Any advertising guru will tell you that billboard advertising is an extremely effective form of advertising. The fact that billboards are everywhere and that companies still pay through the nose for billboard space, also suggest there is more to billboard advertising than meets the eye. Despite the fact that authorities on the subject vouch for billboard marketing as an effective if not a must-have, invaluable advertising medium, most ordinary consumers don’t buy it. They tend to regard mediums such as newspaper ads and direct mailers as more effective, because their effectiveness is much easier to measure and quantify. They also regard the messages on outdoor billboards as too short to be persuasive. People who think like that are simply missing the point.
And the Point is…
Billboards aren’t there to persuade you to do anything, not overtly anyway. On the average, research shows that most people don’t even look at billboards for more than 4 seconds, those that do look for more than that, don’t look much longer. Outdoor billboards are about building brands, and strengthening images.
Brand recall is the holy grail of advertising, the ultimate goal of all advertisers is to make the brand they are pushing a household name. The history of advertising is full of such examples: Coca Cola was once so popular that people referred to all soda as Coke, Frigidaire also enjoyed similar status, in fact the term “fridge”, is actually short for Frigidaire, not refrigerator. To this day, many refer to a point in time that is worthy of a photograph as a “Kodak Moment”. Finally, many people still think that a photo copier is actually called a Xerox machine.
The status that these brands achieved did wonders for their corporate image, and more importantly for their revenue. They achieved this by promoting recall, rather than through persuasion. To this day, no medium can match billboard marketing in terms of promoting brand recall.
So how do You Measure Billboard Advertising?
The only numbers that need to be measured with billboards is the road or foot traffic that will have a clear vantage point of that billboard at any given time, any decent outdoor advertising company can readily provide you such information on their properties. People in transit are in many ways a captive audience. Sure they don’t look at billboards for more than a few seconds, but they do look, and at a time when they typically have nothing on their minds. For typical working Americans, the commute to and from work is most of the idle time they will have on most days. Big brands and outdoor advertising companies know this all too well, which is why most major thoroughfares virtually bombard your senses with billboards.
The Importance of Presence in Billboard Advertising
Billboards are all about recall, the more present a brand is in the consciousness of its intended target market the better. For new brands hoping to get big, for big brands looking to get huge, and for huge brands looking to stay huge, the sure fire way to achieve it is to buy billboard space, buy a whole lot of billboard space.