A guide to using billboard advertising to boost your brand exposure and sales


The large advertising space that a billboard provides, can help enhance your marketing reach more naturally, in a busy location. But the important question is… is this form of traditional advertising as effective as people think?  

Billboards can boost your campaigns and help to maximise the ROI on your advertising strategies, according to findings in the advertising industry. Where The Trade Buys Print, printed banners specialists, run us through what launching a billboard-based campaign could do for your brand…  

The history behind the power of the billboard

The influential history behind the billboard is an interesting one and began in New York around the mid-1830s. Since then, it has become an important part of marketing advertising — it even played a role as a crucial prop in renowned movie, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The main reason billboards work and continue to offer a successful strategy is because many people are out and about for various parts of the day. According to Bill Shorten, leader of the Labour Party: “Today, nine out of 10 of us spend more than 90 minutes a day travelling to and from work.” This is an ideal window of opportunity to target people with a large, quality billboard.

Also, there’s a fast turnaround on producing billboards. They tend to be incredibly easy to design and get printed quickly. A billboard is a single design — unlike a brochure, for example, that would require more content, usually a few pages, which requires more effort and time to plan.

It’s said that a consumer needs to engage with an advert at least seven times before they can consider making a move, especially where larger sums of money are concerned — such as choosing to buy or visit a store. This interesting finding was revealed by the theory ‘Marketing Rule of 7’. If you put an outdoor banner somewhere with a lot of people — like on a highway — the same people should pass every day (e.g. going to work or dropping the kids off at school). So, you can help hit this magic number seven and boost the chance that your marketing message gets through.

Now that we’ve qualified that billboards definitely have some advantages. So, how do you make yours effective?

The perfect billboard: the design

Billboards may be large but of course, consumers won’t engage with them if they aren’t eye-catching. Think strategically:

·         What is your marketing aim?

·         Do you want to promote a specific product or generally highlight your brand?

·         Are you already well-known in the area or are you a start-up company?

·         Looking to highlight an event, rather than something to ‘sell’?

Think about the essential components that need to be included on your billboard? They are: contact details, name of product/service/event, and important dates (like when the promotional offer ends) are.

Make a statement by featuring some bold images on your billboard. Research states that we generally only recall 10% of information we learn three days later — but including a strong image alongside this information boosts retention by 55%! Essentially, you need to grab your audience’s attention with a funny, quirky or bold visual, text has a slim to none chance of being retained if several days have passed since consuming it. Your images can pack a powerful punch on a huge billboard, so focus on the right picture and go from there.

Clarity is key in the design process. Bright shades catch the eye — contrasting colours also stay in people’s memories for longer — and opt for a simple background with a plain font.

Get the location spot on

Are you scouting out somewhere for a roadside placement? Do make sure you go easy on the text and really exaggerate imagery. A motorist typically has five to 10 seconds to look at an advertisement. The better the image, the less you need to write, so stick to a brief, punchy message of seven words to convey your marketing message, if you can.

Consider the journeys of your audience and their reasoning for passing particular locations. Ensure your audience will be travelling in and around the location of your desired billboard. Who’s your audience? If you’re going for 18-21-years-olds, anywhere near a university or college would be great and should help you maximise your ROI.

Also, here’s some handy advice if you’re targeting a local audience. Create a sense of familiarity by including an image of a local landmark or poke fun at the local traffic. Humour works in advertising. A review of 6,500 ads discovered that the funniest were thought to be the most memorable. Plus, you come across as personal and familiar, making your brand seem welcoming to a new customer.

Now you’re empowered with knowledge to get started on a new billboard strategy today. Increase your brand exposure and sales in 2019!