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Billboard Advertising has Higher Stakes than Playing Craps in Vegas

Considering placing a billboard advertisement for your business? You might want to think twice about using this medium as you’d probably have worse odds at losing a lot of dough than if you were in Vegas – and for good reason.

High Cost of Gambling
The majority of billboards throughout Las Vegas cost between $24,000-$120,000 for a 6 month contract. Many small businesses, which need advertising services, simply do not have this much to spend on advertising. Larger corporations such cell phones, beer manufacturers and car companies, can benefit from outdoor ads by further promoting their already existing brand. Overall, the billboard industry as a whole generates less than 1% of total advertising revenues.

Accessing your ROI from outdoor advertising can be challenging at best. With billboards, the message can be exposed to thousands of people but no true way to measure who actually absorbed the message. Many new advertising mediums such as online advertising and SEO can produce exceedingly usable and accurate metrics to further grow a business and target to a specific audience.

Risks Involved
People are usually DRIVING (imagine that!) when they see a billboard and cannot find paper, pen and then take time to jot down a phone number or website. Furthermore, many people are fearful to take their eyes off the road for very long, so really how effective can this medium be?

Odds are Stacked Against You
Several states already have regulations in place stating how far apart billboards need to be as well as size and configuration restrictions. Over 1,000 cities and 5 states have restrictions prohibiting new billboards once they see the rewards. “Vermont experienced a 50% rise in tourism spending in the first 2 years it became billboard free.”

In Texas alone nearly 200 cities have adopted billboard ordinances. “79% of Texans agree that there should be no more billboards on Texas highways.” (Study conducted by Stephen Klineberg, PhD., Rice University Texas Environmental Survey). People feel they contribute to visual blight and are a distraction from driving.

Attracting an Audience?
One billboard won’t necessarily contribute to business growth, but does give the business name recognition in the local area. Billboard advertising limits you to post a single message that motorists only see an average of 2-4 seconds. Therefore, the words may not sink in much making this advertising more “visual” than “verbal.”

Special consideration of placement is crucial to it being successful. I recently saw a billboard for cable television out in the country where there was very limited potential for service because the company’s cable network was not available there. Furthermore is the ad lit at night or is your ad only able to be viewed during daylight hours? Is it in competition with other boards?

Unless you’re a truck stop, roadside restaurant, gas station, hotel, pushing a convenience item drivers need, or a multi-million dollar corporation, you might want to invest your money in something with greater return.

If you are in one of the above businesses, don’t “put all your eggs in one basket” – diversify through multiple advertising mediums. If you want to utilize a billboard for your business, here are some simple rules for making your outdoor advertisement effective:

  • Use a striking visual – and not one of yourself. Remember a basic rule in sales – It’s not about YOU, it’s all about THEM.
  • Keep text to 8 words or less. Those that are witty, short and clever stand to stay with people longer.
  • Choose your location - make sure it’s lighted and is not competing with another billboard above or below it.
  • Select a vinyl that wraps around to make your ad appear large than just a paper or paint billboard.
  • Billboards tend to market to middle-to-upper income demographics.

Be sure you look at all your options before you “roll the dice” on billboard advertising. With stakes this high, you might want to take a trip to Vegas instead.