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Digital Mobile Billboards: Shining Ads Are Not Always Effective

Digital Mobile Billboards

Among all traditional advertising media, out of home (OOH) advertising is growing the fastest. In the second quarter of 2019, the medium posted revenue growth of 7.7%. Interestingly, the growth can be attributed to the increasing digitization of OOH advertising using digital mobile billboards and other innovations.

Are digital mobile billboards the real deal?

According to this analysis, the digitization of OOH is the most significant trend in the sector right now. Notably, digital mobile billboards are hard to miss because of the flashy and graphic images used. For this reason, there is an increased adoption of digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH), which WARC expects to expand at an annual rate of 10.1% between 2018 and 2021. WARC established that DOOH would be responsible for almost all of OOH advertising’s growth going forward.
Nevertheless, are digital billboards a delight to everybody who views it? Not. A significant population sees billboards in general as agents of visual pollution. Notably, a campaign dubbed Scenic America is working towards the complete removal of billboards across the US. One of the fundamental issues that Scenic America has with the billboards is that they destroy the beauty of nature.
Notably, the problem with digital mobile billboards is that shiny ads are distracting. According to this study, digital billboards are responsible for drivers taking their eyes from the wheel hence leading to fatal accidents. Notably, the study established that drivers stare at digital billboards for longer than they would static billboards. As a result, the use of the advertising medium, going forward, could face increased pressure hence making it unfavorable.

Advertising trucks: the pitfalls

Advertisers have been using alternative to static billboards as vehicle advertising or digital mobile OOH. However, the use of advertising trucks during the ad campaign has risks as impact on reputation. When the truck carries the brand on the road, it plays the role of a brand ambassador. Any potential incident might risk other people on the road. If the truck driver misbehaves, the brand might suffer in terms of reputation. It is because the audience will associate bad behavior with the business. In addition, advertising trucks have several pitfalls as low return on the ad investment, difficult to track the outcomes and low brand recall. Advertising trucks cannot pinpoint the exact audience that a business would like to reach. As such, the ad campaign might generate thousands of impressions per day, but only a handful of them will lead to direct action.


The people’s resistance to digital billboards is not the only challenge facing the advertising medium. Unfortunately, there is no way advertisers can target the exact audience when using digital mobile billboards. Not even the mobile nature of the billboards is enough to increase their efficiency.
According to this analysis, mobile billboards target areas that have a high density of customers. The reason for this is to increase the chances of a particular section of the population to view the message. However, the billboards cannot isolate that specific section of the consumer population to increase brand engagement.
While the impressions generated from this ad campaign will be sky-high, the conversion rates are underwhelming. It is because conversion rates correlate positively with the engagement rates, which are higher when targeting is more precise.
In-the-hand advertising is the best medium for advertisers looking to target the exact audience. Particularly, an advertiser can isolate the most desired portion of the audience. For example, say you want to market your cannabis business to legal age customers. Here, you can take advantage of radical ad mediums like use of custom printed coasters to pass the message. Usually, people who drink in bars are of legal age and many of them would not mind using cannabis products. Therefore, you can deliver the custom printed coasters to the bar of your choice. The idea is that the coasters will take advantage of the ambience in the bar to convey the message to potential customers.


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