Riding Alongside Traffic to Increase Traffic – The Power of Truck-side Ads

In the advertising world, technology has presented us a level of creativity in outdoor advertising that we wouldn’t have thought was possible in our wildest dreams. It’s no wonder why there are more types of Out-of-Home (OOH) media available now than ever before. When it comes to creativity and innovation, advertisers are only really limited by budget, imagination, and the technology available. Who would have thought in the past, that there would be a way to drive your ad around town and be able to know who, when, where, and how many people saw it! Combining traditional media with new technology is in itself an extraordinary innovation. Add to that the creative ideas that go into mobile billboards with the emergence of Digital OOH (DOOH) that bring a luminous touch to the streets with LED lights and screens, and the exposure is sure to sky-rocket. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), in 2018 there were 36.9 million trucks registered and used for business purposes, excluding government and farm trucks. Making room for plenty of opportunity for truck-side advertising. In this article, we will go into more depth on the advantages of truck-side ads with examples of brands who have reaped its benefits.

Recall Matters

One of the most unique features of truck-side ads is their ability to follow the consumer and present the ads at eye-level, giving it a higher probability that it’s message has been successfully received. How many static billboards can say the same? Not many. The reasoning behind it is simple, if the goal is to get more traffic, then what better medium than one that is by nature, prone to be stuck in traffic. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America calculates that each truck can generate 30,000 to 70,000 impressions per day. This comes as no surprise when considering that a truck-side ad is wrapped from both visible sides, can be spotted from a distance, and is moving forward at the same pace as the vehicles beside it. Viewers are being exposed to the ad for a considerable amount of time, allowing them to consume the message and easily recall it later. In fact, 97% of people can recall trucks and other mobile ads. Why is recall so important? When it comes to purchasing decisions, studies have shown that the brands consumers recognize are the ones they are more likely to purchase.

Creativity Goes a Long Way

While driving alongside consumers is already a great advantage, you can only imagine what an extremely creative and eye-catching truck-side ad can do! Being creative with your ad sends the message that your brand is unique and interesting, which ultimately aids in building brand loyalty and purchasing decisions. What makes truck-side ads really pop is their unmatched 3D feature that takes the design factor to a whole new level. In fact, 91% of the target audience noticed text and graphics on truck advertising. The dimensions of the truck give the ad more personality. When an ad has more personality, it makes it easier for people to form a personal connection with it, making it more engaging, impactful, and memorable.

One of Us

What a lot of people don’t realize is the extra benefit of having a truck with their brand name displayed across the large canvas implicating that it is one of theirs. Consumer perception is one of the most important factors to consider. The way consumers view your business could make all the difference. This is especially true since word-of-mouth is of great importance in the advertising and marketing world. When a truck-side ad passes by, there’s no telling whether it’s the company’s very own delivery truck or just an advertisement placed on the side. You may be wondering why this is something to consider. The truth is, human beings are prone to make split-second judgements and sometimes the smallest detail can affect the consumer’s perception of any brand. A successful business would most likely have a number of delivery trucks, thus giving the impression that the truck-side ad is indeed part of the enterprise. Additionally, a truck-side ad can also be a way to let consumers know that the product or service being advertised is available locally, which is always a plus for the brand’s reputation.

A lot of Space for a Lot Less

As competitive as the OOH industry might be, truck-side ads have the lowest large-format Cost Per Thousand (CPM) compared to any other medium, meaning at a low cost it delivers 1,000 impressions from individuals who see the ad. So as an advertiser, you want to benefit the most from your ad campaign. Ideally, you’d want larger-than-life billboards that cover multiple key locations to reach your target audience in as many locations as your budget allows for. Instead of investing in a costly static billboard, truck-side ads can travel through all the prime locations without the cost. Because of their mobile nature, your ad will always be on the move, gathering impressions along the way as it displays it’s 3-sided canvases. With the time, money, and space saved, advertisers can focus their efforts on the creative execution, which will truly set them apart.

Can’t be Blocked or Banned

One of OOH’s coolest features is that there is no blocking them or turning them off. Advertisements that run on cable television face the problem of paying for prime hours and also run the risk of being invasive and disruptive during a time when viewers are not willing to pay attention to ads and want to enjoy their favorite shows instead. Online ads are facing an even bigger obstacle, as they suffer from ad blockers. In 2021, around 27% of internet users are using ad blockers on their devices. This means that more than a quarter of paid advertising messages will never reach their audiences – an issue OOH advertisers don’t have to worry about. One huge advantage that only truck-side ads have, is that they can go where billboards are banned. Billboards are banned in Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont in order to preserve their scenic beauty and to promote their tourism. However, truck-side ads do not violate the prohibition, giving them an added value in these States.

Drive Sales at Point or Path of Purchase (POP)

Truck-side ads have the unique opportunity of being mobile, taking them across cities, neighborhoods, and pretty much anywhere. This distinctive feature allows them to meet consumers right outside store doors, directly impacting and influencing their decisions right before they purchase products. An OAAA study showed that a proximity store, the nearest to an OOH panel, can generate a 10.9% sales uplift, while the stores located in the same postal sector of the proximity store and the OOH panel saw a sales uplift of 11.3% – proving the importance of the recency effect on consumer decision making. To make things more interesting, some truck-side ad campaigns purposely circle around or even park outside of their competitors.

Budweiser's digital truck-side campaign targeting its competitors with personalized messages.

This was the case for Budweiser and Jim Beam who teamed up to celebrate the anniversary of the day the alcohol prohibition ended calling it, ‘Repeal Day’. The campaign consisted of a number of digital billboards addressed to some of their competitors including Sam Adams, Miller, Yuengling, and Heineken, and parked right outside of the breweries and offices. However, the campaign was all in good fun and was more of a friendly call to all alcoholic brands to celebrate together with personalized messages. For example, outside of Heineken’s headquarters, the ad read, “Dear Heineken, get your Heinie to the bar on December 5th. It’s Repeal Day. Cheers, Bud.” On the day of celebration, Budweiser sent the Budweiser Clydesdales throughout the city of New York, distributing beer to all. The campaign was a huge success and quite the bold move by Budweiser!

Targeting and Tracking Campaign Effectiveness

Truck-side ads have the advantage of displaying your message in front of thousands of people at any desired location or route. The beauty behind truck-side advertisements is that they are always on the move, capturing the attention of potential customers wherever they may be, unlike static advertisements. What really sets truck-side advertising apart, is the use of GPS tracking devices that pick up the Wi-Fi signals of those who have come in contact with the ad. Companies like Movia are highly specialized in this technology and have succeeded in creating numerous campaigns for brands by helping them form a strategic marketing plan in order to target specific demographics by assigning trucks to certain locations and tracking the campaigns results afterwards. What’s even more impressive, is the use of retargeting the same ad to those who have come in contact with it a number of times using platforms such as the weather app and social media. This is the amazing advantage of combining a some-what traditional concept with technology.

An example of one of Movia’s recent successful ad campaigns in Toronto and Calgary, using their beacon technology, was the launch of the two new TV shows, The Equalizer and Clarice with Corus Entertainment. The campaign was able to target audiences located in residential areas – where static billboards are nowhere to be found. Movia kept in mind that the targeted audience would be in these areas as they are more likely to be interested in new shows while they sit at home during lockdown. This brings attention to another advantage truck-side ads have over traditional media, the ability to target an area where the audience’s attention is not distracted by competitors. As a result, the campaign was successful in garnering 45 million impressions over the course of just 5 weeks.

The Digital Age

Digital truck-side ads have created a ton of new and exciting opportunities to reach consumers. Whether that means taking it up a notch in creativity, or using the digital technology to better target consumers, the end results are exceptional. It is an understatement to say that digital truck-side ads are successful in capturing the attention of bypassers. Not only can digital truck-side ads now provide you with 3D illusions, LED lights and screens, and glass trailers, but they are now digitally connected as well. Technological advancements has made it possible for advertisers to hone their efforts on specific locations depending on the traffic while also collecting and keeping track of important data about the consumers who roam the area around the ad.

RoadAds and Visionect created E-ink, with screens located on the back of trucks providing ads and road data.

A German interactive advertising company, RoadAds, in partnership with a Slovenian startup, Visionect, have created a live truck screen by the name of E-ink, located on the back of the truck to be best viewed by the vehicles behind it. The screen provides real-time location targeted ads, GPS-triggered information on any traffic jams ahead, and other details such as the distance to the next gas station or changes in road signalization. To help increase the effectiveness of the truck-side ads showcased, the content on the screen is determined by the truck’s location. The location-targeted messages are displayed in the language of the country the vehicle is passing through and adjusted to the appropriate target in real-time. I must say, pretty impressive!

The Bottom Line

The benefits of investing in truck-side advertising can only mean success for your company. Being amongst the most cost-efficient mediums, to hold such a high recall rate, high impression rate, and high engagement rate with no way of blocking or banning it, it sounds like a win from every aspect. The most interesting thing about truck-side ads is how they can impact even the dullest moments of our day, when we are sitting in traffic or walking to the local grocery shop. When creative and influential enough, they can excite us, entice us, or simply make us laugh. After all, it’s only logical that the only medium that gets stuck in traffic, is the one that can bring all that traffic your way.

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