This is a question that just about every new client we get that’s trying to grow their brand asks. Quite honestly, it’s not the cut-and-dry answer you’re probably looking for. However, we do like to educate our audience and be transparent about our approach. So, let’s jump right out of the gate with some positives about billboards.
Is A Billboard Still An Effective Way To Advertise?
Let’s cut to the chase—ABSOLUTELY billboards are effective. In fact, while you’re reading this we can bet that you probably remember at least one billboard you saw today. Whether you’re driving to work, taking a summer road trip, or even riding the metro—you’re guaranteed to see a billboard.
Let’s look at the city of Houston and what you see on a typical day here. Billboards are big, bold, and give a quick hit message that can be decoded in a single glance. They have to be, when you’re flying down Beltway 8, you have mere seconds to read one. Let’s be honest, who drives the speed limit in Houston anyway?
Because of the nature of the placement, most billboards are best suited for brand awareness campaigns. It’s not going to be a big inbound marketing tool. However, if you’re wanting to grow exposure for your brand—it can be extremely effective. This is especially true in a congested metroplex like Houston. At rush hour—you have a captive audience and mass exposure. The scale of the views you can receive alone, make it a lucrative tool.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Billboards are what we call out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Most advertising is targeted to a specific demographic and is delivered to the home via tv or streaming services. That is because you can choose where to place your spots based on the demographics of the programming being shown during that slot.
For example, if you wanted to sell a new kid’s cereal, you wouldn’t advertise on DIY during a home flipper show. No, you’re buying time on Nickelodeon, or local stations on Saturday mornings. You’re selling to the kids, who don’t have the disposable income—but their parents do. You can guarantee they’re going to ask their parents for that cool new cereal.
Billboards work a bit differently; they’re designed to make you aware of a brand and expose a wide demographic to that brand. Because the exposure is so great, the less-targeted approach still works—the stats show it. According to marketing studies, billboards generate some very convincing performance stats:
- Much higher recall rate than TV and Streaming ads, Radio, Print ads, and Google Ads
- 32% of respondents favor billboards moderately and 9% like them a lot
- Compare that with online ads which according to another study, 41% of respondents hate.
- Over 80% of viewers can remember a digital billboard they saw a month ago
Pretty impressive right? There’s a lot of psychology that goes into those numbers and why they are so high. However, we won’t pretend to be psych professors, so we’ll let you do the Googling for the long answers. The short answer though is simply this: captive audiences are often more obliging. After all, when you’re bumper to bumper on 610, a clever billboard beats looking at the slow driver in front of you right?
What It’s Going To Cost You
Billboards can be all over the place in terms of cost. So, we can’t even give you a good estimate. However, we can tell you that they can range from as little as nearly $300 or as much as $5,000 and up. Why the large gap? Because there’s a lot of variables that set the price.
Demographics: This refers to the socioeconomic data of the traffic that will likely pass the billboard in question. Factors like age, gender, income bracket, and other traits.
Circulation: The estimated number of cars that pass by a particular billboard weekly. This data is collected from TXDOT and Houston’s Traffic Management Division.
Impressions: An estimate of the number of people that see the billboard. It’s calculated based on
- Proximity to the roadway
- Traffic speed adjacent to the billboard
BUT WAIT….There’s more!
The cost of leasing the billboard is only half of the cost. You also have to factor in the design, printing, and mounting. The average cost starts around $2500, but if you’re getting fancy like Chick-Fil-A with 3D boards—it can easily hit six figures.
Now, digital billboards are gaining in popularity, but they’re actually more expensive. However, they do offer you more flexibility in messaging and easier design costs. Again, it all depends on how fancy you want to get.
The payoff can vary, billboard marketing is not a formula. Anyone that tries to sell you a one-size-fits-all solution is just not being honest. It’s a very fluid strategy that has to account for a wide range of dynamics.
The ROI for billboards is relatively lower than other content marketing but it’s fantastic for building brand awareness.
Should You Invest In Billboard Marketing?
This is where the rubber meets the road—is a billboard right for your strategy? Well, let’s evaluate it.
- New Business? YES, but not at the expense of taking money away from investing in lead-generating efforts. If you have the budget to do both at full capacity—GO FOR IT!
- Trying To Get More Leads? NO, you want to focus more on TV, Google Ads, and social media. Those can target your efforts to reach only the audience that likely wants your product or service.
- Established And Trying To Increase Brand Recognition? ABSOLUTELY, this is what billboards’ primary purpose is.
- Have A Universally Valued Product Like Insurance, Legal Services, etc? YES, but again only if your budget can handle it.
The bottom line is this, billboards are not going to make the phones ring and leads pour in as effectively as TV, social media, and Google Ads. So, billboards, for the most part, should be seen as a reinforcement marketing strategy, not your core strategy.
Want To Grow Your Business? You Don’t Need Billboard Marketing—You Need SiteJab.
We know you want to get the most for your marketing dollars. We analyze your business, the industry you’re in, and your budget. From there, we develop a campaign that is going to give you the best chance to see exponential growth.
When you succeed, we succeed—this is a team sport. Contact us today and let’s get your game plan in motion.