Billboard advertising has evolved and consumers are expecting more from it than they did some 20 years ago. While this hypersized space is still considered premium real estate, the public is now more engrossed by tablets, smart phones, and gaming devices. For much of the ride in the city or the highway, eyes are down, not up.
This, however, does not mean that billboard advertising is passe. The fact that they are everywhere means they still make a powerful impact and deliver a return on investment. Otherwise, businesses won’t be setting budgets aside for it. With outdoor ads transforming themselves to become more relevant to the new generation of consumers, it is a challenge for businesses to make sure they don’t fall behind. Digital billboards have even started to become more popular to cater to this high-tech clientele.
What does it take for billboard ads to get noticed? We have five tips.
- Get attention, but don’t be a distraction.
Billboards are positioned at main streets and highways, so their key audience covers drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Because you only have a few seconds to get your message across, how do you make an impact without causing a road accident? Create a balance between content and head-turning design. Or you can do away with the shocking images and just go straight to the message. Be creative, so people will want to know more about your brand through other (non-accident-causing) means.
- Say what you want in 6 words or fewer.
Studies show that it takes only six seconds for people on the road to digest what’s on a billboard. That said, saying more with as few words as possible is preferred. While you do have all that space, that’s not a reason to fill it up with everything about your brand or company. Select a few words that will make people remember who you are and want to know more later. Being concise is tough, but billboards will too many words will not get read.
- Billboards need friends; the more, the better.
While billboards are relatively expensive, they won’t really do much in terms of exposure and returns if you have just one. Advertising experts recommend having two or three at different strategic locations, so they are exposed to as many eyes as possible. Billboard effectiveness is usually measured by its location, traffic, visibility, and size. Impact ratings of three billboards are higher compared to just one.
- Be clever, but don’t be cocky.
Don’t be boring, but don’t be too clever, either. A smart billboard will not just grab your market’s attention, it will also leave a lasting impression. But if you’re trying to be too clever, you’ll only leave the audience confused and your message will definitely fail. There’s no room for complex metaphors or puzzles with billboards. Remember, you need to advertise your brand, not show off how smart your people are.
- Perform the “Arm’s Length” test
So you finally have that perfect billboard design ready to print. It’s got great color contrasts, is concise and clear, and delivers your message with an impact. Now’s the time to test it out and ensure none of the effort is wasted. What you can do is print it out in the size of a regular business card and hold it arm’s length. This test mimics a person’s exposure to it while on the road. Are you seeing all the elements that you saw on your computer’s monitor? Do you understand what it’s about in 5 to 10 seconds? If the answer is yes to both, then go.