With social media on the rise and digital marketing taking over, there are so many ways to advertise a brand and business today. Between internet and traditional advertising, it is no wonder companies struggle to figure out the best way to spend their advertising dollars. Outdoor advertising is an option that many people tend to look over, especially in this age of technology.

Outdoor advertising, also known as out-of-home advertising, is advertising that reaches consumers when they are outside their homes. This can be anything from billboards, street furniture and transit advertising to exterior signage and point of sale displays. Outdoor advertising remains a very common way for businesses to advertise to the public, but there are just as many disadvantages are there are advantages. Below, we look at both the pros and cons of using outdoor advertising for your brand or business.

Pros of Outdoor Advertising

It is cost-effective

Outdoor advertising is one of the most affordable forms of advertising in the industry. Advertising on a billboard, a bench or within a store can create customer impressions for a very low cost. Even in high exposure areas, outdoor advertising can still be cheaper than the cost of digital marketing. For a small business who is looking to advertise to a local community, outdoor advertising is a cost effective way to do it.

It has an immediate impact

If someone is currently in the market for what your business or brand is offering and they see your ad, it can create an immediate impact on them. The prospective customer who sees the outdoor advertisement, whether it be on a billboard or a transit bus, may decide to stop and contact your business via phone number, email or website located on the ad. Being sure your ad is placed in the right location is very important when it comes to outdoor advertising, especially if you want it to have an immediate first impression on the buyer, they must be in a location where they can clearly read the billboard and the contact information.

It encourages impulse buying

Outdoor advertising’s sole purpose is to trigger a prospective customer to buy what your business if offering because it is something they need. An ad is strategically placed in a way that is geared towards emotions and current physical state. Hotels advertise on billboards along highways because people feel tired after driving all night and are most likely looking for a place to stay. This form of advertising is used as a way to reinforce the positive aspects of brand messaging while creating a value promise that a person’s needs will be fulfilled.

Cons of Outdoor Advertising

You cannot guarantee success

You could place your outdoor ad, such as a billboard, on a busy highway, but still gain no traction from it. Just because you put up a billboard does not mean that people are going to want your product or need it. It is difficult to generate customer interest by just placing a billboard on the side of the highway, even if it is a high traffic area because it is not targeted at any specific audience. By using outdoor advertising there is no guarantee that your customer base will change even in the slightest

It is not targeted

As mentioned above, outdoor advertising is not targeted toward any specific audience. It is used to gain new customers through circumstance, rather than a planned marketing strategy. When using internet advertising, there is a target audience in mind. A business promotes their product to this target audience, knowing that the prospective customers will want the product through previous research. If a billboard is placed on a highway, thousands of people pass it every day, but it could just so happen that not one of those people driving by are in need of what the product being promoted.

It is difficult to remember contact information

Billboards, signs on transits and posters are all meant to be seen within the span of a few seconds. In this case, it makes it very difficult for someone to find the time, especially if they are in a car, to take down the contact information on the sign. This may create issues surrounding your customer base, as well as prove to be a waste of money. It is much easier for someone to see an ad placed on a social media platform, click on it and be automatically redirected to the company’s business. Outdoor advertising instead makes it so that prospective customers have to try and remember a phone number within a few moments.

The advantages and disadvantages of outdoor advertising prove that it can be a good marketing advantage if your company is smart about where the ad is placed, but with digital marketing on the rise, there are so many options that better target a specific customer base. It may be a good solution for some smaller business but not others, which is why it is important to consider all forms of advertising when developing your marketing strategy. Outdoor advertising should be considered as part of your overall marketing strategy, but perhaps not as a first priority and as supplemental marketing to other channels you are also advertising on. Remember, as a general rule, it takes a consumer eight different touchpoints with your brand before they are ready to purchase so a holistic marketing strategy incorporating various touchpoints and channels is more likely to result in conversion for your brand or product.

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