Mobile Billboard Advertising – Yay or Nay?

Written By: Sonia Kaila & Maya S

Do you remember the last time you were in an interview and the hiring manager asked: tell me about your weaknesses? And you in your head are thinking [ah hmm], well there is no way I am going to highlight my real ones, and then you regurgitate the answer you grabbed from some online article the night before, to impress the interviewer. Boom! You nailed it – welcome to the team. 

We all know that no matter how amazing we think we are; we all have some weaknesses that might put us at a disadvantage, but they are a part of us, and we cannot deny them. Our dear friend, mobile billboard advertising, is not any different. It is one of the best ways to target your audience, it’s cost-effective, and much more, but there are some cons attached to it. Grab a drink and have a seat because we are about to enumerate some of the pros and cons of mobile billboard advertising. 

What Are Mobile Billboards?

Before we can dive into the pros and cons, we should start with the basics of what exactly these mobile billboards are. Mobile billboards are out-of-home advertisements that move every which way because they’re displayed on vehicles of any kind. Often referred to as a form of guerrilla marketing, mobile billboard advertising uses vinyl posters or electronic screens to present advertising to consumers along directed routes of traffic. Sometimes positioned outside of major events or at busy intersections, mobile billboards alert people of products or services that best fit the vibe of the location they’re in. Many mobile billboards are equipped with retargeting technologies to optimize maximum value and exposure for the client and their business. 

All the “good” things about Mobile Billboard Advertising

There are many pros that come with using mobile billboards to advertise your business. Here are a few key points to consider; 

1.    Take your message to the Target Audience.

OOH can also have a much larger reach than other advertising media, especially when placed in busy areas, such as highways. Their ability to target an audience wherever they are allowing you to reach audiences in places where they live, work, or play. Mobile billboard advertising is an effective way to reach a broader audience. This method can also be cost-effective when properly planned out and implemented. Digital mobile billboards are among the most effective advertising methods and can reach a large audience quite quickly.

2.    Your ad is more likely to be shared with others.

The unique and eye-catching ad design on a mobile billboard makes it easy to reach many people. The size, color, and shape all help the message to be remembered by those who see it on the road and have the potential to be shared. A mobile billboard can reach a large number of people and provide a powerful message for your brand. Its size and location make it an effective out-of-home advertising platform, since they’re easy to spot. If your ad is something extremely creative, such as a 3D billboard or a detailed graphic, then it is possible that people would tell others or share photos. This would then bring more awareness to your brand and product. 

3.    Specific demographic groups can be targeted.

Thanks to geo-location technologies, location-based advertisements can be distributed from national or international brands to share messages and ads with your demographic group. Mobile billboards are an effective way to reach the right audience. A large audience can be reached in a short period of time. This would be a great way to advertise your business since it helps reach your target audience. Many times, the relation between reaching your audience and number of sales or ROI (return on investment) can improve due to mobile billboard ads. In other words, the more exposure you get, the more you can earn from your mobile billboard ads. There is a range of mobile billboard options available to suit your needs so it would be possible to reach just about any audience needed. The reach of a mobile billboard is increased when merged with smartphone campaigns, sometimes being up to 316% higher than what a static billboard could potentially bring you. Additionally, mobile billboards are a great way to reach consumers in high-traffic areas, especially during times of relentless traffic, like rush hour to and from work. 

4.    Brands and businesses can create experiences.

There is a certain experience involved with seeing a mobile billboard that is detailed and unique. The more out of the box and interactive billboards allow consumers to have the experience of seeing your product and/or brand, sometimes for the first time, and provides them with the initial experience of what your business is all about. Additionally, the bigger the mobile billboard, the greater the chance of it being seen. Moving billboards will capture the attention of viewers and increase brand recall. There is also the aspect of brand recognition. Since most people typically frequent the same outdoor places or routes, they are more likely to see your brand or product ad repeatedly whenever they visit or travel. Eventually, they would begin to associate the area with your brand.

5.    High Returns and Immediacy – the ROI can often be worth the cost!

A mobile billboard advertising campaign can quite often be very effective. The average cost of distributing the mobile billboard to highways or roads, for example, can cost upwards of $15,000 per month. This would be an excellent option for larger businesses. If you happen to have a larger budget, you can send your billboard on a bus or a public road to reach even more customers. This method of advertising can see higher returns depending on what you choose when creating your campaign. As per the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, OOH campaigns cost about $3.38 to $8.65 CPM (cost per thousand), in comparison to online advertising’s $17.50 CPM. This type of advertising can also be great for those start-ups who have the budget, since these individuals often have difficulty piercing existing markets with their own brand or product since people wouldn’t be aware of them.

6.    Market diversity.

There is a lot of possibility to diversify your audience with OOH ads. This is because they have the ability to introduce your product or service to a large and diverse market that is composed of both middle- and upper-class consumers from various different backgrounds. With OOH ads, you are reaching a much wider audience.

If you want to reach your target audience, as well as broaden your audience, consider using a mobile billboard. Not only will they add diversity and awareness to your audience, but they will also allow you to run graphically exciting ads that your audience can remember. Especially considering the new audiences it could bring in, some of whom can become lifelong customers. This can be a great way to get your brand’s message out to the people and help you grow your sales

All the “not so good” things about Mobile Billboard Advertising

Along with the many pros, come some cons as well. Here are a few key points to consider when debating on using this marketing method;

1.    Not affordable for all.

There is potential for mobile billboards to have high costs for some, especially small businesses or start-ups. There are sometimes opportunities for this to be more affordable if you opt to share a billboard with other companies, perhaps having one side per company. However, if opting for an entirely solo truck ad, the expenses for this form of mobile billboard can be high. It is important to remember that even though it is more affordable, including your ad on a mobile billboard that is shared or even a digital mobile billboard that has numerous ads being shown throughout the day means that your ad might not be as noticeable as you would like. You also might need to sign a long-term contract for a specific location if that area is particular to your demographic. Additionally, the costs related to design and production are not small and can run upwards of $15,000, which understandably is not the most affordable. For start-ups or smaller businesses, this may be a large cost to endure. 

2.    They have the potential to be ignored!

Not everyone pays attention to what is written on the side of a truck, especially if it is a simple graphic or design. Of course, this aspect brings up the cost and not everyone can afford an extremely detailed design on the truck. However, even the most thought out and advanced truck design can be ignored! There could be something more exciting happening on the road, someone could be occupied with conversation or they could just simply not care to look and process the ad. There is also the idea of “ad blindness,” where consumers may become so blind and indifferent to an ad that they see constantly in an area or on a route that they frequent, and this can ultimately render your campaign ineffective over time. Additionally, they can have a limited focus, causing you to have limited control of who sees your ads, which means that you may have a harder time connecting with niche audiences.

3.    Some may think they are distracting.

For those who do notice the ads, they may think it is distracting. People turning or dividing their attention to or between your ad and the road could prove to be distracting and bordering unsafe, when the truck ad is on the road. This especially applies to those ads that are very detailed, digital or product replicas. Specifically, with regards to the brightness of digital mobile billboards, they can be a distraction or annoyance to other drivers due to how bright the screens are, which of course would not be your intention. There could also be the problem of consumer contempt. If passersby were to consider your ad as visual pollution in their community or area, then they may automatically apply these same feelings to your product or service.

4.    These ads might not always deliver on ROI.

While the results of mobile billboards can outweigh the costs, it’s not a certainty that they will. This is why you should make sure that a mobile billboard fits into your budget and brand before you decide to purchase one. It’s possible that after considering your budget or even your demographic, a mobile ad may just not be for you.

5.    Difficult to Evaluate.

Unless you are strictly marketing your business through OOH advertising, you could have trouble quantifying its precise impact on sales. When you’re mixing in other marketing methods, you may not always be able to differentiate what sales may have come from method 1 and what came from method 2 to evaluate what options bring in more revenue. This can prove to be problematic when evaluating what marketing methods are successful and should be kept. 

Although these cons may not be applicable to every business, it is important to consider how they may affect you, especially smaller scale businesses. Ranging from audience-based shortcomings to business related concerns, considering each one allows you to be able to think about whether or not it is the right choice for your brand or product. Regardless of how successful other companies have been, it’s essential to think about if this is really the marketing method for you. 

Confused, Contemplating or Crystal Clear?

There are pros and cons attached to every opportunity but what’s more important is you focus on how mobile billboard advertising can prove profitable and cost-effective for your business. As long as there is a plan in place for the potential negatives that may occur, mobile billboard advertising is generally a positive experience which still allows for a surprising level of growth.

Now that you know the good and pretty good of mobile billboard advertising, it is up to you to decide whether it’s something you want for your business and how beneficial it will prove for your brand. In case we missed something, and you would like to have a chat with us – then don’t worry about yay or nay! Just give us a call and say, hey! I would like to know more. It’s that simple. 

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