Did you know that every day, your brain is bombarded with an astounding 4,000 to 10,000 ads? That’s right! If you go outdoors frequently, a large portion of the ads you see is billboards. Billboards come in different shapes and sizes and occupy massive screens on different sides of the motorway.
The primary purpose of billboards is to create awareness about a product, service, or topic. Billboards are meant to be striking and imaginative yet simple.
Most companies’ creative departments still view billboard ads as an excellent way to create impactful and revolutionary ads. In this article, we’ll explore the purpose of billboards as well as their history and evolution over the decades.
History and Evolution of Billboards
The first billboards go back to the Ancient Egyptians when they used them for promotional purposes. However, the first traditional billboard was made by Jared Bell in the United States. He wanted to advertise a circus and created big and colorful signs in 1835.
The signs had colorful pictures and were used for circus events to grab the attention of passersby.
Decades later, the billboard business changed due to new laws allowing business owners to purchase outdoor spaces for billboards. With billboards becoming legalized, companies started using them for their adverts.
There were billboards of different sizes in various locations. However, they were challenging to create because they took hours to paint. By the end of the 19th century, there was a standard billboard format, with the formation of various billboard associations worldwide.
By the 20th century, national billboard campaigns used the standard billboard structure. Outdoor advertising companies were established, and large companies like Coca-Cola, Palmolive, and many more started creating billboards as part of their national marketing strategies. Until the 1960s, there were no restrictions on billboards’ size, placement, design, or spacing.
However, with the creation of the Highway Beautification Act, everything changed. Billboards were limited to commercial areas, set sizes, and specific lighting and spacing requirements. Although most believed this would end this form of advertising, billboard ads have thrived.
Types of Billboards
Below are the various types of billboards.
- Digital Billboards: These billboards use computer tools and digital signage software to show texts and pictures. You can program digital billboards to show running tests or change displays at different times of the day.
- Mobile Billboards: These billboards are displayed on buses and other vehicles. They’re pretty beneficial because they increase the likelihood of your ad reaching your target demographic as the vehicle travels around the region.
- Wallscapes: Also known as painted billboards, this type of ad isn’t created graphically. Instead, artists paint an ad on the side of a building. This type of billboard is used in metropolitan areas to gain more exposure.
- Static Billboards: These static billboards are constructed on big printed vinyl stretched across the front of the billboard. It is static because you can’t replace any part of the billboard in just a few minutes; it needs to be re-erected and fixed to a structure.
- 3-D Billboards: These are contemporary billboards with three-dimensional images created to catch spectators’ interest and curiosity. They can also turn a still image into a moving object displaying various messages simultaneously.
The Power of Billboards: Exploring Their Purpose in the Digital Age
The use and purpose of billboards include the following:
- Raising Brand Awareness: Billboards create brand awareness and increase visibility. Businesses can reach a broad audience when they place billboards in high-traffic areas.
- Promoting Events: Billboards promote various events like festivals, concerts, and sporting events. With an eye-catching design, they’re sure to capture the attention of potential attendees.
- Advertisement of Products and Services: Billboards can also drive sales and increase revenue. By advertising products and services on a billboard, businesses can encourage potential customers to purchase.
- Create Awareness for Social or Political Messages: Billboards also create awareness for social and political messages. You can use it to advocate for a cause, and billboard locations can encourage public engagement.
- Provide Directions: You can also use billboards to provide directions and help people navigate to specific locations. By including directions on a billboard, people will have step-by-step instructions or the exact measurement of the distance to your business.
The Purpose of Billboards in Modern Advertising Landscape
Billboards are crucial in modern advertising because they have a physical presence. Unlike internet and TV advertising, a billboard isn’t fleeting.
They stand on the road, their message clear at all times for people to see.
This is one of the reasons why billboard advertising remains one of the most effective modern marketing strategies. Of course, billboard advertising isn’t an all-in-one solution to marketing needs. However, it ensures people pay attention to your offer, giving it the attention it needs, unlike other types of advertising.
Top Challenges of Billboards
Billboard advertising faces several challenges today, including zoning regulations and growing concern about the impact of billboards on the environment.
Below are three challenges billboard advertising faces.
This is a top challenge for billboard advertising companies. Most towns and cities have strict zoning regulations determining where billboards can be placed and how to construct them.
In some locations, it is outrightly banned, while it is only allowed in specific zones in other areas. These regulations reduce the number of places for billboard advertising, making it difficult for businesses to reach their target audience.
In Puerto Rico, the zoning regulations for billboard advertising depend on the municipality. These regulations have specific guidelines regarding the outdoor advertising structures’ location, content, and size. However, most signage requires a permit from the Administration of Permits and Regulations (ARPE).
To get more information about zoning regulations for advertising in Puerto Rico, contact the local municipality where the billboard will be placed. Alternatively, reach out to professionals with expertise in billboard advertising.
Increased Competition From Digital Advertising
With the rise of digital platforms, most companies are moving towards digital advertising. Digital advertising offers more precise targeting, which can be a cost-effective way to reach a specific audience. Due to this, businesses are moving their advertising budgets towards this form of ads.
Growing Concern Over Its Impact on the Environment
Billboard production involves using materials like plastic and vinyl. As a result, billboard ads are viewed as a top contributor to environmental degradation.
Additionally, using electricity to illuminate billboards can result in energy waste and carbon emissions. Due to this, many organizations are requesting higher environmental responsibilities from billboard ad companies.
The Future of Billboards and How Technology Is Shaping Their Use and Impact
The future of billboard advertising is quite bright.
Big brands like Apple, Amazon, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, etc., love billboard advertising. Technology will play a crucial role in shaping the use and impact of billboards as the future of billboards is smart.
Due to technological advancements, billboards will become more engaging and reactive, with information changing based on data gathered about the viewers. In the future, sensors, facial recognition software, and other smart features will allow outdoor billboards to interact with their target audience.
Interactive tech and augmented reality in smart billboards will also grow in popularity as businesses look for effective ways to make their campaigns more interesting. Additionally, companies will use Bluetooth low-energy beacons to send information based on demographics interacting with the ad. This way, advertisers can change their ads’ details to their audience’s preference.
How bMedia Can Help
The purpose of billboards lies in their use and location. It significantly impacts your marketing strategy, effectively promotes your products, and boosts your brand. Billboard marketing can strengthen your marketing efforts.
However, it takes a lot of work to get billboard advertising right. Luckily, bMedia is here to help. We have significant experience in outdoor and billboard advertising in Puerto Rico.
Therefore, we’re the people to call whether you’re looking to get started in billboard advertising or need professionals to help you execute a successful campaign.
Contact us today to begin.