Why billboard advertising makes the most sense – “now”

Why billboard advertising makes the most sense – “now”

It’s not easy crafting a marketing message during a pandemic. It just feels pushy and in-your-face. How do I write this with the sensitivity it deserves? I know first-hand that our clients are looking for impactful and reasonably priced advertising options to try to remain viable in a Covid and post-Covid economy.

Introducing “Billboard Advertising”:

Billboards are one of the oldest & original advertising forms that began around 1796 when the lithographic process was perfected.

*Prior to the advent of motor vehicles, primitive examples of billboards were sometimes used to alert people traveling on foot, on horseback, or by carriage that an inn could be found within a certain distance up the road.  Along with naming the inn and providing an approximate distance to the establishment, the billboard would sometimes list some of the amenities such as clean beds, food, and the presence of facilities to house the carriage or stable the horse.

During the early 20th century the growing use of automobiles quickly led to companies making use of billboard advertising to publicize a wide range of products and services.  Motor villages and motels would buy or lease billboards as a means of directing potential customers to their facilities.  Towns and cities made use of billboard advertising to entice the traveler to stop long enough to see some of the local sights before moving on with the journey.  Roadside restaurants made use of billboards to advertise hot meals for competitive prices.  The effectiveness of these advertisements led to creating an entirely new branch of the advertising industry as clients demanded newer and more attractive ads that would catch the eye and entice the traveler to stop and spend money.

According to Inrix (a travel analytics company) United States national traffic volume has increased to 88% of normal volume as of June 5th, 2020 (see chart below)

According to research provided by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) OOH journeys are continuing…and for some they are quite extensive.
¥ 29% are taking journeys out of home once a week.
¥ 27% are taking journeys 2 to 3 times a week.
¥ 27% are doing so 4 times a week or more.

Retail opportunities still clearly exist!
¥ Consumers are still visiting the mall – 35% having done so 1 to 2 days a week, and 44% visiting 3 to 4 days.
¥ 71% are visiting big box stores 1 to 2 days a week, while 68% are doing the same for gas stations and 65% for grocery stores.

Consumers continue to work, spend, and undertake education throughout the crisis.
¥ 62% are still working, 34% from home, and 28% are still travelling to their place of work.
¥ 54% have seen their income stay the same or increase, and when it comes to spending, 25% have continued to spend as normal, while 26% have actually increased their spending.
¥ 51% of consumers are spending more or the same as pre COVID-19.
¥ Of those consumers pursuing education pre-COVID-19, 69% are continuing their education – 58% doing some from home.

There are key retail areas in which consumers spend is currently focused.
¥ Top of this list is groceries at 67%
¥ Cleaning products are the next most popular purchase at 43%, followed by takeout at 31%.
¥ Medicine, 22%, and paid TV services, 19%, round out the top five.

Consumers look set to flock back to a range of activities.
¥ While spending time with family and friends are what consumers are missing the most, and the activity they intend to do more of post COVID-19, there are many additional activities they are missing:
¥ Schooling 67%, Travel 65%, Live events 62%, Life events 61% and Dining out 58%
¥ Time outdoors is set to increase with consumers planning to engaging in the following a lot more:
¥ Visit parks/playgrounds 42%, Drive around 41%, Visit the gym/fitness center 40%, Visit bar/pub 38% and Live events 36%
¥ 39% are looking to increase general recreational activity

Consumers can still be reached with Out-of-Home Advertising:

Consumers are still out and about and some are still travelling frequently. So we can still reach consumers. However, we must adjust our Out-of-Home planning to maximize impact. Roadside billboards remain king in most markets – with the majority of journeys taking place via car. Placements around and in malls, big box stores, gas stations and grocery stores should also be leveraged.

Youth audience:
Our 18-24’s are power travellers. Travelling more frequently and with more people. Opportunities clearly exist to engage this audience with OOH.

Relevance matters now, more than ever:
Planning outdoor ad campaigns in this unusual time requires that advertisers be hyper-relevant with their product and message. Time outside is clearly set to increase as the COVID situation continues to improve. Ensure that your message is impactful and you’re ready to move quickly and efficiently to serve new customers.

Contact us today for more details about billboard advertising in New England or anywhere in the US – (617) 803-6358 – pmorton@billboardconnection.com

*Thanks to David Bernstein – author of “Advertising Outdoors – Watch this Space” – Phaidon Press – 2004


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