Measuring Billboard Effectiveness

Anyone in the advertising business will agree that billboard advertising is a form of advertising that is extremely effective. When you consider that billboards remain a visible part of the landscape most everywhere you go, and that advertisers continue to invest heavily in them as part of their marketing campaigns, it suggests that there is more to billboard advertising than meets the eye. Even though a typical consumer may not realize it, professionals within the advertising industry consider billboard marketing one of the most effective and valuable advertising mediums at their disposal. Most consumers tend to regard other static advertising methods such as newspaper ads and direct mailers as more effective, their reach and effectiveness easier to measure and quantify. A common misconception is that the messages on outdoor billboards are too brief and simple to be persuasive. Advertising industry professionals will tell you that those who think like that are probably missing the point.

Goals of Billboard Advertising

Billboards aren’t usually designed to persuade consumers to do anything, at least not overtly.  Research shows that the average person views a billboard for about 4 seconds, rarely much longer.  The purpose of outdoor billboards is to build or reinforce brand recognition and bolster the advertiser’s image, not to overly inform.

The ultimate goal of all advertisers is brand recall and to make their brand a household name.  Consider the historical success stories of those who achieved that goal; Coca Cola became so popular that people began referring to all soda soft drinks as “Coke.” We grab a Coke from “the fridge,” which is actually short for Frigidaire as opposed to refrigerator.  Any tissue brand used in an American home is called a Kleenex, which we sometimes reach for after experiencing a “Kodak Moment.”

These brands achieved their status as familiar household names worked into the everyday vocabulary of consumers by promoting brand familiarity and image strengthening rather than through more persuasive means.  Their strong corporate images and impressive product revenues were achieved primarily through simple brand recall.  Even today, no advertising medium can equal billboard advertising in terms of developing and reinforcing product familiarity by way of brand recall.

The daily commute represents the greatest amount of idle time a typical American will have on most days, with public transit riders being virtually a captive audience. Corporations with big brands and the advertising companies are aware of this and take good advantage of the opportunity to bombard your senses with powerful messages on strategically located signs and billboards.

The Metrics for Billboard Effectiveness

A professional outdoor advertising company can readily provide you with the numbers that need to be measured, taking into consideration the vehicular or pedestrian traffic that will pass by a clear vantage point of any particular billboard at any given time. They can also provide you with demographic information about those who are most likely to view the billboard.  By their very nature, outdoor billboards are meant to be viewed by people on the move and generally during that time they aren’t overly focused on other things. That makes them more impressionable to simple, yet strong and persuasive images.  Even though they may only look at billboards for a few seconds, they do look.

The unit of measure for billboards is Daily Effective Circulation (DEC). This number represents the number of vehicles that pass by the billboard as well as the number of pedestrians.

A professional billboard advertising agency like Capitol Outdoor has the tools to measure these impressions and report back to clients and landlords on the impact of their billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising. Learn more by contacting us today.