A massive 98% of British people are exposed to billboard or similar out-of-home (OOH) advertising every week.
Despite the increasing tendency for businesses to favour online and digital avenues when it comes to reaching their target audience, billboard advertisements remain an extremely appealing option for raising brand awareness and engaging potential customers.
There are thousands of out-of-home and billboard sites across the UK managed under the umbrellas of firms such as JCDecaux, Global and Clear Channel, as well as a massive number of independent- and local authority-run advertising poster positions. This provides brands with huge opportunities to create eye-catching campaigns up and down the country.
Despite the ubiquity of advertising boards across the country, for small businesses and those looking to advertise local services there is often a question of just how to begin marketing via billboard ads – that’s where an agency like Media Buying can help.
At Media Buying, our team of marketing and creative experts have the tools, experience and expertise to cover all your billboard advertising needs. From strategy and planning to artwork and location analysis, our dedicated team will guide you through every step of the process.
Give us a call to learn how we can help your business, or take a look below for our handy guide to billboard and out-of-home advertising.
Picture London’s Piccadilly Circus. What do you see?
You’ll probably recall the bright LED advertisements that wrap the fountain and statue of Anteros (news for you: it’s not “Eros”). You might even recall some of the brands that have dominated the site, such as Coca-Cola or Sanyo.
What about if I ask you to picture Times Square? Or Tokyo…? You get the point!
A billboard advertising campaign is one of the most impactful advertising choices a company can make. When done right, an eye-catching billboard advert delivers impact, instant recall and unparalleled brand awareness. It’s a 24-hour device for promoting your product, broadcasting your message, and reaching a new audience of potential customers.
Let’s look at some general advantages of developing a billboard advertising campaign:
The main advantage of billboard advertising boards is their size. The two most common billboard advertising sizes are 48 sheet and 96 sheet, their names refering to the physical number of paper “sheets” each ad requires to fill the space.
In real terms, 48 sheet sizing is 6.096 x 3.048m, whilst 96 sheet sizing is 12.192m x 3.048m. The super-sized dimensions of these billboards can deliver a huge impact and make a compelling call-to-action.
Increasingly common across the UK are digital billboards. These full-colour illuminated billboards provide a superb showcase for businesses to promote themselves and their products.
Large-format digital billboards tend to be high up and hard to reach, meaning they’re less likely to be damaged than street-level advertising furniture, and preserving the quality of your message. Digital ads can be also be displayed on an interactive billboard, offering the kind of audience engagement never seen before.
Whilst traditional advertising boards must be purchased in specific “posting” blocks because of the specialist fitting required, digital billboards are extremely agile. Owners of digital advertising boards allow flexible booking and quick creative activation, offering advertisers the ultimate flexibility.
Billboard advertising boards have extremely strong regional and national coverage. Large-format outdoor advertising is common throughout the UK, giving advertisers plenty of opportunities to target markets in all locations, not just major towns and cities.
Additionally, billboards are a versatile medium, found in a range of contexts, including:
A massive 98% of British people are exposed to billboard or similar out-of-home (OOH) advertising every week.
There are many factors which contribute to a successful OOH advertising campaign. From copy and design to location and format, billboard advertising grants companies myriad opportunities to promote their brand and their product to the world.
With their format and placement in high-footfall areas, billboards can be a great way to make an impression and develop a lasting connection with an audience; at the same time, if you get it wrong, a negative impression will last just as long.
Take a look at some common mistakes in billboard advertising:
When it comes to out-of-home advertising – and to billboards in particular – a little less investment is often worth much more.
Too frequently media buyers and advertising agencies will strategise in a way that seeks to maximise the number of ad locations but ignores the quality of these locations. With this ‘maximum exposure’ approach, a client will see a large number of locations delivered on budget, but often in cheaper, high-volume sites that are located in sparsely populated or poorly positioned areas.
Similarly, it isn’t uncommon to see rows of outdoor advertising sites filled with ad media for a single brand. High-density promotion like this can represent extremely poor value for money, particularly if it occurs in small, out-of-city locations.
The takeaway: large-format billboard locations are not created equal. Billboard ads should be planned and bought according to specific brand and business requirements. For companies that need effective impact and reach, look less at the number of locations, and rely on an advertising agency who can tell you which locations will give you the greatest ROI.
A common misconception of outdoor advertising is that position doesn’t matter. You paid for your outdoor advertising materials, you should be able to use them for poster billboards, roadside billboards, digital billboards, and everything else, right?
If only it were that simple…
The reason to go with out-of-home advertising is to connect with those who are outside. Whether they’re commuting or enjoying leisure time, you want to be conscious of what your audience is likely to be doing when they see your marketing. You want to use this knowledge to inform your decisions on ad format and creative copy to ensure you’re connecting with your target market.
While strong position awareness can vastly increase the efficacy of your campaign, poor attention to this issue can result in negative brand awareness and damage to your brand’s reputation.
Think of it this way: is it a great idea to advertise your fast-food chain at a school bus stop?
Now you’ve seen a few examples of what not to do, let’s explore a few healthy practices for proceeding with your billboard and OOH ads campaign.
First and foremost, when it comes to billboard advertising, it’s important to find a media buying agency that will keep the long-term interests of your business in mind. The best advertising agencies will look at your bottom line before their own, so be sure you can trust your hired marketing team to work for you.
At Media Buying, we pride ourselves on being the best option for all businesses looking to develop or expand their billboard ad campaigns. Take a look at some of our benchmarks for success when it comes to building campaigns for our clients:
As we’ve highlighted, having an intimate working knowledge of billboard advertising opportunities on a national and regional basis is key. Many media buyers will simply spread your ad spend across the UK, using their regular agents to hit as many locations as possible, whether they’re useful for your brand or not.
At Media Buying, we take a boots-to-the-ground approach to locality analysis, route research, and billboard placement. As our client, we’ll determine the best traffic areas and locations for your advertisement, whether you’re looking for a single billboard placement, or you’re running a UK-wide campaign.
We collaborate closely with all our clients, and we want to hear your suggestions. For small businesses and providers of local services, we want to know where you want to see your ads. So, if you’ve seen a billboard you think would be great for your message, don’t hesitate to let us know.
Using an advertising agency like Media Buying is significantly more cost-effective than booking direct.
Our buying power results in a reduction in billboard advertising cost when compared to booking direct, and – unlike many similar agencies – Media Buying’s planning and strategy services are free of charge. Our compensation comes from the pockets of media publishers (billboard owners, etc.), meaning 100% of your ad spend goes on the purchase of billboards and other forms of OOH advertising.
What’s more, depending on the size of your campaign, we can extend support across all bookings free of charge, and lower production costs through our network of design, manufacturing, and installation specialists.
To get the most impact from billboard advertising, good creative is essential.
Yes, the canvas is huge, but the average length of time a user has to consume your message is tiny. Jamming more content into your billboard designs might seem like a good idea, but using fewer components in your sign artwork is often more effective at getting the main purpose of your message across.
The biggest mistake is to fill your huge canvas with lots of wording or information. Often it makes messages barely legible when consumed from far away. Instead, go for one clear, concise, high-impact message, combined with the right photography, typefaces and simple call-to-action (website or phone) that are easily memorable. For the ultimate acid test, view your creative on-screen from at least 12 feet away – this will give you a more accurate impression of the final result.
As a creative agency, Media Buying is fully equipped to solve these creative challenges. We handle billboard design and production on a regular basis, and our team have the creative skills and technical knowledge to ensure your assets are formatted correctly both for printing and public consumption.
Okay, let’s get down to brass tax: what will your advertising billboards cost?
Frustratingly, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost of outdoor advertising varies greatly across the UK, with publishers setting prices based on their location and the number of ‘opportunities to see’ (or, how many eyeballs will be seeing it). Typically, media owners base this metric on footfall (pedestrians or number of vehicles): the greater the number, the higher the price.
An obvious example, but for high-footfall areas in major cities like London, you would expect to pay significantly more than for billboards in a rural surrounding environment. The trick is to balance the outlay, with the opportunities to be seen, with the potential ROI – it’s a balancing act which an agency like Media Buying can greatly assist you with.
In very broad terms, billboard advertising costs are typically between £600 and £2400 (+VAT) per week, per advertising board, though for boards in iconic, unique locations you might pay much more. Large outdoor billboards usually require at least a 2-week commitment, based on the fitting demands.
With bulk buying and agency discounts, it’s possible to reduce these costs significantly, so get in touch today to work with our team on creating a budget.
The Media Buying team is here to handle all your business’ billboard marketing needs.
From location analysis and strategy development, to billboard design and artwork optimisation, to performance-tracking and reporting – our experts will create, implement and manage everything to promote your company message to the audiences that need to see them.
Whether you need a few local posters, to develop a UK campaign, or to get your business message out across the world, Media Buying is the marketing company for you.
Give us a call today to discuss how we can help.
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