

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