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Billboard Advertisement: Does It Measure Up To The Costs Incurred?

Billboards are a common sight along major highways the world over. Interestingly, all these are opportunities for companies to display what they have to offer to potential customers. According to Statista data, the use of billboard advertisements increased with the introduction of digital billboards. However, does the cost of this media measure up to the return on investment (ROI)?

Billboard advertisement and visual pollution

In 2016, there were 368,239 billboards in the US. However, this number had fallen drastically by August 2019 to 342,306. Notably, there has been a steady decline in the number of billboards going up in the country since 2017. Ironically, the drop is happening at a period when billboard advertisers are touting the superior impressions generated by digital billboards. Impressions may not be the issue, but the issue is visual pollution.
In the US, incessantly flashing billboards crowding cities like New York and San Francisco are a visual blight. While the sight is mesmerizing to the eyeballs that they seek to excite, they are annoying and a bore. Interestingly, Americans are already working towards putting an end to the billboard menace in the country. Scenic America is a non-profit committed to eradicating the visual pollution coming from billboards. According to the organization’s tagline, it aims to protect and enhance the visual character of the US. Interestingly, the non-profit describes billboards as the “junk mail of the American highway.”
The anti-billboard movement is global. In 2007, the city of Sao Paulo passed the Clean City Law that banned erecting of billboards in the city. The law explicitly called out billboards (digital and traditional) as a form of visual pollution. Similarly, Chennai in India stopped companies from erecting billboards in the city. Similar moves are identifiable in Tehran, and some American states like Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont.

Marketers Are Working With Alternative OOH Methods

In-hand-advertising has become a popular low-cost marketing strategy. Adzze is a leading in-hand-advertising media helping businesses to place their brand in the hand of the target consumer.

What is In-Hand advertising


In addition to bans, billboards have low ROI

While billboard advertisement costs differently in different locations, the average cost in the US is about $10,000 per ad per month. Unfortunately, the billboards do not guarantee a good return, mainly because audience targeting is difficult. Once placed on the side of the highway, there is no way to ensure that only desired eyeballs see the message. Subsequently, one cannot be confident enough concerning the impressions generated henceforth.
On the contrary, there are alternative advertising techniques like using pizza boxes. Here, the advertiser places the ad on the pizza box, and the customer grabs the brand in his/her hands. With such a guerilla tactic, advertisers can target the specific audience with the message. Resultantly, there is a considerable potential for generating higher conversion rates.
For example, a travel company wants to market its new bouquets to college students ahead of the summer break. For such a company, it would be imprudent to use TV commercials or even billboards to reach this demographic. Interestingly, the pizza boxes could come in handy for such a marketing campaign. What the company can do is to print pizza boxes with the message it intends to pass to the audience.
Next, the company delivers the pizza boxes to all pizzerias within college campuses. The company could deliver the pizza boxes to other pizzerias adjacent to the target college campuses. Therefore, every time the students buy pizzas, they interact with the ad and they engage with the brand. This way, the company will reach the precise audience easily and cheaply.