Billboards became irrelevant after covid 19? Think again!

Jermy Male was hit with a smile on his face during his walk from the Grand Central Terminal to the Chrysler Building, what he saw was ads, ads and ads everywhere its… 2021, but let’s get back to 2020 shall we?

It cannot be denied that the evil virus had a negative impact on most businesses, especially the ones who were retail dependent or at least business models that required people to go on out in the streets. In the year 2020 Jeremy Male is an executive in a branch of the advertising business, basically on this year billboards were hit to a near crises point in the spring.

Here is the thing OutFront Media is a company that sells billboards and other platforms in North America, which includes interior of subway cards and sides of buses, knowingly that they were selling spaces of more than half a million billboard. Jeremy Male is the chief executive of OutFront Media and the company was in depression due to the pandemic impact.

Wednesday an earning report, OutFront Media’s overall revenue for the second quarter of 2020, a lockdown across the United States for three months, results in drop of 50% compared by a year earlier.

The story is kinda similar for Clear channel Outdoor, which is an advertising company selling billboard spaces in 31 different countries. On Friday it states that the overall revenue had a drop close to a 55% within the same lockdown. Even worse for JCDecaus, another advertising firm selling more than a million promotional panels globally. The lockdown dropped their revenue by 66%.

Prior to the lockdowns out of home advertising was in a paradise of digital innovation, blooming brightly compared to many other segments of the industry. Yet the pandemic symptoms the plague of the billboards has hit high, and companies were sealing their marketing budgets just to hide their losses.

But hey, Jermy Male was hit by the enormous number of ads everywhere in 2021 so what happened?

By the time the lockdown was off, the market has obviously shifted, but here is the thing, billboards were the big guy’s play, meaning it was the boss move of the big bosses up in the hierarchy, rarely did SMEs invest in billboards, marketing via social media were much cheaper or atheist TV where it’s a one big time payment rather than a consistent number of investments that pay itself back long term.

However now, billboards are everywhere for any SME to go for, but hey isn’t that cheap billboard not going to pay anything back anyway? People aren’t going out right?

Not exactly, loads of business converted from billboards to social media, and a study conducted by The Harris Insights & Analytics, A Stagwell company in February 10, 2021 People were affected and introduced by businesses, services and products much more than digital ads due to the flooding of ads into their daily life, their subconsciousness were driven to treat all digital ads as irrelevant just as the human subconsciousness treats bird or whether sounds as background as irrelevant in relation to attentiveness.

45% of the U.S. adults now comment that they notice out of home advertising more than before Covid-19, specifically the 18-54 age area. Q1 to Q2 2021 jumps were made all over Taxes. Houston got 184%, Austin 135%, Dallas-Fort Worth 105% and San Antonio 37%, according to Adquick. literally advertisers are demanding spaces in the ad space within the most competitive market in the states.

Its obvious when the digital world have hundreds of ads popping up in front of each individual’s eyes, individuals wont bother anymore, and their brains will find it much more appealing to checkout this billboard in-between the few while taking their walk or driving their car.

Logically speaking, it was just a matter of time, in fact smart retail investors saw billboards ownership as a big investment in 2020, everyone is afraid, running away from the bad ineffective billboards, due to the knowledge of people are not coming out on the short-term. However, it was inevitable for humans to go back to hitting the streets.

But hey its not too late! You still have a chance; billboards might have had their fall and raise but the raise did not come back to its initial levels pre 2020 impact yet. Which means there is still a place for you to invest and gain.

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How to pick which billboard to invest in?

Starting this topic, you should acknowledge the fact that billboards is very similar to the retail industry if not exactly the same. In the end of the day, it’s an asset consisting of a demanded space on our beautiful blue planet, yet this space has traffic and demand.

Knowing this you can attain the knowledge that it is one of the safest investments that is going to inevitable attain profit, but as much as it sounds nice to make inevitable profit, this profit ranges in speed, some billboards are going to breakeven and provide profit faster than others, whilst some may end up break evening in a very long time.

Location and traffic are obvious reasons, but its not as simple either, if a billboard has big traffic on a highway for example, such billboard is going to usually cost as much as it rents in a few years, thus the con-current income of a billboard is correlated to its selling price, exactly like an administrative retail asset.

Thus, picking off billboards is also similar to trading in company shares, you have to have an estimation for its future possible income, and these estimations will vary in accordance to the increase in traffic through time.

For instance, loads of billboard owners started selling their billboards in discounts within 2020 due to the covid 19 issue, where demand on streets were non-existent. Some investors saw this as an insane opportunity hence the traffic is inevitably going to go the way it is, it was like a bet that humanity is going to beat the virus either now or later. Which did happen!

But such the previously mentioned example in relation to covid 19, its simply a macro economical problem where the risk is unsystematic and global based. Billboards are usually within the micro economical movements where a street may have a mall attracting traffic, and just the knowledge that this mall is doing good ROI (Return on Investment) or not can give you an idea if this area is going to keep up the good traffic or increase or even decrease.

A governmental movement of subsidizing an area, maybe even building a compound may also create new traffic in areas that had no traffic, buying billboards in such areas in early stages may be extremely cheap in comparison, which allows for small entry rather than the big barrier of entry, with an assured ROI for the billboard over short term with good ratios.

New buildings are vital, as traffic isn’t the only indicator for a billboard to return ROI, billboards’ customers are companies who are advertising their services or goods right? Thus, if it’s not providing them effective marketing its rental value will drop. Meaning if a building is being built and this building suddenly over 2 years blocks the view of this billboard, it will definitely affect the billboard’s rental value and overall price.

If you are a big whale of an investor, going for the very expensive billboard may offer you an inevitable ROI, such as buying a huge billboard in wallstreet, yes it costs millions of dollars, but it rents well and it will keep going up in value unless a meteorite hits it or the world floods, by then your problems will be on a much higher scale than your billboard not returning your investment breakeven.

However the type of billboard is also important, as some billboards may be cheap initially yet display a single ad where the cost of changing the display exists in comparison to a digital billboard that costs nothing to change its display yet costs initially a lot more, click here to check out our article in relation to the type of billboards so you can know which one suits your budget and situation.

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Who created the billboards advertising?

Believe it or not, a billboard is prestige, it may occur to you that billboards were on steroids via PT Barnum, but did you know it was Ancient Egyptians? They might not have been the first culture, but a billboard was a show of control and prestige, basically a hey we own this place move.

They even used it for propaganda aims, showing off hieroglyphics that showed the control of Egyptian rulers, it would make sense why big companies like Coca-Cola can spread $4.24 billion dollars in 2019 and 20 billion last 5 years by August 2021 on advertising.

You obviously know that advertising is awareness but what it may have escaped the mind is that awareness is existence, it’s a shout of “I ‘M HERE”.

Well, the historical path that transformed billboards from a supreme ancient force to the capitalistic world would require a skip to the year 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introducing a moving type printing press to capitalism, resulting in flyers production, handbills posters and much more.

Jumping to the year 1790, Alois Senefelder made images apparent to the common passing audience via metal plates and flag stones through adherence. This method was possible due to a specific object they were to be called the lithograph then. A copying machine which did not just copy, yet have colors, resulting into exponential art work growth.

This innovation was extremely important to the market, hence exponential growth existed due to the limited amount of time of artists to manually re-produce colored objects, whilst non-color objects were psychologically less impactful on the customers or in this case audience. Not just that, the cost requirement was non-existent compared to other methods, just draw one design, copy it, post it everywhere! Facebook, is that you?

You could say today’s technology is very similar, where posting anything on social media is free, or even having a website being cheap. But no matter what, a big business will always have their billboards somewhere on a highroad showing who is the boss.

Alright America the home of capitalism, right? The first actual billboard being invented there by Jared Bell in the year 1830. He advertised a circus using a billboard, being filled with colors and designs. Other businesses followed the benefits of this advertising medium, which mostly were large posters showing off features and promotions for the shows to come.

Outdoor advertising became a mess, there had to be laws and rules, because who didn’t want their product or service to be posted everywhere? Is it okay to go and post my brand T-shirt on every tree over the street? Property had to be defined, in which businesses became required by law to either own or lease the area and structure where their ads or posts are to be.

In the year 1860 there was immense change, a business is able to legally purchase outdoor space, and by just months advertisers began a creative reformation experiment of billboards. An unburned record alive today has a recorded leasing happening in 1867 for a billboard.

Billboards might have been for the strong and controlling or the prestigious rich most of the history, however by the 19th century it was a voice for the crowd. An education committee was made, which pushed members to donate community service advertising. The messages from the public have been continuing up until the date of this article’s writing, and hopefully beyond! In the UK, public services had billboards that contained NHS and Public Health in London’s billboards within the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Today most of the cities are covered in billboards, technology pushed transportation excessively, thus billboards had to be everywhere a car is passing by, and hence we are talking streets, streets are everywhere.

66% of the out of home are billboards

Believe it or not, a billboard is prestige, it may occur to you that billboards were on steroids via PT Barnum, but did you know it was Ancient Egyptians? They might not have been the first culture, but a billboard was a show of control and prestige, basically a hey we own this place move.

They even used it for propaganda aims, showing off hieroglyphics that showed the control of Egyptian rulers, it would make sense why big companies like Coca-Cola can spread $4.24 billion dollars in 2019 and 20 billion last 5 years by August 2021 on advertising.

You obviously know that advertising is awareness but what it may have escaped the mind is that awareness is existence, it’s a shout of “I ‘M HERE”.

Well, the historical path that transformed billboards from a supreme ancient force to the capitalistic world would require a skip to the year 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introducing a moving type printing press to capitalism, resulting in flyers production, handbills posters and much more.

Jumping to the year 1790, Alois Senefelder made images apparent to the common passing audience via metal plates and flag stones through adherence. This method was possible due to a specific object they were to be called the lithograph then. A copying machine which did not just copy, yet have colors, resulting into exponential art work growth.

This innovation was extremely important to the market, hence exponential growth existed due to the limited amount of time of artists to manually re-produce colored objects, whilst non-color objects were psychologically less impactful on the customers or in this case audience. Not just that, the cost requirement was non-existent compared to other methods, just draw one design, copy it, post it everywhere! Facebook, is that you?

You could say today’s technology is very similar, where posting anything on social media is free, or even having a website being cheap. But no matter what, a big business will always have their billboards somewhere on a highroad showing who is the boss.

Alright America the home of capitalism, right? The first actual billboard being invented there by Jared Bell in the year 1830. He advertised a circus using a billboard, being filled with colors and designs. Other businesses followed the benefits of this advertising medium, which mostly were large posters showing off features and promotions for the shows to come.

Outdoor advertising became a mess, there had to be laws and rules, because who didn’t want their product or service to be posted everywhere? Is it okay to go and post my brand T-shirt on every tree over the street? Property had to be defined, in which businesses became required by law to either own or lease the area and structure where their ads or posts are to be.

In the year 1860 there was immense change, a business is able to legally purchase outdoor space, and by just months advertisers began a creative reformation experiment of billboards. An unburned record alive today has a recorded leasing happening in 1867 for a billboard.

Billboards might have been for the strong and controlling or the prestigious rich most of the history, however by the 19th century it was a voice for the crowd. An education committee was made, which pushed members to donate community service advertising. The messages from the public have been continuing up until the date of this article’s writing, and hopefully beyond! In the UK, public services had billboards that contained NHS and Public Health in London’s billboards within the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Today most of the cities are covered in billboards, technology pushed transportation excessively, thus billboards had to be everywhere a car is passing by, and hence we are talking streets, streets are everywhere.

66% of the out of home are billboards, the industry evolved immensely with creative and competitive eye grabbing ways to catch the customer and advertise awareness and existence globally.

the industry evolved immensely with creative and competitive eye grabbing ways to catch the customer and advertise awareness and existence globally.

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Different types of outdoor advertising and their pros & cons!

Once upon a time our fathers and grand fathers had their news in a big chunk of paper containing loads of categories and each paper were focused on a category, now a simple notification notifies us that there is very specific news on our phones in a moments time.

Ads are no different, its not just a billboard anymore it can be a screen showing off multiple ads making it extremely efficient rather than owning 3 different outdoor advertising, you can just have 1 billboard with a screen setup showing off 3 different ads for your brand. Not just that it shows off that your brand is smart and up to date too!

The difference in limitations is only capped by the marketing imagination and the acknowledgment of the methods available in the market. Of course, it’s also capped by the marketing budget but this is why you are here… in this blog you will know the types of OOHM which is out of home media and their pros and cons in order to decide the most suitable choice according to your budget and requirements.

Did you know that outdoor advertising affects the subconscious mind? If interested you can click here to check it out What Are the Benefits of Outdoor Advertising?

  1. Billboards:

Types of billboards:

Static, Mobile and Digital.

Static is the one you are very familiar about, the normal ones on the road sometimes as big as a 6-story building telling the consumer that you are one of the big bosses in the business field.

  • Static Billboards Pros:
    • High business Prestige
    • Market trust
    • Assured consistent marketing traffic
    • Very low maintenance
  • Static Billboards Cons:
    • High cost
    • Setup costs a bit, changing it will cost nearly if not exactly the same.

Whilst mobile billboards are the ones that are obviously mobile, you can see them being transported or moved on a vehicle, very important when the brand wants to build awareness in multiple areas, knowingly that these areas will have the traffic and market segment required whilst still on a budget.

In fact, Mobile billboards are actually very efficient if had proper use, might as well provide better value than the big chunky billboards, but no matter what does not substitute the prestige nor consistent marketing effectiveness given to a brand by billboards.

  • Mobile Billboards Pros:
    • Much less expensive than Static due to easy access to vehicle and billboard ownership.
    • Can move to multiple locations (i.e., multiple opening of branches but on different dates – high traffic in specific days in different areas)
    • Assured consistent marketing traffic in the area if left in place for a considerable period.
    • More catchy than Static (if the vehicle looked good enough which can be expensive)
  • Mobile Billboards Cons:
    • Much lower business prestige than Static Billboard.
    • Is not as consistent in marketing effectiveness if not left in the same place for long periods.
    • High maintenance due to vehicle, and parking areas required. (You can’t leave a vehicle with a sign in random places in Egypt, can you?)

Finally, and the most advanced of them is the digital billboards, these might cost you a bit more than the normal setup of a billboard, yet the cost is nothing compared to owning a changeable billboard in a costless way, in addition to the fact that it provides an animated ad which provides a few extra advantages with a bit more initial cost.

  • Digital Billboards Pros:
    • Very High business Prestige
    • Higher market trust than static
    • Assured consistent marketing traffic
    • Very eye catchy due to rarity especially in Egypt.
    • Animated ad is possible.
    • Setup allows for costless ad editing/changing.
    • Low maintenance (You might think a screen would require more maintenance, but no street screens are built to withstand street environment much more than you can imagine.)
  • Digital Billboards Cons:
    • High initial cost
    • Screen setup costs more than the normal static setup, but much more ROI long-term due to costless edits.
  • Retail advertising

One of the most forms of OOHM providing the business with its beloved ROI and marketing cost effectiveness is retail advertising. As obvious as the name, retail advertising is just billboards inside big malls, shopping stores etc…

These are extremely cost effective as long as the ad is for example set in an area within a clothes shopping area, whilst the ad it self is marketing a competitive or related product, such as clothes it self or perfumes for example. In addition to its benefits of actually attracting the consumers from a certain place in the mall that may be near to a competitor to your store/outlet, via an appealing discount or such, in fact its main use is if your business had a retail area close to the ad.

However, everything comes with a price, these ads may cost much more than their size, due to excessive demand on these types of ads and their good ROI, their renting price might be higher than a 2-story street billboard depending on the location and mall it’s at.

  • Retail advertising pros:
    • Very high traffic/ROI/Marketing cost effectiveness
    • Can hunt consumers from competitors
  • Retail advertising Cons:
    • Very high cost
    • Limited options in ad design and data as it has to be simple (i.e., 50% discount on x) or similar due to very crowded area with too many details and other ads and stores, always focus on making your ad as eye catchy and simple as possible.

Types of retail advertising

Retail advertising takes many forms, and can be applied on many scales, making it a viable option for businesses of all sizes and budgets. Some of the most effective and prominent types of retail advertising include:

Lift graphics: These are printed to vinyl and adhered to the surface of lift doors, allowing for creative and memorable two-part visual designs

Floor graphics: Floor graphics are adhered to the floor of a retail environment, allowing marketers to creatively provide an immersive advertising environment;

Mall media: Refers to media including floor and roof graphics, window films and banners, used for retail advertisements in a large shopping mall space.

There are types for retail advertising, they are not worthy to have their own pros and cons as they all share the same pros and cons, yet vary in creative methodologies.

The types are Lift graphics, floor graphics and Mall media, Lift graphics provide out of the box two-part visual designs via being printed into vinyl and adhered into lift doors.

Whilst the floor graphics as per the name is a design that can be found on floors in order to provide an immersive experience via creative designs. Finally, Mall media is media that can be found on banners, window films, floor graphics and roof graphics, basically your typical ad in a mall.

  • Vehicle advertising

Vehicle advertising is very similar in mobile billboards in a way, as such its obviously mobile, however it doesn’t just sit around, you could have a prestigious eye catchy vehicle with cool printed graphics as an ad for your branding, which will add prestige whilst making it easy to spot between all the crowdedness.

Even then it does sit down, you could use just for prestige next to the retail itself as well, or sit around an area known to have traffic for certain periods, but all that is considering your business owns or rents a car.

One of the cheaper and most cost-effective approaches is to just put your add graphic on a bus, taxi or a bus moving in certain areas, especially buses or even trains. This way you are not renting the whole vehicle yet just a small rental for the ad to be on it. In fact, this can be very successful if this ad were to be done on a vehicle that is going to move in a certain route, thus acting similar to a billboard yet in multiple known areas in a consistent way for a tiny price in comparison, thus increasing brand awareness, in addition to it being costless aside from the designs itself, if used on company’s vehicles if the company owns vehicles such as Coca-Cola trucks.

it definitely has a very high rate of increasing brand awareness in a certain area in short periods of time for a small amount of cost, check out a billboard price and divide that on how many busses you can rent for such a procedure, the result will end up with your brand’s awareness being extremely high in a certain area.

However of course, it does not provide the same level of prestige, not even close! Brands on buses do not show very high strength of a brand as a billboard can.

  • Retail advertising pros:
    • Cheap cost with high ROI (if transportation routes were to be used)
    • Brand awareness on steroids for certain areas (if transportation routes were to be used)
    • Very cheap (if transportation routes were to be used)
    • Can provide high prestige (if luxury branded vehicle were to be owned or rented)
    • Can be both static and mobile (if vehicle were to be owned or rented)
  • Retail advertising Cons:
    • Mildly expensive (If owned luxury vehicle)
    • Low prestige (If transportation routes were to be used)

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What Are the Benefits of Outdoor Advertising?

Advertising has loads of types and methodologies and their differences in relation to their usage varies in comparison to the needs of the advertise being made. However, one cannot avoid the immense impact that occurs due to subconscious advertising.

And here comes a question of what is subconscious advertising?

Any one could argue that they rarely look at billboards or large and big constructed structures filled with advertised products and services, anyone could simply acknowledge the fact that most of us are actively thinking about the problems in our life or even the joys while driving our cars.

But here is the thing, mostly everyone driving a car can say how much they are actively thinking about something that isn’t an advertise on the road, but they all can admit to them not actively thinking about driving too.

Let’s do an experiment, what happens if you ask your friend whilst driving a car what they are thinking? It would be impossible for them to acknowledge that they are driving a car, and if you point that out their answer would fall around the area of you being Mr. obvious.

But guess what? Your ad is required to be Mr. obvious, our minds function in a way where the mind would throw away the commonalties to the subconsciousness such as breathing, here you go you just realized that you are breathing by simply reading about it.

Outdoor advertising is one of the ways advertising hits people’s subconsciousness as being simply there. No one talks about Coca-Cola but mostly we are all aware of its existence, but obviously such a brand has been using most of all the advertising methods.

And as such Outdoor advertising has loads of types click here if you want to check them out.

What are the Different Types of Outdoor Advertising?

Outdoor Advertising is too expensive!

Maybe, if we are talking 2019, however its 2021 and the waves of our unfriendly disease has passed but the pricing of outdoor advertising didn’t, as it fill down the hill due to people not visiting anything but their kitchen at night, businesses has been turning to digital marketing in bulks, and this is an opportunity for small businesses hence the fact that outdoor advertising especially billboards were made for a business that had the marketing capital for such a methodology.

It is definitely an opportunity because now as a small business there isn’t this large barrier of entry anymore.

Digital marketing is much cheaper!

It is absolutely true that digital marketing is cheaper than a billboard, not just that, it can even be more efficient, but there is a catch. Digital marketing requires loads of procedures whilst it cannot offer 1 little thing that differentiates brand identities from each other.

Let’s take Facebook for example, in order to have a functional Facebook page, it is required to have a team managing it which can consist of a bunch of moderators, some content creators, and at least an ad buyer in addition to lots of design, thus a designer.

Which means there is consistent salaries to pay in addition to the fact that the team has to have a really accurate direction especially that the ad buyer has to be really professional to provide actual reach that returns in sales and not just big numbers with no sales whatsoever.

This means in order to launch a digital marketing campaign for the sake of awareness it will require having a department for it specifically, which means an HR nightmare and loads of management in order to maximize efficiency, whilst adding the demand of these employees in this business sector, increases turnover rates leading to damages to your Facebook page until employing the missing employee(s).

But then again, isn’t a billboard simply put expensive?

Not all billboards are expensive, it depends on location, click here and you might end up saving loads of money. What do you think is a good location for an outdoor advertising?

As for it being expensive, remember the last ad you saw on YouTube or Facebook? What did you do to it? Let me guess SKIP!

This is how most people deal with ads, not to mention ad blocker users who if you simply google their population, results will say that by 2021 they have reached 42.7% of all internet users globally, but you can’t block a billboard can you?

Here is the catch, digital marketing requires loads of knowhow, being extremely up to date and hunting the right customers in the right places.

However, a billboard is simply there on a highroad where there is guaranteed traffic.

Simply put digital marketing is similar to an investment it can win you a lot whilst it can fail in terms of marketing cost effectiveness thus being risky. Whilst billboards are like real-estate, you simply are guaranteed advertising effectiveness, it can’t be blocked and the traffic is assured.

But what is the 1 little thing that differentiates brand identities from each other in correlation to digital marketing and having billboards?

As easy as it sounds, its luxury.

Remember the skip button you clicked on the last ad? It has more meanings than you can imagine. People tend to treat digital marketing as something inexpensive and easily attained. The thought is simply that it’s impossible for a small brand to have a billboard lying around, and what does luxury provide your brand identity? Trust!

Trust is the one thing a brand cannot fail at; your brand’s reputation is always a priority as it correlates with profits. And as clear as it is, billboards build clarity towards your brand’s reputation, a clarity that says I’m a brand that exists, I’m a reputable big business within the cake of the business industry.

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