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Billboards will continue to be one of the most cost-efficient, smartest and most effective types of advertising in 2024 and beyond. If you haven’t used billboard ads before, 2024 is the perfect time to start.

Billboard campaigns require more than just coming up with fantastic creative, though that is one key to success. You also need to consider the other factors that help achieve the results you desire. Here’s a complete guide to advertising on a billboard in 2024, including all the things you need to consider before making a buy and after your campaign has finished.

Cost of the Billboard

Cost is key to any ad campaign, and you can’t beat billboards on cost. They have one of the lowest CPMs (cost to reach 1,000 people) of any media format, at just $3.65 for a static billboard. That represents a fraction of the cost of radio, TV, podcasts, magazines and most digital video.

Calculate how much you can afford and look for bargains if you have a tight budget. You can sometimes negotiate a price down with a vendor. Buying for longer than the standard four-week period or purchasing more than one board from the vendor, for instance, can push down the price.

Things to consider:

  • What is the highest end of your budget?
  • Is staying well under budget worth it if you get lower returns on the board?
  • What is the vendor’s reputation in the industry?

Production Lead Time for Billboard

Calculate lead time into your billboard search. Remember that in addition to booking the time on the billboard and figuring out your messaging, it will take time to actually produce the creative for the billboard, too. Plus, you also need time for installation. You also want to build time into your schedule for unexpected hiccups — say, a supply chain issue that holds up materials you need.

Approach the project as though it will take weeks, not days. That way you avoid getting into a time pinch later.

Things to consider:

  • Are you using a digital or static billboard?
  • Who will be producing the vinyl wrap if you use a static billboard?
  • Is there a time element to what you’re advertising?

Location of the Billboard

Finding the right place to post a billboard means doing a deep dive into the area’s demographics and seeing how they match with your target audience. If you want to reach, say, Black middle class moms, then look at the data for the surrounding area and think about the businesses located there. These women may not go downtown to the club district, but they may go to the park and the nearby Starbucks. Look carefully at the attractions and shops near your target area and make sure they match your target demo.

Location doesn’t just mean where the billboard is located. You could find the best geographic location in the world, and it wouldn’t matter if branches from a nearby tree block the board. Make sure to visit the board location in person to identify any such potential issue.

Things to consider:

  • What areas share the same demographics as your target audience?
  • How many billboards are located there?
  • Can you visit the billboard before you buy it?

Messaging for the Billboard

The best-placed, most affordable billboard will be a bust if you have the wrong messaging. Messaging is what you tell potential customers about your product, but it’s also more than that — it conveys how you want to make them feel. Messaging can be warm and fuzzy, or it can be voice-of-God stern, or it can be breezy and fun. The messaging should match the vibe of your product, or the disconnect will lessen the impact of the ad.

A record label might have a funky voice and funny message, while a fast food restaurant might take a cheeky approach with a direct appeal to buy. Whatever your messaging, it should be short; people only have a few seconds to absorb everything on your board before they zip past.

Things to consider:

  • What is your brand identity?
  • How do you want to speak to your customers?
  • Can you simplify your message?

Goals for the Billboard

Setting goals for your billboard helps determine whether the campaign is a success and if you should do another one. Make your goals as concrete as you can — instead of saying you want people to notice your billboard, say you want at least 100 people to scan the QR code on the board. This way, you can track the outcome and achieve tangible results.

Things to consider:

  • Are you driving sales or awareness?
  • How will you measure goals, through engagement or sales?
  • Is the billboard part of a larger campaign or does it stand on its own?

Design and Creative

This is the fun part. Billboards have long been noted for their creative, sometimes subversive, frequently funny, always attention-grabbing content. You only have a few seconds to gaze at a billboard, so it needs to register an impact fast.

Creating an effective billboard takes knowledge and persistence. It may take time to achieve the right look, making small tweaks and adjustments. Having someone who has worked on boards before is almost always necessary. They get a feel for approaches that work. Billboards are a big purchase that reach a lot of people. You don’t want to meet your goals through trial and error.

Things to consider:

  • Do you want to include a call to action? Or is this more of a branding ad?
  • Can you cut down the number of words? Fewer than six is optimal.
  • Can people read your billboard from far away?
  • Should you use a QR code or URL?

Digital Billboards or Traditional Billboards?

There’s no right answer to this question. Digital billboards can be cheaper, but you also share the board with other advertisers. It’s easier to swap in creative for digital, but static billboards may have better location. No matter what you decide, both formats have major upsides.

Measurement and Results for Your Billboard

Finally, you want to know whether your campaign worked. Beforehand, determine the outdoor advertising metrics you will use to gauge your success. For example, you may count website visitors or store traffic or sales. The results will determine whether you change future campaigns or stick with what has already worked because you get a great return on investment.

If you need assistance with your 2024 billboard advertising campaign, contact us today. We specialize in outdoor advertising, and we can help you with any part of a billboard buy.

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