How Does Billboard Advertising Work?

Billboards have been around for a long time, and they will be around for even longer. Outdoor advertising is timeless because it costs the viewer nothing to take in. However, this is only true if time and consideration are put into the surroundings of the advertisement and the audience receiving the messages are always factored in, based on location. Meanwhile, other forms of advertisements, such as commercials, impede on a viewer’s experience of content that they are trying to access, which ultimately sacrifices their time. This post will highlight the reasons why billboard advertising works for consumers and how it stands out among other channels. 


Outdoor advertising has the power to capture audience attention; it's the main attraction

Outdoor advertising can be seen as beautifying a space, while informing their audiences. They can also be seen, negatively, as visual pollution to an already wonderful environment. To prevent the latter, planning should encapsulate a variety of factors such as location and the target audience. Just as there is a method to make an indoor space appear larger than it is, there is a way to include billboards in a landscape so that they don’t feel like clutter or visual pollution. It’s important for an outdoor billboard to look seamless, yet important. 

Getting the Attention of Your Consumers

Informing your audience is an intuitive way to get their attention so that they feel that they have learned something valuable, and will therefore be led to more knowledge about your product and service. In this day and age, less is more. Too much information is unnecessary as everyone has access to a wealth of knowledge on the internet. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that there is enough information for the viewer to understand what your brand represents and provides so that they can look it up later on.

Bright and bold colours, along with strong copy headlines, work well on billboards and give audience just enough for them to make choices about the advertisement. Too much revealed on a billboard only leads to confusion. 

There are a number of factors that may cause your billboard to feel like a hindrance to viewers, and just as many alternatives to make them excited to see your display. Billboards can be viewed as a hindrance because they have an intent to sell something to the viewers however, executed correctly and in proper fashion, the capitalist component of billboards disappears. Billboard ads should beautify our city.


Transit billboard ads should work to improve the substance of a commuter, and give them something impactful to look at
Making an Impression

Bold and visually appealing graphics are an important aspect of outdoor advertising which are emphasized by the sheer size of a billboard. But, technology is evolving and an ordinary billboard is no longer as interesting as it was thirty years ago. Location is an essential element of outdoor advertising because it will determine the likelihood of someone so much as looking at the billboard.

For example, someone who listens to music on public transit will be attracted to anything interesting. The job of a billboard, in this case, is to grab the attention of this possible consumer and get its message across in the brief moment it takes for the passenger to notice the sign. It should only take a few seconds. In order to leave a lasting impression, the verbiage on the billboard should be minimally interesting and able to stand out amongst others.

Being memorable and concise is an obvious answer as to getting people interested, but what does it mean? Another way to stimulate interest in a viewer is to use technology to its full potential. Using animation, 3D design or an interactive interface to capture attention is a great way to generate interest. It will get viewers to share the advertisement and allow it to spread far beyond people experiencing it first hand. Social media will take a role in your advertising campaign and will gain traction as it grows.


An older Apple billboard got it right with vibrant, bold colours and a sleek image that brings audience attention inwards

From Billboard to Social

A billboard is not only meant to draw a consumer in, but also for the consumer to take the appropriate action afterwards. That’s how social media plays a role in billboard advertising. A study by CBS Outdoor International of 6 European countries found that consumers are more likely to purchase a product online, shoot a “Like” for a brand on Facebook, or give an app a try after seeing an outdoor ad compared to other advertising channels. Integrating social media into a billboard can be done using these platforms: 

1. Digital Billboards- you can post photos from your brand’s Instagram page, submit user content, and showcase YouTube ads in this way; it can be changed whenever you best see fit

2. Wallscapes- a good idea for longer promotions; great for exhibiting a Twitter hashtag and call-to-action

3. Bus Shelters or Park Benches- the user can interact with them at a closer level; Bluetooth communication can make data exchange easier in these realms; a QR code can be snapped from a camera on a user’s mobile device leading them to a company’s social media site 

Whatever the method may be, it’s important to consider linking social media content to an outdoor billboard. 

Advertising as an Art

Creative outdoor advertising is often overlooked as an art form although it should be viewed similarly to statues found around downtown Toronto. Consumers should be seeing your billboard and want to share it with others. Major cities worldwide are growing and shaping how they are viewed from the outside by capitalizing on their artistic communities and talents. 

Billboards play a huge role in beautifying the city and, as effortless as they may seem, it takes an immense amount of time to incorporate them so they blend seamlessly with their surroundings while staying true to their intentions. The best way to make sure that your advertising is noticed is to make sure that you’re inventive about how you present your brand to the public.

For inventive examples of outdoor advertising, check out the ways brands are performing in a space near you. 


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