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Should Your Small Business Market with Billboards?

By Jenna Bruce on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 @ 10:00 AM |


I was driving the other day and saw a billboard that said, “Try and block this ad.” How true. In today’s world of digital advertising, people are so sick of being bombarded with banner ads and popups that they use special software to block them. That’s a lot of wasted ad spend.

So now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, sure, billboard ads can’t be blocked, but do people really pay attention to them?” For that answer I am going to turn to the most recent research conducted by The Arbitron National In-Car Study, which does a great job at painting a clear picture of the psyche of the typical American consumer and what impact billboard ads have on them.

We Spend a Lot of Time in Our Carsbusiness man on the road whith blank in hand

The first thing the study points out is that on average, each of us spends roughly 20 hours per week in our car traveling about 200 miles. 20 hours is a lot of time the average consumer can be exposed to billboard ads.

Now that we know the potential for ad exposure is very much there, we have to ask, “Does the average consumer pay attention to these ads, and if so, do billboard ads actually inspire them to take action?”

Well, the study points out that 71% of consumers “often look at the messages on roadside billboards (traditional and digital combined) and more than one-third (37%) report looking at an outdoor ad each or most of the time they pass one."

When we dig deeper into respondents’ feedback, we unearth some other interesting pieces of data:

  • 58% learned about an event they were interested in attending.
  • 58% also learned about a restaurant they wanted to try, and eventually DID try.
  • 56% discussed a funny billboard message with someone they knew.
  • 33% of people were reminded to tune into a TV program, and 44% were reminded to tune into a radio station.
  • 26% of respondents noted a phone number and 28% noted a website address that was listed on a billboard.

Now you may be thinking those last two numbers are low, but how many of us can remember a phone number or website address. But if the billboard ad does its job correctly, we’ll remember the company name and can Google it later when we get home.

Do Billboards Drive Action

Did you see what I did there?

Okay, so far we know that people are very much exposed to billboard ads and a good majority of drivers pay attention to them. Now the final question: Do billboard ads inspire people to make a purchase?

Well, according to the research, and I quote, “billboard viewers make shopping decisions while in the car." In fact, 72% of billboard viewers said they sometimes or frequently shop on their way home from work. 68% said they frequently or sometimes make shopping decisions while in the car and 38% make the decision to stop at a store while on their way home.

But it gets better, 24% said they were motivated to visit a PARTICULAR store that day because of a billboard message they saw and 32% said they visited a specific retailer later in the week because of a billboard ad they saw. And 24% said they IMMEDIATELY visited a business because of an outdoor ad they saw.

The Final Tally

I’d say that these findings paint a pretty clear picture: billboard advertising works. These out of home (OOH) ads not only capture consumers’ attention, they drive massive action as well.

If you’ve been thinking about trying billboard advertising, we encourage you to do so. And if you need any help with your campaign, please give us a call. We work with small- and medium-sized companies to develop OOH campaigns that deliver big results.

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