Billboard IconOutdoor Advertising

Whether it’s a new Katy Perry single at no. 1, or your business’s catchy ad on the M31, anything that gets to the top of a billboard attracts millions of eyeballs. Or in Katy’s case, eardrums. That’s a lot of attention. If you like that sort of thing, Lime Virtual Studio can help you get it.

How do I choose a billboard location?

Billboard selection is a science. We could write a whole guide about just that one topic. (Soon, we will. Promise.) But to summarise it very simply, it all comes down to one key thing: your customers. Who are your target customers? Where do they live? Where do they work? Where do they hangout or travel?

For example, if you run a gym in a suburb of Melbourne, it makes sense for you to choose a billboard in and around that suburb. Or, if you know that many people who work in a particular business district also happen to live in that suburb, you might consider a billboard in that business district — especially if your gym is located conveniently along their commute.

At the other extreme, if you are McDonald’s (are you?), then it makes sense to lease a massive billboard along the freeway, because everyone eats at Macca’s. Of course, there are exceptions to this principle, like if you run a destination store (eg: Ikea), where people will drive all the way across town (or even from out of town) to visit your business, or if you run an online business that caters to very wide geography.

Continuing along that line of reasoning, as a property developer selling expensive condos, or a retailer of luxury watches, you may want to choose billboards at places like the airport, or close to marinas, golf clubs, or in upscale business districts. Remember: it isn’t about where your business is located; it’s about where your customers spend time.

Are billboards worth the money?

As Frank Sinatra would say, it all depends on you. To really achieve a great return on investment on a billboard campaign — whether your campaign consists of a single billboard or hundreds of billboards nationwide — there are three important things to keep in mind.

Your business goals and situation

A billboard is just one out of many possible tools that you can use to market your business. Whether it’s the right tool depends on the goals you have for your business, and the marketing budget available.

A full discussion of all business situations and strategies is beyond the scope of this guide, but one rule of thumb we often suggest to clients is the 3-second-test: whatever your business objective, is it possible to nudge your customers in that direction, within just 3 seconds? (Because that’s how long most people will hold their attention on a billboard.)

If you want customers to know that you’ve just opened a store in their neighbourhood, for example, or if you want to drive people to your website, choosing a billboard might be the right option. On the other hand, if you want to explain all the features of your latest product, a billboard is probably not the best choice.

If you think your objective can be achieved with a 3-second message, the next step is to compare the costs of other options. How does a billboard compare to, say, a newspaper ad, or digital advertising, or radio? This data will help you arrive at the most cost-effective medium to reach your target audience.

Your billboard location

This is straightforward. Choosing the wrong location means your ad may not be seen by a lot of people, or may not be seen by the right people (your target audience). A single misstep in location selection may result in a very poor ROI.

Your ad creative

This is last on the list, but by no means least important. A forgettable ad will have little to no result. In addition to the 3-second-test, a key question to evaluate an ad creative is: what’s in it for your target audience? If they can very clearly get the benefit for them, you have a good ad.

A while ago, a tyre retailer (who shall remain unnamed) had advertised on a few billboards along the highway. “Like us on Facebook!”, their billboards screamed, with a picture of a man standing next to a stack of tyres. Even if people weren’t driving along at 130 kilometres an hour when they saw the ad, why on earth would anybody log on to Facebook, find a tyre retailer, and Like them? What’s in it for the audience?

And lastly, there’s likeability. To run with the example of Macca’s from earlier, a new McDonald’s in a neighbourhood may choose to run a very simple message on a billboard — a picture of a Big Mac, and a direction sign with a distance: left, 700 metres. That passes the 3-second test easily, but it would be even better if it could add a little likeability sauce. For instance, even a simple headline like, “Let there be breakfast,” might just do the trick.

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