Disadvantages of a Subway Ad and the Shift of the Industry
Subway Ads: Should I try this tactic?
The Impact of COVID-19 on the billboard industry
As the effects of the economic impact of COVID-19 crisis continue to spread and spill over the advertising industry, advertisers are facing the challenge to adapt the advertising message and tactics. At the end of March, Gartner reported that 65% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) surveyed were planning to cut marketing budgets as a result of business disruptions from the coronavirus. The survey showed that 34% of businesses expect “reduced levels of business operations” due to COVID-19.
Agencies will be required to change their advertising method. The traditional out-of-home advertising in malls, at bus shelters, will be fast replaced by in-home advertising. The lockdowns will keep people more distanced and inside their homes. Hence, the best ways to reach the audience will be to take your advertising message to them indoors.
Adzze has been re-imaging the advertising tactics and adapting to a more sensitive message. The operation team has working on extending its capabilities to offer advertising concepts that can reach the consumers at their safest place: at home. One of these methods uses pizza boxes as advertising space. Think of this as small moving billboard that that consumers will receive in their home. Surveys indicated that this type of tactics can trigger an 80% recall rate (8 out of 10 individuals recall seeing an ad on the pizza box) with an average ROI of 150%. This means, for every 1 dollar the advertiser invested in a pizza box advertising campaign, they received at least additional 2.5 dollars of sales. For more details in the article Estimating the ROI of Pizza Box Marketing.
Why are subway ads ineffective?
Indeed, outdoor subway ads are popular and many businesses use them in marketing campaigns. However, all of these media have fundamental problems concerning tracking of impact and audience targeting. Specifically, passengers in transit do not have much time to read through long messages or to watch long videos. As such, advertising agencies limit the length of messages to a few sentences. On the other hand, the ROI tracking of subway ads is problematic. Oftentimes, the gross impressions obtained from the ads is huge but the correlation to conversions is disappointing. There is no technique advertisers can use to test the market to tie conversion to the gross impressions. Important to note, passengers in transit are often in a hurry either to reach the office or at home. While at it, they may be swiping at their smartphones or enjoying a favorite book. Consequently, few people actually pay attention to the ads donning the walls and other items in the subway.
Inattention, lack of ROI tracking, and unconvincing impact of subway ads are more critical after consideration of their costs. Usually, ad agencies use posters, static and digital billboards, and pieces of art to display ads in subways. All these, especially the digital billboards are very expensive to produce. Indeed, a digital billboard anywhere, including in subways, could cost up to $20,000 per month.
Costs of billboards depends on format, circulation, demographics, and impressions. Traditional billboards cost $14,000-20,000/month in larger markets. It takes a considerable time, energy and money to advertise with billboards. On the top, most billboard companies require advertisers to close long-term contracts. If your campaign strategy requires flexibility and multiple messages delivered at specific times, billboards are not the right media.
The key in advertising is to be able to track number of impressions. Billboards demonstrate a lack of targeting and tracking and very often a low engagement with the target audience, high costs, low ROI and in many cases they cause visual pollution and low brand recall. The targeting issues very often are addressed with alternative approaches as mobile billboards, digital OOH, ads on trucks and ads in places people don’t expect as flags, backpacks, inflatable objects, gas pump and balloons.
The Subway Ad Industry will shift to Stay-at-Home vehicles
The after-effect of this development will be an unavoidable reduction in patronage for the billboard advertising companies. Billboard companies will eventually have to sit it out with the hope that they can still reclaim their market share in the end. However, smaller businesses and other brands that depended on their strategic displays to market their brands may not be so patient. Just as major clients like hoteliers, airlines, and cinemas are on pause mode, smaller brands are quickly pulling away and leveraging alternative media and in-home advertising to preach their brands.
Billboard companies may not only be counting their losses in billions of dollars, many of their customers might have moved on to embrace other more pocket-friendly advertising alternatives. These alternatives are indoor-directed, and have proven to be equally effective, perhaps even more effective than the conventional outdoor methods. Aside from the fact that they are more expensive, it is difficult to track engagement for out-of-home ads. In fact, small businesses face more challenges trying to get a marketing space in the highly competitive ad industry.
Pizza Box Marketing and Stay-at-Home Advertising
The end of coronavirus is much anticipated across borders but for the foreseeable future, the impact of the pandemic will not be palatable. One thing is certain; the outbreak of the virus will not only cause disruptions of businesses and fall in revenues but will also open new ad perhaps better dimensions to doing business, especially for the advertising industry. As example, during the pandemic there is an interesting increase that has been recorded by restaurants and food delivery services across the country. This means, it creates a new demand and opportunity for in-home advertising since most Americans are working from home.
Adzze has been working with its clients to adapt to a more sensitive message. The team has been extending the capabilities to offer advertising options that can reach the consumers at their safest place: at home. One of these concepts uses pizza boxes as advertising space that gets delivered at the homes of the audience.